North Carolina Woman Hurt on the Way to Work – The ‘Going and Coming’ Rule

In a 2007 case, a North Carolina appellate Court reviewed the denial of workers’ compensation benefits to a home-health care worker who saw several patients she cared for between 8am and 4pm. She was given a mileage allowance for her travels except for the travel to the first client and the travel to her own home from the last client. She was injured in automobile accident on the way to the first client. She was required to have her vehicle at work – probably in case she had to take the patient somewhere or get assistance.

The lower court applied the “going and coming” exclusion which holds that people going to and coming home from work don’t get benefits. Essentially, everyone who goes to work has to get there (usually in the morning) and has to come home (usually later in the afternoon). The court noted that there are four exceptions to the going and coming rule:

  1. A premises exception. The employee is coming and going but the accident does happen on the employer’s property.
  2. Special errands exception. The employee is acting in the course of his/her job and is on some special duty or assignment.
  3. The traveling salesman exception. There’s no definitive time and place of employment
  4. Contractual exception. The employer agrees to pay for the travel to and/or from work ahead of time.

The higher court did not think the traveling salesman or contractual exception applied. It did think the fact that the claimant had to take her own car (her equipment) was a recognized exception in most states and changed the result. The claimant had to have a car and the fact that the employer required her to use her own vehicle changed the result. In such a case, when she enters her own vehicle to proceed to work, she has already entered the work environment.
The court was accordingly persuaded the exception should apply and that the woman should get her benefits.

Workplace accident victims need to meet all the challenges an employer may use

Employers and insurance companies will sometimes argue that you’re not allowed benefits even when you were clearly hurt at work. You need a workers’ compensation lawyer who knows those arguments and knows how to defeat them. Attorney Joe Miller at Joe Miller Law, Ltd., has helped thousands of accident victims, and can help you fight for the compensation you need. Learn more about how he can help you by contacting Joe Miller Law, Ltd., today at (888) 694-1671.