When you think about work-related accidents, you may not think about motor vehicle crashes. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traffic accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. From 2003 to 2017, the CDC says more than 27,000 workers died in a work-related motor vehicle crash. In every major industry group, crashes are either the first or second leading cause of death.
All workers are at risk when they travel around Ellicott City and elsewhere in Maryland. It doesn’t matter whether their sole job is driving or if driving is an incidental part of the duties. Typically, employees who are injured in the course of their duties are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, those who are injured in traffic accidents may be affected by Maryland’s Coming and Going Rule.
This rule states that individuals can’t get workers’ comp benefits if they get injured while going to work or coming home from work. There are a number of reasons for this rule. One is that getting to and from work is usually seen as the employee’s responsibility. Also, the employer’s interests are not usually advanced during these times.
Another reason for the rule is that an employee faces the same hazards during their commute as other workers. Therefore, the risks they face aren’t linked to their job. The final consideration is that workers’ comp insurance doesn’t cover employees against the usual perils of life. If you get injured while making your way to or from the workplace, your injuries are, therefore, not likely to be covered.
There are of course some exceptions to these rules, as is common under the law. If you believe you are entitled to compensation, you should seek advice and representation from an Ellicott City workers’ comp lawyer.
Exceptions to the Going and Coming Rule
Under some circumstances, you may still be able to get benefits if you were on your way to or from work. These include if:
You were on the company’s premises. If you were in the parking lot or otherwise essentially at work, you may be eligible for benefits.
Your transportation was needed or paid for by your employer. If the company paid for your transportation, your injuries may be covered. This means that if you got into an accident while driving the company vehicle to or from work, you may get compensation. Similarly, if you were driving your own car but your employer needed you to bring it to work, your injuries could be compensable.
Your commute served two purposes. This means you must be traveling as much for yourself as for the employer. You may have been making your way home so you could work there for the latter half of the day. If this was a regular and established practice, it could count as an exception.
You were running a work errand as directed by your employer. If you had to collect office supplies on your commute or take a work colleague to a job site, your injuries may be compensable.
Exceptions may also be made if:
- A large portion of your job involves driving
- You were traveling between job sites
- You were driving to a conference, meeting or another required work event
Before you assume that the Going and Coming rule will bar you from getting compensation, consult with a workers’ compensation attorney in Ellicott City. In the event that you can’t get workers’ comp benefits, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim against the other party involved in the accident. This would allow you to claim compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other losses. You would also have the ability to seek to recover damages for pain and suffering which isn’t allowed under workers’ comp.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC to Discuss Your Options
Filing a workers’ comp claim is supposed to be less complicated than a personal injury lawsuit. However, you won’t automatically get benefits. And, if there’s a dispute over whether your injuries are really work-related, you could be in for a stressful experience. If you want to prevent a claim denial based on the Going and Coming rule, reach out to an Ellicott City workers’ compensation attorney. You’ll need someone on your side who knows the law. Call Pinder Plotkin LLC today to set up a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.