A common question: Am I covered going to work?

Many clients get insured on the way to or from their workplace. A frequent question is whether the client is covered under his employer’s workers’ compensation insurance?

This is an essential question because workers’ compensation insurance is primary to automobile no fault insurance and health insurance. Also, “workers’ comp” carries certain benefits to the injured person, such as medical coverage with no monetary limits, lost income, and the possibility of an award for permanent injury (“permanency”).

Generally, the worker is not covered for commuting to and from his workplace. We have had clients fall before they have not quite reached their workplace, such as walking to the office building. Unfortunately, such would not be covered. Similarly, the employee would not be covered during his lunch break if he “clocks-out” and leaves the building.

However, there are exceptions to this rule where the worker will be covered for comp, such as:

  • The employee travels from his home to another workplace. E.g., a social worker takes his car from home and travels to the home of his first client. The social worker has an accident on the trip. This would be deemed a work accident. Also, if the social worker drives to the office after seeing the last client, this trip too would be covered. In comparison, if the worker took his car every day to commute to work, and there were no side business trips or stops, an accident on the ride to the office would not be covered under workers’ comp.
  • The client is in the process of either entering or leaving the building. The client does not need to be inside the building or his office. He can be on the sidewalk right in front of the entrance. One of our former employees tripped and fell on a subway grate in front of our building when her car service dropped her in front of the entrance. However, a trip and fall on the sidewalk down the block will not be compensable.
  • The employee does a work errand during lunch. E.g., the manager asks the employee to make a bank deposit on the way back to the office after lunch. The walk to or from the bank would be compensable.

If you think that your accident would fall within workers’ compensation, this should be discussed with us at our initial meeting. We will need to get our workers’ compensation attorneys involved so that you get the medical care and lost income that you need.