The Going and Coming Rule
Under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation rules, an injury must arise out of and in the course of employment in order to be compensable.
These two requirements are distinct and both must be satisfied before an injury can be compensated. What do these two terms actually mean?
“Arising out of” refers to the fact that the origin or cause of the injury can be linked to the employment.
“Arising in the course of” refers to the time, place and circumstances of the accident, meaning that the injury must have occurred when the worker is employed, at his or her workplace, and while doing work for the employer.
Whereas everyone understands that a worker sustaining burns while welding metal plates in the workshop will be covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation carrier, what happens if someone is hurt on the way to or from work?
The so-called Going and Coming Rule under North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act specifically provides that an injury occurring while an employee travels to and from work does not satisfy the “In the course of” requirement and is therefore not compensable.
There are three situations where the courts have stated that the going and coming rule would not apply and that the sustained injury would be compensated, namely:
- When the injury occurs on the employer’s premises; For instance when an employee suffers an accident while traveling to his work, but already on the employer’s premises.
- The injury is sustained while the worker performs a “special errand” for the employer. An example would be when an office clerk is injured on the way to or from a shop where he or she was sent to by a superior.
- When the employer arranges for transportation in the frame of an employment contract, or compensates the employee for his transportation costs to and from work. This would cover employees injured on business travel, or sales representatives injured in road accidents.
If you have been injured at work, and have the slightest doubt whether you should be covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, you should ask for advice from a reputable and experienced workplace accident lawyer.
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Contact Joe Miller Law in Elizabeth City, where attorney Joseph Miller, Esq has been representing injured North Carolina workers for over 20 years. Call us locally 757-455-8889 or toll-free 888-694-1671 or send us an e-mail for a FREE.