Q Am I entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if I am injured while driving to work?
You may be surprised to learn that whether you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits if you were injured while driving to or from work is not a black and white issue. In a world where work and personal lives becomes blurred and people commute more, the issue becomes more complicated. Depending on your job, you could find that you are entitled to worker’s comp benefits for a car accident that occurs during your commute to or from work.
How the “Going and Coming” Rule Affects Your Rights to Benefits
Under New Jersey law, you are only entitled to benefits if your injury arose from and was caused during the course of your employment. The “going and coming” rule provides that, in general, workers are not entitled to benefits when they are going to and coming home from their job. If you work at the same office, store, factory, or other place of employment every day, you would not be entitled to benefits if injured in these situations:
- You are driving to or from work
- You are running a personal errand on your lunch break
These rules can become more complicated for workers who travel for their job or who work at different work sites. In some situations, employees who are driving to and from work could receive benefits. Some of these professions include:
- Construction workers
- Vehicle drivers
- Delivery persons
- Area supervisors
- Home health care workers
In addition, there are numerous exceptions to the “going and coming” rule, such as running an errand for work on your way to or from your job.
What Happens If You Slip and Fall in the Parking Lot?
Are you still at work if you slip and fall in the parking lot on your way into your job location at the beginning of your shift or on the way to your vehicle once you have completed your work for the day? Generally, your work day starts when you step onto your employer’s property or step onto property controlled by your employer. This means you most likely would be entitled to workers’ comp benefits for a parking lot fall like this.
Were you injured while driving to or from work? Did you get in an accident while driving for your job? Call me at 877-360-0183 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn about your rights under New Jersey’s workers’ compensation laws.