In their most recent article for The Legal Intelligencer, Partner David Stern and Associate Taylor Cohen analyze the four exceptions to the notorious “coming and going” rule – a rule that makes employees ineligible for workers’ compensation if they are injured during the work commute. The commute – aka “coming and going” – is not typically considered to be in the course of employment.
Workers spend much of their lives driving to and from work, which can be dangerous due to the high amount of motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania that could result in injury or even death. “Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation statute is designed to protect workers who are injured, killed or disabled in the course of employment,” David and Taylor explain. “With its origin dating back to 1915, the statute and accompanying administrative legal system has continuously adapted in an attempt to protect the ever-evolving Pennsylvania workforce. The goal of this article, over 100 years after the statute’s inception, is to bring light to an often forgotten hazardous aspect of employment – the commute.”
Fortunately, there are exceptions to the rule. The article analyzes the circumstances in which an injured worker would be eligible for compensation with real-life examples for each, including:
- When the worker’s employment contract includes transportation to and from work
- When the employee has no fixed place of work
- When the employee is on special assignment for the employer or special circumstances are such that the employee was furthering the business of the employer
“It is imperative to inquire about the circumstances surrounding motor vehicle accidents to adequately protect the unprotected commute in Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation statute,” David and Taylor conclude.