In a January 4 Letter of Interpretation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) directed employers to record certain commuting injuries as “tasks that are conditions of employment”.
Typically if a worker is injured in a motor vehicle accident during the normal commute to and from work, it is not considered a work related and is therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, the OSHA letter shifts the interpretation of tasks that are a condition of employment to include a situation where an employee is required to return to work outside of his or her normal commute and is involved in a motor vehicle accident.
A hypothetical example might include a worker who goes into work on Monday and returns home in the evening (the normal commute) only to be called back into the office later to handle an emergency. In route to the office “traveling in the interest of the employer” he or she is injured in a car accident. OSHA interprets the non-standard commute as a condition of employment and therefore the employee may be eligible for workers comp.
Another example that makes the distinction between a normal commute and a commute that entails traveling “in the interest of an employer” clear might include an employer having an employee run an errand on the way to work to pick up supplies. At the point where an employee is diverted by the employer to perform a work related duty outside the normal commute, the worker is engaged in a work activity in the interest of the employer.
- Other possible exceptions include:
When the employer provides the employee with transportation to and from the place of work and the employee is injured while in transport.
When the employee is traveling between two locations on the work premises.
When the employee performs part of their work at home and an injury occurs between the place of employment and the employee’s home.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident while performing a work related activity, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Contact the Davenport workers’ compensation attorneys of McDonald Woodward & Carlson PC for help today at 563-355-6478.