Many traffic collisions occur during morning and evening commute times as numerous drivers are on the road going to and from work. Under Florida law, whether you’re in your own vehicle or a company car “available for the exclusive personal use of the employee,” these “going and coming” injuries aren’t considered eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.
An exception would be if someone is “engaged in a special errand or mission for the employer.” Maybe your boss told you to go out and buy some supplies or pick up a client at their hotel and bring them to the office, for example. Both of those are work-related activities and not just your regular commute between home and work.
Running an errand
However, if you just decided on your own to go pick up donuts and coffee for your department. If you’re injured in a crash while you’re doing that, your injuries likely wouldn’t qualify for workers’ comp benefits. That’s because what you were doing would be considered a “deviation from employment” under the law.
What if your boss directs you to go out and pick up lunch for everyone at a local restaurant because your team is on a tight deadline and will be working through lunch? You’re doing that at the direction of a manager, so if you’re injured while running that errand, that’s a “deviation…expressly approved by the employer.”
Traveling for work
When you have to travel for work, whether in a car or any other means of transportation, an injury suffered while traveling should be eligible for workers’ comp. This would apply, for example, if you were injured as you were driving from Coral Gables up to Palm Beach for a conference or to meet with clients.
These situations can sometimes be confusing – even for employers. If you’re having difficulty obtaining workers’ comp benefits for an injury suffered during travel (whether around the block or across the state) for work, it’s important to find out what your legal rights are.