You travel to and from work every day. If you are ever in a car accident during that commute, would you be eligible for Workers’ Compensation? What about if you were driving while performing a work-related “special mission?”
A young man was a worker-in-training for Dunkin Donuts. His employer owned three different locations in Pennsylvania – Wyncote, Hatfield, and Horsham. The young man was assigned to Wyncote. His job included delivering product between the three locations and filling in for sick employees. One day, his employer called and instructed him to fill in for a sick worker at the Hatfield location.
Sadly, the young man was killed while traveling to the Hatfield store. Just as sadly, Dunkin Donuts denied Workers’ Compensation benefits to his family, claiming that he was “on his way to work” when it happened.
In Pennsylvania, if you are “coming and going” from work, you are not covered for Workers’ Compensation. However, there are exceptions. And, the Court found two of those exceptions applied here. First, the Court found that the young worker was a “traveling” employee. Traveling employees are considered in the course of employment more often because, by the very nature of their jobs, they are always working once they leave home. Second, the Court applied the “special mission” exception. The employer’s call and reassignment to the other store location to cover for a sick employee put the young worker on a “special mission” and thus he was covered when his fatal accident occurred.
The morale of the story: Do not just assume that you are not protected by Workers’ Compensation if you are on your way to and from work. If you have a question, call (888-534-6016) or email ([email protected]) our offices for a free consultation. We can tell you if one of the exceptions applies to you.