You are likely aware that your Pennsylvania employer is responsible for having workers’ compensation insurance for you and your colleagues. This insurance provides coverage for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses if you suffer an injury on the job or develop a work-related illness. This coverage may be a great relief to you because without it, you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit to recoup your losses or to try to struggle through without assistance at all.
Additionally, you may be aware that there are numerous exceptions that could excuse your employer’s insurer from the obligation to compensate you for your injuries. For example, if you were horsing around at work or had an accident on the job because you were impaired by alcohol or drugs, you employer’s insurance company would have a legitimate reason for denying your claim. However, what are the rules for when you are injured while not at the office or job site?
What off-site injuries may workers’ compensation cover?
If you have an accident on your way to work or on your way home, in general, workers’ compensation insurance does not cover your injuries. This is due to the “going and coming” rule, which excludes injuries suffered in traffic accidents on your normal commute. Even though the general rule exempts your morning or afternoon drive from workers’ compensation, there are times when you do not have to be at work to qualify for benefits in the event of an injury, for example:
- You are attending a company party off-site when you suffer an injury.
- You have an accident while using a company car to commute to and from your job.
- Driving is the primary duty of your job when you are injured in an accident, such as driving a bus or working as a police officer.
- You are traveling between job sites when the accident occurs.
- Your boss sends you on a special mission, such as to pick up lunch for the staff or even to walk the boss’s dog, when you become injured.
- You are on a business trip at the time of your accident.
Workers’ compensation covers you on a business trip out of town even if your injuries occur outside of your normal work hours since the entire time you are away is work-related.
While the going and coming rule seems clear enough, the circumstances of your accident may have gray areas. It is always advisable to obtain a thorough understanding of your options and legal assistance as you consider a claim for workers’ compensation.