According to the United States Census Bureau, Los Angeles County has the highest percentage of people commuting from out of county in the United States. In addition, the commute to work for workers in and around Los Angeles County was higher overall than the national average, especially in the category of workers who commute at least an hour. After workers arrive at work, it is extremely common for the driving to continue. Workers make deliveries, go to clients’ homes, run courier services, drive trucks, and an enormous variety of other jobs which require vehicular transportation. With so much driving going on, there are bound to be accidents. In some cases, a car accident may be covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation provides a means for workers to obtain compensation when they have sustained a work-related injury. Accordingly, when there is a car accident, the inquiry becomes whether the accident while the employee was engaged in a work-related activity. Some examples of work-related activities would be driving to make a delivery or driving to a client meeting, running errands on behalf of the business such as picking up office supplies, or going to a service call. All of these activities are within the scope of the employee’s job. In other words, an employee is “on the clock” during these times, and going to the destination is necessary to complete their duties.
What is not generally included are times that an employee is not engaged in work-related activities. These would include running personal errands, going to lunch, or your commute to or from work. These are times that you would generally not be getting paid for, and are not in the scope of an employee’s work-related duties. Therefore, if an employee sustains an injury during a car crash at times like those, it is not considered a work-related injury and is not compensable under workers’ compensation. This is generally what is known as the “going and coming rule.” In other words, if you are coming to or going from work, that is not generally covered under workers’ compensation. The “going and coming rule” is not enunciated in the California Labor Code, and instead has been created through a series of cases. There are many exceptions to the rule, as well, so employers should be cautious as to whether an exception applies.
If you have questions about car accidents and whether your business is liable under workers’ compensation, contact me today at (714) 516-8188. Let’s talk about your business and its future.