Understanding Maryland’s “Going and Coming” Rule

Employees may be covered by Worker’s Compensation for an off-the-premises injury if the accident was job-related.

Most Maryland residents are aware that Worker's Compensation exists to cover their medical expenses and lost wages if they are injured on the job or suffer a work-related illness. However, what if they are injured away from work? Will they qualify for Worker's Compensation if a job-related injury or illness occurred offsite? This is one of the most common questions people have about Worker's Compensation coverage, and some scenarios are complicated.

According to the Maryland Worker's Compensation Act, the "Going and Coming" Rule pertains to whether an employee is eligible for benefits after a work-related injury or illness occurred while the Employee was away from the office or jobsite.

What is the Going and Coming Rule?

Ordinarily, the Worker's Compensation Act will not cover someone who is injured while on their way to or from work, or not on the Employer's property. However, Maryland case law has carved out exceptions to this rule to extend coverage to injured workers.

Although each Claim is very fact specific, the general exceptions include the following:

· Being in an accident while commuting to or from work while using a company vehicle

· Tripping on the sidewalk on work property

· Injuries or accidents that occur in an Employer designated parking area

· Injuries at a company gathering or work-sponsored event with co-workers or clients

· Being injured while on a business trip or traveling between multiple job sites

Conversely, Worker's Compensation benefits usually do not extend to accidents during a commute to or from work in person's personal vehicle. A Claim may be disallowed if the employee is on a lunch break off of the Employer's premises. However, should a break or a commute be associated with a "special-mission" or an assignment that benefits the Employer, the injury may be compensable.

Should I seek legal assistance?

In many cases, employers and their insurers deny such Claims in hopes that an injured worker will go away and not seek representation. Since the circumstances related to the Going and Coming Rule can be especially complicated, it is always prudent to speak to an attorney experienced in Maryland Worker's Compensation law. An attorney can be especially helpful in assessing compensability, properly filing a claim, and pursuing the Claim at a hearing before the Worker's Compensation Commission. The attorneys at Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg are particularly experienced with such Claims and are able to fight for injured workers using the special exceptions that are not often apparent.