You certainly think of your commute as a trip that is work-related. If you didn’t have that job, you wouldn’t have to commute. It’s a work event, and not one that comes without risks.
If you get involved in a car accident on your way to work, does this mean you can file a workers’ comp claim? What if you get involved in a crash on the way home? Does your commute factor into your workers’ compensation rights?
Understanding the coming-and-going rule
Your perception that your trip was work-related makes logical sense, but the courts have usually applied something called the coming-and-going rule to determine that workers’ comp does not have to extend to a worker’s commute. If you are injured in a crash, you can’t file a workers’ comp claim in most cases.
There are certainly exceptions to this. You may have to drive during the day as part of your work activity, perhaps between different job sites. This is not a commute, so if you were injured during one of these dives, you would still be covered under workers’ comp. Your boss may have you run errands after work, which you wouldn’t have run otherwise. You may be covered if you are injured in a crash while doing this even if the crash occurs outside of your normal work hours.
That does not mean you have no options if you get injured in a car accident. If another driver caused it, rather than using workers’ comp, you may be able to seek compensation from that driver directly.