What Do You Do if You are Hurt While Traveling to Work?
THE GOING AND COMING RULE IN FLORIDA WORKERS’ COMPENDATION CLAIMS
At Harris, Guidi, Rosner P.A. we are often asked “What happens if I am hurt while traveling to work?” What covers this situation is the Going and Coming Rule in workers’ compensation in Florida. This rule means that injured workers while traveling to or from work are not in the course and scope of employment (and therefore entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits) unless the injured worker is on duty, a special errand, or if the injured worker is in transportation provided by his or her employer. Going and coming begins and ends when the injured worker enters or leaves his or her employer’s place of business.
If you are hurt while traveling to or from work, there must be a clear, concise link or connection to your job, for you to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, more than just the travel itself (see Florida Statute 440.092(2) and George v. Woodville Lumbar Company, 382 So.2d 802 (Fla.1st DCA 1980). What the Court looks for is if the worker is performing a service for the employer when injured. The travel is required to be necessarily incident to the workers’ employment.
For police officers, and officer is determined to be in the course and scope of employment if the officer is injured while engaged in police work. The officer does not have to be officially on-duty according to Hanstein v. City of Ft. Lauderdale, 569 So.2d 493 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990).
Usually workers who travel between multiple locations for an employer will be found to be in the course and scope of employment should he or she have an accident. Workers who check into a main office first and then travel to a separate location or job site, will be usually held to be within the course and scope of employment should that worker have an accident (so long as the travel when the accident happened was not 100% personal in nature) according to Dade County School Board v. Polite, 495 So.2d 795 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986).
A worker need not be on the clock in some situations to receive workers’ compensation benefits. What the Court looks for is if the injury occurred on the employer’s premises and in the course and scope of employment such as when an employee is preparing to begin working for the day. See Doctor’s Business Service, Inc. v. Clark, 498 So.2d 659 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986).
As can be seen by the examples above, every case has its own set of circumstances, and professional legal advice in this area may be crucial for both you and your family. If you have suffered an injury on your way to or from work, or at any location offsite during work hours, please contact Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. to find out how we can help you pursue your claim. We can be reached at (904) 777-7777 or at email@example.com to schedule a free consultation.