Going And Coming Rule
When the state of New Jersey originally adopted its Worker’s Compensation Act in 1911, the Act did not contain a definition of employment. Over the last one hundred years or so New Jersey Worker’s Compensation courts have attempted to define employment. Specifically, these courts have sought to determine when a typical workday begins and when a typical workday ends. This determination is critical in assessing if an injury is work related or if it is not work related. Over the years, what is known as the “going and coming” rule has evolved. Generally, the rule is that employees are not eligible to receive workers compensation benefits if they are injured during routine travel to and from work. This is because routine travel to and from work adds no benefit to an employer, and exposes the employee to no unusual risk that is specific to his or her job.
Importantly, certain exceptions to the “going and coming” have developed over the years. The two most common exceptions are known as the “special mission” exception and the “travel time” exception. The special mission exception provides injured workers with worker’s compensation benefits if the injury occurs when the employee is required to be away from his or her conventional place of employment and is actually engaged in the direct performance of employment duties. The travel time exception provides injured workers with worker’s compensation benefits if the injury occurs when the employee is paid for travel time to and from a distant job site, or if the employee is using an employer authorized vehicle for travel time to and from a distant job site.
Obviously, there have been many, many cases over the years with fact patterns that attempt to fall within the going and coming rule exceptions. If you have been injured either going to or coming from work you may be entitled to worker’s compensation benefits. Contact an attorney at the Princeton, New Jersey worker’s compensation law firm of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. for a free consultation regarding your rights. Just because your company’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier denies your claim does not necessarily mean you are not entitled to benefits. Contact an experienced New Jersey worker’s compensation attorney at the Princeton office of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. today.