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The “coming and going” exceptions in workers’ compensation

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Workers' Compensation

Ideally, workers’ compensation laws in New Jersey provide financial support and medical benefits to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses during the course of their employment. One of the most important aspects of workers’ compensation involves determining when an injury qualifies as “work-related.” The “coming and going” rule seeks to define boundaries of compensable workplace injuries that may occur during a commute.

Understanding the “coming and going” rule

The “coming and going” rule establishes that injuries sustained during an employee’s daily commute to and from work do not fit the eligibility requirements for workers’ compensation benefits. The rule cites the idea that these journeys fall under personal activities instead of work-related ones. Like many legal principles, many exceptions and nuances may blur the lines.

Special errand exception

If an employee’s commute includes a detour for work-related tasks, such as picking up office supplies or making a business-related stop, the injuries sustained during this detour may qualify for workers’ compensation. This exception acknowledges that the employee actively engages in work-related activities at the time of the injury.

Traveling Employees

Some workers may not have a fixed workplace. For these workers, the “coming and going rule” may not apply because travel makes up an integral part of their job. Workers injured during these travels typically qualify for compensation.

Examples of traveling employees include:

  • Sales representatives
  • Consultants
  • Field service technicians
  • Auditors
  • Truck drivers
  • Construction workers
  • Traveling nurses

Employer-provided transportation

In cases where an employer provides transportation or requires employees to use a specific mode of transportation, injuries during the commute may qualify for compensation. Two examples of this employer-provided transportation include company vehicles and shuttle services. This exception to the “coming and going” rule recognizes that the employer has exerted control over the commute.

The “coming and going” rule in workers’ compensation law establishes a critical aspect of determining whether an injury qualifies for benefits. While the general rule excludes most commuters, exceptions and nuances make it essential for both employees and employers to understand the circumstances in which injuries may qualify for compensation.