Do Workers’ Compensation Laws Apply If An Employee is Injured While Commuting To or From Work?

Generally no, but there are limited circumstances where an injury that occurs while an employee is commuting may be covered by workers’ compensation laws.

In Minnesota, the general rule is that workers’ compensation applies to injuries that occur to an employee “while engaged in, on, or about the premises where the employee’s services require the employee’s presence as a part of that service at the time of the injury and during the hours of that service.”  Minn. Stat. § 176.011, subd. 16.

The exceptions that may cause an injury that occurs while the employee is commuting to be covered by workers’ compensation include:

  • When the employer regularly furnishes transportation to employees to and from the place of employment, and the employee is injured while being so transported;
  • When the employee is traveling between two portions of his or her work premises; or
  • If a portion of the employee’s work is performed at home, situations may arise in which an injury that occurs during the trip between the employee’s home and his employer’s premises may fall within the scope of workers’ compensation coverage.

See Kahn v. State, 289 N.W.2d 737, 742 (Minn. 1980).

Takeaway:  In most cases, if an employee is injured while commuting to or from work, the injury will not be covered by workers’ compensation laws.  However, if any of the exceptions listed above apply, the injury may be subject to workers’ compensation laws.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on November 4, 2013, in Workers' Compensation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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