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Connecticut has carved out exceptions to the “coming and going” rule

Business Insurance magazine notes that workers in all states who are injured while commuting to or from their place of employment are generally not entitled to workers' compensation benefits under what is known as the "coming and going" rule. Thus, if you suffer a back injury as a result of your car being T-boned at an intersection while you are driving to or from your place of work, that back injury is typically not going to be deemed a work injury which permits you to assert a workers' compensation claim.

The Insurance Journal observes that the logic for the coming-and-going rule is that the employee is not furthering the employer's business, nor serving the needs of the business, by traveling to or from work. In traveling upon the public highways, the employee has not yet arrived at the place where are to be rendered on behalf of the employer. Exceptions to the coming-and-going rule do exist. For example, if travel is an integral part of the employee's duties and furthers the employer's business interests, injuries sustained while traveling are compensable.

Connecticut law

Under Connecticut law, a workers' compensation claimant has the burden of proving that an injury: (1) arose out of the employment and (2) occurred in the course of employment. Connecticut, like her sister states, subscribes to the rule that an injury sustained on a public highway while traveling to or from work is ordinarily not compensable. For example, in a recent case, Slay v. Biros, a Connecticut court observed that an employee driving home from work after the end of her shift was not acting within the scope of her employment and therefore is not eligible for workers' compensation benefits if injured during the commute home. By way of example, the court noted that a clerk employed by a retail store is "usually on her own once she leaves her place of employment and does not continue to act on behalf of her employer."

However, like other states, Connecticut law has gradually created certain exceptions to the coming-and-going rule. In Kornegay v. Babcock, a Connecticut court stated that the four exceptions to the coming-and-going rule are: (1) an employee whose work requires highway travel; (2) an employee whose transportation to or from work is furnished by the employer; (3) an employee who is subject to emergency calls; and (4) an employee who is injured on a highway while doing something incidental to his or her regular employment for the joint benefit of both the employee and the employer.

In the Kornegay case, no exception to the coming-and-going rule applied where the workers' compensation claimant was injured in an automobile accident while on his way home from work. However, in Labadie v. Norwalk Rehabilitation Services, Inc., benefits were awarded to a home health care worker who was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing the street since she was on the way to a patient's home when the accident occurred. The court there decided that she came within the scope of the so-called "traveling employee" exception to the coming-and-going rule because "travel is part and parcel of her work."

Seeking compensation

If you believe that you were injured on the job and the accident was job-related, you should contact a Connecticut attorney experienced in handling workers' compensation claims as soon as possible.

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