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The 'going and coming' rule and workers' compensation benefits

Are you aware of the "going and coming" rule that applies to workers' compensation benefits?

In general, work injuries don't actually have to happen at the workplace to be qualified for benefits under workers' comp. You can be covered, for example, if you're out giving a potential customer an estimate and you happen to slip down a step. The going and coming rule simply clarifies the fact that employees aren't usually covered under workers' comp, however, when they're merely on their daily commute.

Naturally, of course, there are exceptions -- and it's smart to be aware of that fact in order to fully protect your own interests in the event of an injury. For example, some of the most common exceptions include:

1. Running errands for the boss

When your boss hands you a stack of mail and asks you to run it to the post office on your way home, what do you do? Most people would agree to run the errand. If you're injured while you're on that special mission, you may be eligible for workers' compensation even though the accident took place off-site and after normal business hours.

2. Traveling on business

Your business conference may only tie up eight hours of each day of your trip, but that shouldn't prevent you from collecting workers' compensation if you're injured while you're on the trip -- even if the accident happened while you were at dinner hours after the day's events closed.

3. Driving the company car

There are a number of complex issues that can affect your eligibility for workers' comp if you're injured while driving a company car, but it's definitely an issue that bears investigation.

4. Traveling between stores or locations

All sort of people -- from construction workers to district managers -- have to travel from site to site as part of their jobs. The going and coming rule wouldn't be fair if it were strictly applied in all of those cases.

Workers' comp claims can be complex, and there are many exceptions to the rules. If you're unsure about whether you have the right to file a workers' comp claim, an attorney can assess the details of your case and help you understand all of your choices.

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