Employees in California are covered to a degree by their employers’ insurance. If they are injured at work, they are entitled to the benefits of this insurance. This privilege is not so certain, however, if they get injured outside of work.
If you or someone you know has gotten into a car accident outside of work and you’re unsure of your employer’s liability, consult a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles to find out if your situation falls under the “going and coming” rule.
What Is the Going and Coming Rule?
While employers are not required by law to provide health coverage, it’s the ethical thing to do for high-risk industries like trucking and construction. Additionally, it spares employers from getting costly penalties. The Affordable Care Act states that businesses with over 50 employees must offer insurance to 95 percent of their full-time workers, otherwise they will be penalized by the IRS.
As a boon for employers, the insurance they provide only applies when the employer has direct liability, such as when:
- Employees are injured at work.
- Employees are injured outside the office premises, but while doing the scope of their job.
Based on these exceptions, employees who get into car accidents while driving to and from work do not qualify for workers’ compensation.
This is the spirit of the going and coming rule. It draws the line between employer liability and employees’ negligence. Even if the destination is the workplace, the rule considers “driving to work” as a non-work-related activity and is not, therefore, an employer’s liability.
Establishing Vicarious Liability
Vicarious liability is closely tied with the going and coming rule. It applies when there’s an overlap between business or work-related duties and activities that are, by default, personal errands.
For example, a restaurant offers a payback guarantee if the food does not arrive within the indicated time. To prevent late delivery, the restaurant’s driver rushes to make it to the customer’s location in time. Unfortunately, he rear-ends another vehicle in his hurry. Vicarious liability can apply in this situation because the driver is acting within the scope of his job.
Here is another example. Suppose an employer requests an employee to do work-related errands after they clock out. The request could be to deliver products to a concessionaire or bring confidential documents to a senior executive who’s having a meeting outside the office.
While doing these errands, the employee gets into an accident. The employee can file a claim for worker’s compensation because of the employer’s vicarious liability in this situation.
For context, below are examples of situations that are unlikely to fall under vicarious liability:
- An employee gets into a car accident while driving to a party after work on a Friday evening.
- An employee who rides a bicycle meets an accident on the way to work.
- An employee hits another car at an intersection while rushing to return before their lunch break is over.
Asserting Direct Liability
If you get involved in a vehicular accident while you’re on the clock and doing your job, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation. This can cover:
- Medical bills and hospitalization
- Physical therapy
- Salary for the days unworked because of the injury
If your employer denies compensation despite having direct liability or vicarious liability, reach out to a car accident lawyer right away.
Haffner Law is an established LA law firm that specializes in insurance and personal injury claims. Our attorneys are experienced litigators with decades of experience in handling insurance claims. If you want to verify your employer’s liability in your accident, get in touch with our attorneys as soon as possible.
Call 213-514-5681 or fill out the contact form on our website.
(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)