Does Maryland Workers’ Compensation Cover Accidents That Happen On The Way To Work?
If you are an employee in Maryland, then you likely qualify for workers’ compensation employment benefits through your employer. These benefits provide medical care and partial or full wage replacement while you recover from injuries sustained at work and for the benefit of your employer. However, what “at work” means can become very relevant when you find yourself injured on your way to the office or a job. Additionally, you may have filed a legitimate claim and have it denied by the insurance carrier for this very reason. In that situation, understanding what benefits you are entitled to is critical in terms of determining how to proceed and ensure that you get the coverage that you deserve.
Is Commuting Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
The actual drive to the office is generally not considered to count as “at work.” For this reason, for most people, getting in a car accident on the way to work in the morning is unlikely to result in workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, there are numerous exceptions. For instance, if your boss or supervisor asked you to stop and pick something up on your way to work (like coffee or a newspaper) and you were injured en route, then this does entitle you to workers’ compensation coverage because you were on a special mission for work. Likewise, if you were driving a company car or a vehicle provided by your place of work this may qualify you for coverage. Your personal vehicle is generally exempted from commute coverage, but a company vehicle is not. The degree of coverage may vary depending upon whether the vehicle had the company logo on it and what purposes it was being used for. Additionally, if you drive to multiple job sites during your shift and were en route to a job site when the accident or injury occurred, then you will still be found to qualify for coverage. This applies regardless of whether you were using your personal vehicle or a work-provided vehicle. Many public safety employees have extended coverage under the law for what is considered work related under these commuting scenarios.
There may also be a loophole when it comes to employees whose regular job duties involve extensive driving or travel. Provided the injury was incurred while the employee was in the course of performing their job duties, then the employee should receive workers’ compensation coverage for it. Additionally, if your injury occurred while traveling to or from a work location on a business trip or was otherwise related to work, then you will also qualify for coverage. Injuries sustained while on a business trip are still found to pertain to work, even if they did not occur within the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business hours and even where the activity is not a typical work requirement.
Talk to Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby
If you have suffered an injury at or on your way to work, the experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorneys at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP are ready to help you navigate the process, ensure that your rights are protected, and get you the maximum amount of compensation that you are entitled to.