When an Injury Incurred While Traveling to Work is Compensable
Fort Mill, SC Attorney
Generally, if an employee suffers an injury or accident while traveling to or from work, that injury is considered outside the course and scope of his or her employment and, therefore, not compensable under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation scheme. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that will bring an injury within the scope of one’s employment. If you suffered an injury that you believe is work-related and want to file a claim for workers’ compensation in North or South Carolina, you should consult with a seasoned attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.
Death on the Way to Work
The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently considered the exceptions to the so-called “going to and coming from work rule” in the case of Wofford v. City of Spartanburg. The worker in this case was a superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Spartanburg who died in a motorcycle accident while traveling from his mother’s home to one of the city’s recreation centers. Mr. Wofford’s widow and surviving child filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and the City of Spartanburg denied the claim because the accident and injury occurred while the worker was traveling to work and, therefore, not compensable. The City found that none of the exceptions to this rule applied. Additionally, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission found that even if Wofford was in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred, his initial trip to his mother’s house was a substantial deviation from his usual route to work, which brought him outside of the scope of his employment. The mother apparently testified that her home was in the opposite direction of Wofford’s workplace and that he was at her house for approximately three hours before he left telling her that he was on his way to work.
On appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the claimant argued, in a general way, that Wofford was on a “special task or errand” when he had his accident because he was going to retrieve something as requested by his supervisor. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission’s denial, stating that the task he was requested to perform were within Wofford’s typical job responsibilities.
Five Exceptions to the Travelling to and From Work Rule
As the court explained, workers who are injured traveling to and from work are generally outside the scope of activities that would be covered under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation statute. However, there are five exceptions to this rule:
- The injured employee is in a company vehicle, or the time spent therein is considered compensable time;
- The injured worker is assigned a work-related task during his or her travel to or from the workplace;
- The injured worker was required to travel through an inherently dangerous way to the workplace, which is either the only way or the way that the employer built and maintained;
- The worker was injured in close proximity to the workplace and the worker was required to use that way to go to and from the workplace;
- The worker suffered an injury while performing a special task, service, mission or errand for his or her employer before or after usual working hours or on a day in which he or she usually does not work.
Determining whether an activity falls within one of these exceptions is a fact-intensive inquiry that requires extensive investigation and legal analysis. Bice Law, LLC can help you with the process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation in North or South Carolina. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at 877-BICE-877 or by submitting our online form.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.