Injuries resulting from an accident are considered work related if they occur during the course of employment and arise out of that employment. The first question is, why does it matter if the injury occurs in the course of my employment? If your accident occurs during the course of your employment, you will likely be eligible for workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation will cover 100% of your authorized medical treatment. You might also be paid certain disability benefits that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
When are you considered to be acting in the course of your employment? Is it when you start your drive to work? When you arrive to the parking lot at your office? Generally speaking, under the “going and coming” rule, accidents which occur on the way to or from work are not covered under workers’ compensation. There are, however, important exceptions to the “going and coming” rule. For example, if an injury occurs while on paid travel time or while using an employer’s vehicle for job duties, you may fall within an exception to the “going and coming rule.” If you are traveling to the office after a client meeting, you may also be eligible for workers’ compensation. What about accidents that occur inside my employer’s parking lot? Generally, if employees have designated parking spots or the employer owns the parking lot, employment generally starts when you step out of the car.
Some cases, however, suggest that employment starts when you enter an employer owned/employee designated parking lot. If, however, there is a general parking lot, which is neither owned or controlled by your employer, employment does not begin until you step inside the building (or, at the very least, step onto a piece of property owned by, or under the control of, your employer).