Commutes to or from work can often be dangerous. The perils of modern travel are ever present and always pose a risk to all individuals in Ohio traveling to or from work. Many individuals hurt during that journey to or from work probably wonder if they are entitled to workers compensation benefits. Often times the answer to that question is no.
Under Ohio Law a doctrine has been developed to determine whether an individual who is hurt in the course of their commute is entitled to workers compensation benefits. This doctrine has come to be known as the “coming and going” rule. Under this general rule, an employee injured with commuting to or from a fixed and limited place of employment does not suffer an injury in the course of their employment and therefore is not entitled to benefits. However, as with most rules relating to workers compensation law, there are exceptions.
Say an individual is specifically asked by their employer to travel to complete a special task, service, mission, or errand for their employer. If that individual gets hurt in the course of that errand, task, or service they would then in fact be entitled to workers compensation benefits. This rule has come to be known as the “dual purpose” rule. Say your employer asks to you to stop somewhere on you way home from work for business purposes. If you in the course of that travel get injured you would be entitled to benefits as there was a dual purpose to that travel. That person was traveling for the purpose of going home but also to make a stop for the employer.
Also, there is an expectation to the coming and going rule when an employer provides it employees the means of transportation to and from the workplace. If the employer provides the means of transportation and an individual is hurt in the course of travel their claim is not barred by the coming and going rule.
The coming and going rule is most applicable to an individual who has a fixed site of employment. However, often times, employees in Ohio have multiple jobsites with varying duties at each site. In these cases the courts of Ohio have found that travel between varying jobs sites is a risk associated with employment and, therefore, injuries received during that travel are compensable. The question to be answered in these circumstances is whether traveling was an integral part of the contract for hire between the employee and employer. If traveling is a necessary and required part of an individual’s employment duties they can receive compensation for injuries stemming from that travel.
If you feel as though you are unjustly being denied workers’ compensation benefits based upon an incident that occurred while travelling for work don’t hesitate to contact the Bainbridge Firm. Don’t let an unjust application of the coming and going rule prevent you from receiving the benefits you deserve.