People are injured on the way to and from their job each and every day, and while you could probably make the argument that “but for your employment,” you would not have been injured because it was the only reason you were at that spot in your commute when the accident occurred, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically eligible for workers’ compensation. In fact, in many cases, workers who are injured on their way to or from their job are not eligible for compensation.
However, we didn’t decide to write this blog just to say you’re not eligible to receive compensation if you’re injured in your commute. In fact, there are many factors that could mean you are eligible for workers compensation during a commute injury. We take a look at those factors and discuss how you can get compensation if you’re injured while traveling to or from your job.
Commuting Vs. Traveling
Minnesota workers’ comp law generally says that individuals who are commuting to or from their job are not eligible for workers’ compensation, but individuals who are traveling for their job are covered. In order to receive benefits, you’re going to need to show that you were traveling for your job instead of commuting to it. There are some very rare exceptions, but in general, you have to be designated as “traveling” as opposed to “commuting” during the course of your injury.
So that leads up to the million dollar question – How does one get designated as a traveler instead of a commuter? Again, we’re talking in generalities here, but some ways that could allow a person to meet the criteria to be eligible for injury benefits include:
- Traveling between job sites, not from your home to the site or vice versa.
- If you’re carrying “substantial tools” for the job in your vehicle, you may be eligible under the basis that your travel is providing a service to your employer.
- If you receive mileage or lodging reimbursement as part of your travels.
- If the employer regularly furnishes transportation to the employee.
- If you’re running a “special errand,” like your boss asked you to pick up paperwork from the downtown branch, or you work maintenance and were called to the building to fix a broken pipe after hours, you may be eligible for injury benefits.
- You drive to various job sites are part of your daily job, like a cable installer or delivery person.
Again, it’s rarely black and white when it comes to whether or not you’re eligible for compensation, but in general, if you meet one or more of the standards listed above, odds are you can make an argument that you are traveling for your job, not commuting. That being said, the insurance company will do everything in their power to limit their liability and deny your claim for the smallest reasons, so expect some pushback if you’re trying to earn compensation for injuries that occurred on your way to a job site.
To best prepare for this pushback, consider hiring a workers’ compensation law firm like Hey Workers. We can help put together a strong case to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve. For more information, or for help proving your traveling injury claim, reach out to our office today.