Can You Collect Workers’ Comp For A Car Accident While Commuting?
This week I was contacted by a potential new client that was involved in a motorcycle accident while traveling to work. This person wanted to know if he could collect Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits because he could not work due to the very serious head injuries he sustained in the accident. He had been involved in a single vehicle accident.
He apparently had fainted while operating his motorcycle which led to the crash. Unfortunately, in this situation he will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. The reason is because of the coming and going rule.
The Massachusetts Coming And Going Rule
There is a workers’ compensation exclusion called the coming and going rule. This essential means, with limited exceptions, that you are not eligible for workers’ compensation coverage when you have an accident while commuting to or away from work.
Please note if the operator of the motorcycle was actually on-the-clock at the time of the accident, then he would be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
What About A Lawsuit?
Since workers’ compensation is not available to someone commuting to or from work, can a lawsuit be filed? Assuming there was nothing wrong or defective with the motorcycle that led to the accident, there would be no product liability claim against the motorcycle manufacturer to pursue.
But, if another vehicle was somehow negligent for causing the crash, then a claim and possible lawsuit could be filed against that person for negligence. This would be a claim for your lost wages, property damage to your vehicle, payment for medical bills, as well as pain and suffering you experienced.