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Workers' Compensation Blog

The “Going and Coming Rule” in the District of Columbia

Thursday, September 13, 2018

What tends to surprise a lot of our clients is the fact that, in the District of Columbia, injuries sustained by employees while traveling to work or traveling home from work, are not covered by the District of Columbia workers’ compensation statute. The DC workers’ comp statute is codified in Title 32 of the DC Code. In order for an injury to fall within the statute, the injury must “arise out of” the injured worker’s employment.

An injury is said to ‘arise out of’ ones employment if the injury would not have occurred ‘but for’ the fact that an obligation of the employment duties puts the injured worker in a position where he gets injured. An injury is therefore, said to ‘arise out of’ ones employment when it occurs in the course of the employment on account of conditions of the employment which are the immediate cause of the injury.

Therefore, while we must travel via some mode of transportation in order to be able to arrive at our place of employment, or to return home, the traveling itself is not a condition of the actual employment, and is not an obligation of the physical work we do; the traveling and the work are separate and apart from one another.

However, there are instances where an employee’s travel to and from work can be considered to be a part of the employee’s actual work and an obligation of the employee’s employment.When this occurs, injuries sustained by the employee while traveling to and from work would be an exception to the ‘going and coming rule.’ Some factors that the court will consider are the following:

  1. Was the employee paid for his time to travel to and from work?
  2. Was the employee driving a company vehicle to and from work that he parks in his “home garage?” 
  3. Is the employee paid gas money to get to and from work? 

While there is no bright-line rule, the court will consider one or more of the above factors to see if there exists an exception to the “going and coming rule,” allowing the injury sustained while traveling to or from work to fall within the DC workers’ compensation statute.If any additional information is needed, I can be reached by email: lpisano@bsgfdlaw.com, or on my direct work number of: 301-740-3304.

Report First – ‘Tough It Out’ Later

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The first thing you must do when you get injured on the job is to notify your supervisor immediately. You do not have to notify your employer in writing, but it makes your claim much easier if you do. Whichever way you choose to notify, make sure you indicate the date and the time of the accident, and every body part that was injured.

Notice should be given even for minor injuries. You don’t have to miss work to report an injury. You can choose to tough it out and keep working after you get hurt but you should document it whether or not you can continue to work.  After reporting it to your supervisor, the next way to document your injury is to go see a doctor to get checked out. Whether you see your primary doctor or go to a clinic you want to make sure someone evaluates your injury so that if your condition gets worse down the road, you have already created a paper trail that will support you getting the treatment you may need later.

You Must Go Beyond Your Internal Claim Number

Once you report the injury, your employer may request that you fill out an incident report and even give you their own internal claim number. However, remember that reporting the injury does not mean that you have done everything to protect yourself. You still have to file a claim with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission to fully make sure you are protected.

Although it’s ideal to notify your employer of a work-place injury as soon as it happens, Maryland law states that an injured worker has ten (10) days to report the injury. The law even provides some exceptions if you report beyond the ten (10) day requirement, but late reporting can give your employer a basis to contest or dispute your claim even though you might have a valid workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, you should report your injury as soon as it happens.

Follow These Steps If You Are Injured On The Job

So if you are injured on the job (even if it’s a minor injury and you do not miss time from work) remember these three easy steps:

  1. Report immediately (preferably in writing);
  2. See a doctor (even your primary care provider); and
  3. Contact the lawyers at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby to file your claim!

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