If you sustain a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible for financial restitution for the resulting economic and non-economic injuries through Pennsylvania’s Worker’s Compensation Act. And if the injuries or illness in question result in death, your dependents would receive death benefits.
To be eligible for compensation, however, it has to be established that your injuries or illness directly resulted from your work. This means that they must have occurred from and within the scope of your work. But what if you are hurt away from work?
Understanding the going and coming rule
Under Pennsylvania’s worker’s compensation laws, commuting to and from work does not fall within the “course and scope” of employment. Thus, if you are hurt while traveling to and from work, you will generally be on your own. This is known as the going and coming rule. The same applies if you are hurt while on a lunch break as most employers do not consider lunch breaks to be part of the employment.
However, certain exceptions apply to the going and coming rule:
Where an employee has no fixed workplace
If you are a traveling employee with no fixed location to call your workplace, you may be eligible for compensation if you are hurt while on the job. For instance, if you are a traveling sales rep, a construction worker or visiting nurse, your vehicle would be considered your office. Thus, if you are involved in an accident on your way to or from a work site or an appointment, you may be eligible for compensation.
If you are on a special assignment for your employer
If your employer asks you to run an errand on behalf of the organization, like stopping to pick up stationery or drop an invoice to a client, you may be eligible for worker’s comp if you are involved in an accident while performing an employer-sanctioned task.
Work-related injuries can raise a ton of issues, especially if the employer and their insurance carrier are disputing your claim. Knowing your legal options can help you protect your rights while pursuing a worker’s compensation claim for your injuries.