Understanding the coming-and-going rule
As you know, workers’ compensation benefits can compensate you for lost wages, medical expenses and other losses pertaining to an injury or illness that occurred on the job, but what if you suffered an injury away from work or after hours while performing duties that were job-related? Ohio workers should understand how workers’ compensation applies to off-the-clock accidents, as well as the coming-and-going rule.
For example, let’s say you tripped in the parking lot on your way in to work, twisting your ankle. While painful, you decide you can work through the day and will see a doctor later. After work, your boss asks you to mail a package, since the post office is nearby. On your way to mail the parcel, someone rear-ends you, giving you whiplash.
While both injuries were sustained occurred while off the clock and away from your work premises, they may still qualify for workers’ compensation. FindLaw explains that the first injury falls under the coming-and-going rule. While you were not performing a job-related task when you were not clocked in, you sustained the injury on work premises while walking into the building. Workers’ compensation would not apply if you were driving to or from work or had an accident on your lunch break, unless the lunch date was specifically job-related, such as meeting a business partner. Although you were driving home, the after-hours fender bender qualifies for workers’ compensation because you were performing a task your boss asked you to do.
After-hours workers’ compensation may also apply in the following situations:
- You get food poisoning while attending the company picnic.
- A picture frame falls from the wall in your hotel room while on a business trip and strikes you on the head.
- You slip on a wet floor inside the office supply store while buying copy paper for the office.
If you sustain an injury away from your workplace, you may think you are ineligible for workers’ compensation. However, explore your options and understand the law before ruling anything out, especially because you could be leaving money on the table you otherwise could be eligible for.