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Applying the 'going and coming' rule to your workplace injury

You may understand that if you suffer an injury on the job, you are likely eligible to receive benefits from your employer's workers' compensation insurance. Perhaps this has come in handy for you, especially if you work in a job considered high-risk.

Workers' compensation benefits can include coverage of your medical bills related to a workplace injury and a portion of the wages you lose while you recover. You may also need disability income, either temporary or permanent, if your injuries are severe. However, what happens if you suffer injuries in a crash while on your way to or from work?

Will workers' comp cover your accident?

Some employees, such as contract workers, may not have coverage under an employer's policy. Additionally, not all accidents and injuries qualify for workers' compensation. For example, if a South Carolina worker's impairment by drugs or alcohol contributes to the workplace accident, the employer's insurance will probably not cover it. Also, the "going and coming" rule says that accidents that occur while driving to and from your job do not fall under workers' compensation coverage. However, your accident may be an exception in any of the following cases:

  • You are driving a company vehicle, especially one with the company's logo.
  • Your employer has sent you on a special mission, even a personal task such as picking up dry cleaning.
  • You are stopping on your way to or from work to complete a work-related errand, such as dropping off a bank deposit or picking up office supplies.
  • Your job requires that you travel between sites, such as if you do IT services on a large campus or oversee multiple construction sites.
  • Your accident occurs on company property, such as in the parking lot.

Since every state has its own workers' compensation policies, South Carolina may have other exceptions not listed here. In addition, your situation may not qualify you for workers' compensation benefits, but you may still have cause to seek a claim in civil court against the person whose negligence resulted in the accident that left you injured.

If you have suffered an injury while traveling in some capacity to and from work, you would be wise to seek the advice and guidance of an attorney who knows well the state's laws and exceptions and can apply them effectively to your situation.

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