Going and Coming Rule
If you have been hurt while going to or coming from work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for your harm. However, these cases are often more complicated than the typical workplace accident, due to the going and coming rule. At Therman Law Offices, our Wheaton and Schaumburg workers’ compensation lawyers understand the nuances of this area of the law and can apply our knowledge to determine whether you may be eligible for temporary or permanent disability benefits. If you receive an adverse decision initially, we can help you appeal it as needed.Understanding the Going and Coming Rule
Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who are injured while working are entitled to compensation for their harm. In short, workers’ compensation extends to anyone hurt either in an office or at a job site. The Act also covers pre-existing conditions that are exacerbated by an injury or illness. Workers’ compensation benefits usually cover 100 percent of an employee’s medical treatment and include checks to cover two-thirds of the employee’s lost wages while he or she is off work recovering.
The ‘going and coming’ rule is an exception to the general rule that workers are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries. Typically, workers will not be able to recover benefits for harm suffered while commuting to or from work. In short, if you get into a car accident while going to or returning from work, the injuries resulting from that accident will generally not be covered by the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. This is because an individual going to or coming back from work is considered “off the clock.” Additionally, the idea is that the employer has no control over what happens during that trip. The mode of transportation and the route are all completely within the discretion of the commuting employee.
There are certain exceptions to the going and coming rule, however, including:
- Wages paid for time spent in the commute: In Illinois, if an employer pays an employee wages for the time spent in a commute, it is an exception to the going and coming rule. Reimbursement for a commute is not the same thing, however, and this does not trigger the exception.
- Traveling as part of your major job duty: The going and coming rule does not apply to an employee who travels as part of his or her job. In these situations, workers’ compensation applies from the time that the employee leaves their home until the time that they return, as long as the employee is doing things that are reasonable and foreseeable.
- Employer-provided vehicle: When an employer provides a car for an employee to use, the arrangement is considered to be beneficial for the employer, so any injury sustained while using such a vehicle is typically covered by workers’ compensation.
- Traveling on a special errand or mission: If the commute includes some type of special errand for an employer, any resulting injury may be covered. For instance, if the employer asked the worker to deposit a business check on the way to work, an injury during this special errand would be brought within workers’ compensation coverage.
The going and coming rule is complex. If you are involved in an accident while traveling to or from work, you need to consult an experienced worker’s compensation attorney who can help you determine whether you may be eligible for benefits. If you are not, you still may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the driver or other person responsible for causing the accident. At Therman Law Offices, we are committed to helping injured workers understand their right to benefits, such as medical expenses and lost wages. We represent people in cities such as Wheaton, Schaumburg, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Lemont, Westmont, Oakbrook, Terrace, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, and Lisle, among other areas. You can discuss your injury with an attorney at our offices in a free consultation today. Call us at 312-588-1900 or reach us online.