Generally speaking, employers must cover the losses an employee may suffer if he or she sustains an injury at work. This is the basis of workers’ compensation. However, a work-related injury does not necessarily have to happen directly on the site of a job.
For example, if an employee sustains an injury at a work sponsored party, workers’ compensation would also cover this. However, in the majority of cases, workers’ compensation does not cover any injuries an employee may sustain commuting to and from work. This is the “coming and going” rule.
What are the exceptions?
One major exception is if your job requires a lot of travel as a part of the job’s requirements. For example, truck drivers, bus drivers and pilots are all exceptions to the coming and going rule since their places of work are moving vehicles. So long as a traveling employee sustains an injury as part of his or her job duties, it is likely that workers’ compensation will apply.
Another exception is if your job requires moving between multiple job sites. For example, landscaping workers’ often must travel between different sites as part of their job duties. Workers’ compensation will cover any injuries a landscaping worker sustains during this time.
What if my boss asks me to get coffee?
Workers’ compensation would also cover you if you sustain an injury while on a “special mission.” Even though you may be driving your own car to pick up the coffee, and it may also be true that fetching coffee is not strictly part of your job duties, your employer making this request makes them liable for any injuries you may sustain during the “mission.”