The Going and Coming Rule
The Going and Coming Rule and Work Related Injuries that Occur Outside of Work
Generally, under the “going and coming rule,” injuries sustained while an employee is traveling to and from his place of employment are considered outside the course and scope of employment and are, therefore, not compensable under the Workers Compensation Act. Such injuries will, however, be considered to have occurred during the course and scope of employment if one of the following four exceptions applies: (1) the claimant’s employment contract includes transportation to and from work; (2) the claimant has no fixed place of work; (3) the claimant is on a special mission for employer; or (4) the special circumstances are such that the claimant was furthering the business of the employer.
In the recent case of Holler v. Workers Compensation Appeal Board, the Commonwealth Court considered whether a traveling employee fit within the second exception to the “going and coming” rule and whether the injured worker was, therefore, within the course and scope of his employment at the time he was injured. In Holler, the injured worker was a cable technician, responsible for installing cable and network services for Employer’s customers at the customer’s home or business. The injured worker began each work day by reporting to Employer’s facility, where he checked-in by biometric thumb scan, received his assignments for the day, and picked up his equipment. The injured worker then spent the rest of his work day traveling to and working at various customer locations. As a courtesy, Employer allowed Claimant to take his company vehicle home each night and use it to report to work in the mornings. On the morning of August 13, 2010, while Claimant was driving his company vehicle to Employer’s facility prior to the beginning of his work day, the injured worker ran off the road and struck a telephone pole, resulting in significant injuries.
The Commonwealth Court found that the injured worker was a traveling employee and as a traveling employee he was entitled to a presumption that he was working for Employer during the drive from his house to Employer’s facility. To rebut this presumption, Employer had to establish that Claimant’s actions at the time of the injury were so foreign to and removed from his usual employment that they constituted an abandonment of that employment. The Court found that the injured worker’s drive the morning of his injury was not so foreign and removed from his employment as to constitute an abandonment of his employment and therefore his injury was sustained during the course and scope of his employment and was compensable under the Act.
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