There’s a rule in workers’ comp that most people don’t know about called the coming and going rule. North Carolina protects its workers from on-the-job injuries through its Workers’ Compensation Act. Therefore, based on these laws, if an employee suffers a work-related injury or disease, the workers’ comp insurance protects them till they can work again. However, not all job-related injuries are compensable.
A wound can only be compensable when it occurs during employment. Consequently, where the work accident happened while the employee was going to or leaving work, they may not receive compensation. So, if you sustained an injury in such scenarios, it’ll be best to hire a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney.
What Is the Coming and Going Rule?
Some practical examples can help you understand this rule. Imagine that you’re driving to work from home and get into an accident. What if you’re leaving the office after closing and trip and fall outside the premises? In both instances, North Carolina workers’ compensation may not cover you.
The rationale is that going to or leaving work typically doesn’t come within the “in the course of employment” rule. This is the coming and going rule in North Carolina. Furthermore, the risks employees suffer from both events are common to the public. So, the employer has no control over their safety.
Exceptions to the Coming and Going Rule in Charlotte, NC
Fortunately for Charlotte workers, there are three significant exceptions to this rule. The exceptions are necessary because a strict application of the law will work injustice to employees.
The Premises Exception
Despite the coming and going rule, a worker can recover compensation if they were injured on the company’s premises. Business premises would include property owned, controlled, or maintained by the employer. If the injury occurs off-premises, you cannot receive compensation. Moreover, it wouldn’t matter that the injury site is between two portions of the employer-owned property.
Unfortunately, this is a very narrow interpretation of the premises exception. Notably, though, this exception covers adjacent premises the employees use as entry and exit points. Again, however, the employer must consent to such usage expressly or impliedly.
Finally, the premises exception also includes parking lot injuries. However, the employer must own, maintain, or control the parking lot. So, if you suffer an injury on such a parking lot before or after work, such a wound is compensable.
The Special Errand Exception
The “special errand” exception can make your injuries compensable although you were going to or from work. However, you must be performing a “special” task, service, errand, or mission for your employer. In these cases, it doesn’t matter that they had to complete the task outside regular working hours or days. The special errand exception covers:
- Business trips
- Trips for business and pleasure (dual-purpose trips)
For business trips, it’s clear that such travels are for the employer and company’s benefit. Therefore, an injury on such a journey will deserve workers’ comp. However, dual-purpose trips are harder to figure out. The dual-purpose doctrine applies where the employee performs a work-related task during their usual journey to and from work.
Often, the business assignment they perform would ordinarily require a separate journey. Furthermore, a sub-exception exists under the special errand exception – the traveling salesman exception. This rule works to make compensable injuries that occur during travels that significantly benefit their employer.
The Transportation Exception
A job injury would be compensable where the business owner provides the means of transportation as part of the employment contract. Furthermore, this includes cases where the employee’s cost of transporting themselves through and from their place of work is an incident of the employment contract. Here, the employer can advance the movement costs or reimburse the employee for out-of-pocket expenses.
However, the employer must expressly or impliedly undertake to cover the worker’s transportation costs. In addition, this exception doesn’t apply where the employer provides the transportation gratuitously. But, again, courtesy rides from a business owner don’t nullify the coming and going rule’s application.
Charlotte Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Fix Your Claim Under an Exception
Have you sustained an injury while going to or leaving work? If you’re aware of the going and coming rule, you may feel that you don’t deserve compensation. However, only an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can reach such a conclusion. Hiring an attorney for common work injuries isn’t necessary.
However, where your comp claim gets this complicated, engaging a lawyer can help. Our attorneys at Waple & Houk can argue for compensation under one of the exceptions above. We have successfully represented many Charlotte injured workers, and we’re confident of winning your case too. So, call us today for a free consultation on your claim.