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What are the exceptions to the going and coming rule?

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Workers’ compensation in North Carolina can be complex. It has many rules to protect both workers and employers. These guidelines ensure that injured workers get the help they need and also help employers manage costs and stay fair.

One of these important guidelines is the going and coming rule. This establishes that workers’ compensation coverage is not available for injuries that occur while traveling to or from work. However, there are three key exceptions to this rule.

1. The premises exception

The premises exception means that if a worker sustains an injury on the employer’s premises before or after a shift, the individual might still be eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, if an employee slips and falls in the parking lot before clocking in or gets hurt while leaving the building after the end of a shift, that person could still get benefits. The courts have ruled that this still constitutes the work environment and work-related activities that qualify.

2. The special errand exception

The special errand exception allows for workers’ compensation coverage if an employee sustains an injury while running a work-related errand outside of normal job duties. This means that if an employer asks a subordinate to perform a task that benefits the company while not on the clock and the worker gets injured in the process, that person may still be eligible for benefits.

For example, a manager might ask a clerk to pick up supplies on the way to work. If the clerk has an accident while doing so, that could potentially qualify for workers’ compensation. The key is that the errand must directly relate to the person’s duties and benefit the employer in some way, even if it is outside of your regular work hours or location.

3. The transportation exception

If the employer provides transportation as part of a worker’s duties, that employee may be eligible for workers’ compensation after getting injured during that transportation. This exception typically applies to situations where the employer provides a vehicle or arranges transportation for travel to and from work or to perform work-related tasks.

For example, a delivery driver who keeps a company vehicle at home might qualify for benefits if getting into an accident off the clock. Similarly, if an employer provides a shuttle service for employees and the shuttle has an accident, the passengers could be eligible for compensation.

Just because a person is not expressly “on the clock” during a work-related accident does not mean that the incident does not qualify for workers’ comp. An injured worker should check all factors to determine whether an accident still qualifies under these exceptions.