Workers’ compensation and the “going and coming” rule

Massachusetts residents who have been hurt at work may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can help these injured workers pay their medical expenses and recoup their lost wages while they focus on recovering their health and getting back to work. Although an individual does not have to show fault in order to recover workers’ compensation benefits, employers and insurance companies will often try to deny an injured worker’s claim.

One way they do this is by turning to what is referred to as the “going and coming” rule. This rule essentially states that driving to and from work is not job-related, and, therefore, any injuries suffered during that travel is not covered by workers’ compensation.

Although most courts will recognize this rule, there are certain exceptions. For example, an individual who commutes in a company car may be deemed to be on the job even when commuting to and from his or her place of employment. This may be especially true when the company vehicle has the company’s logo, which essentially serves as advertising while the employee is driving the vehicle. Another exception to the rule is when an employee is asked to complete some sort of special task. For example, if an individual is asked by his or her boss to perform a duty that is generally outside his or her scope of employment, but he or she is injured while conducting that duty, then workers’ compensation benefits may be available. A classic example would be an employee who is hurt while he or she is fetching coffee for the boss at the boss’s request.

There are other exceptions to the general “going and coming” rule, and the lines aren’t always as clear as might be expected. This is why those who are facing pushback when seeking their workers’ compensation benefits need to carefully consider whether acquiring the assistance of a qualified legal professional will further their best interests.


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