Are you entitled to Florida workers compensation benefits if you are traveling to or from work? What if you are walking from your car to punch in to begin your shift? Does it matter if it is after your shift? These issues are addressed in what is known as Florida’s going and coming rule.
Under Florida Statute 440.092(2), an injury suffered while going to or coming from work is not an injury arising out of and in the course of employment unless the employee was engaged in a special errand or mission for the employer. Seems simple, but it’s not.
The premise of the going and coming rule makes sense. People who travel to work all share the risk of traveling to and from work with the general public. The trip itself is not a hazard of the job (driving on US 19 is a hazard to all). Something must link the traveling to or from work to the job. So, what can be the link?
Under Florida case law, going and coming begins and ends with the employees enters or leaves the employer’s premises. Under the Going and Coming Rule, an employee does not have to be “on the clock” if they are injured. An injury that occurs in the parking lot owned and controlled by the employer would be a compensable accident even though actual work has not yet begun. If the parking lot is not owned by the employer, it may still fall under an exception to the going and coming rule or may open up a third party liability claim against the parking lot owner. If you or a loved one is injured in a parking lot before or after work, you should consult with an attorney who understands both workers compensation law and negligence law to see what your rights would be.
What if an employee arrives early and is not on the clock and gets hurt – workers’ compensation benefits available? Yes. Whether an employee is working at the time of the accident is not relevant. If an employee is injured while preparing to begin a day’s work, this is an exception to the going and coming rule.
What if an employee has to travel between employers locations and gets involved in a car accident? Is the employee entitled to workers compensation benefits? Generally, yes. If business reveal between an employer’s locations is in the court of employment and the going and coming rule does not apply. One case that addressed this was an attorney who reviewed a file at home in preparation for a morning deposition. On the way to the deposition, he was involved in a car accident. The court decided that since the employee routinely worked from home, the home could be deemed an employer’s location and ruled that the coming and going rule does not apply and awarded workers compensation benefits.
So, if you or someone you know is injured going to or leaving work, do not assume that he or she is not entitled to Florida workers compensation benefits. Don’t believe the employer when they tell you that since they were not clocked in, they are not entitled to workers compensation benefits – they may simply not understand the going and coming rule and its exceptions. Rather, talk to an attorney who understand both Florida workers compensation law and personal injury matters to fully understand your rights and responsibilities.
Attorney Matthew Noyes represents employees in Florida workers compensation claims and those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. He is a named partner at the Tampa Bay law firm of Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or complete the form on this page or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.