Can I receive Workers' Compensation if I get hurt commuting?

Workers' Compensation is a specialized area of insurance claims that covers workers when they are hurt at work. But what happens if you're hurt when you aren't at work? 

If you are injured while working in the course and scope of your employment for a New Mexico employer, you're typically entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits. These benefits typically include medical care and disability pay.

But what happens if you are injured in a car accident while driving to or from work? 

Unfortunately, the answer isn't always clear.

New Mexico has a "coming and going" rule, meaning a worker typically is not entitled to Workers' Compensation benefits if he or she is injured while "coming" or "going" to work - that is, while commuting.

But there are a few major exceptions to this general rule:

  • Special Tasks: If your employer sends you on an errand or other kind of "special task" that's outside your typical work hours, you're usually covered. So if you're getting donuts for a work meeting on your way to work, or you're dropping off the mail on your way home, you may be covered.
  • Movement from one job site to another: A common exception in New Mexico's many oilfields, the job site exception applies if you are asked to drive from one work site to another. Sometimes, you may be covered even if you went home in between or picked up coworkers for a commute in between.
  • Business Trips: If you're asked to travel as a part of work, you are typically covered on those trips. But the trip must be part of your work - so driving to meet a client is covered. But driving to pick up your breakfast probably isn't. 

Things can get complicated if you're hurt while driving for work. 

If you have been involved in a car crash, contact our firm - we frequently represent individuals who have been involved in car crashes, whether or not the crashes are related to work. 

But if you've been involved in a car crash while working or while commuting to or from work, you need an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney who can evaluate your case and ensure your rights are protected. 

Contact Holmes Law Firm today for a free, no obligation consultation with an experienced attorney. 


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