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Two workers’ comp rules that can affect the strength of a claim

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

The “coming and going” rule is one that’s often invoked in workers’ compensation denials. It basically says that, in most cases, if an employee suffers an injury on their way to or from work while not on the premises of their workplace and not doing anything related to their job (beyond coming or going), that injury doesn’t qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. As such, it’s important to avoid making assumptions about the strength of a worker’s case, simply because they may have been coming or going at the time that they sustained harm.

One case of an appeal and a denial

One Virginia employee tried to use an exception in appealing her claim denial, but the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (VWCC) ruled that her case didn’t qualify as an exception. The woman worked for a diagnostics company located in a Roanoke hospital. She parked in a parking garage located next to the hospital as she says she was directed to. One day, while in the crosswalk between the garage and the hospital, she slipped on ice and suffered multiple injuries.

Her claim seeking medical and temporary total disability benefits was denied on the basis that she wasn’t engaged in any work-related activity and wasn’t on her employer’s property. In her appeal, she said that she was using the crosswalk to get to the only entrance of the hospital that she could use.

In denying her appeal, the VWCC noted that there were other parking lots as well as other hospitals entrances that she could have used. Therefore, “There is insufficient evidence for us to find that the claimant was injured while coming to work on a route that was used as the sole and exclusive means of ingress and egress for the claimant.”

While this is just one case, it’s a good example of how both the “coming and going” and the “extended premises” rules work. The latter states that if an employee is injured somewhere that’s “in practical effect, a part of the employer’s premises,” it’s considered to have occurred while they were at work.

It’s important to understand rules like this when filing a claim for workers’ comp. There are a lot of gray areas in the law, and the strength of some claims are affected by them. As such, the best course of action is generally to seek experienced legal guidance as proactively as possible.