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Can traveling workers receive workers' compensation?

Connecticut's workers' compensation law provides for payment to workers who are injured during the course of employment. An injury also may come from the result of a risk involved or incident to employment or the conditions under which the work has to be performed. Injuries may be compensated when it occurs during the period of employment, at a place where the worker may be during work and when the employee is fulfilling work duties or incidental work.

Traveling presents special issues, however. Connecticut adopted the coming and going rule that exempts injuries received on a public highway while the employee is going to or from work. The reason for this rule is that employment does not normally begin until the employee reaches the workplace and any injury received before that time should not be compensated because it was not suffered during the course of employment.

There are four exceptions to this rule, however, which allows workers' compensation for injuries received while traveling. First, if the work requires travel on highways. Next, where the employee contracts to furnish or furnishes transportation to and from work. Third, the employee may receive emergency calls under the terms of employment. Finally, the employee is injured while using the highway and doing something incidental to their employment, doing something incidental to the employment, working for the joint benefit of the employer and employee and with the employer's knowledge and approval.

The Connecticut state Supreme Court applied these exceptions in 2005. It ruled that the coming and going rule was inapplicable and that a health care worker was entitled to workers' compensation benefits after being struck by a car while crossing the street while walking the home of her first patient of the day. The Court found that traveling to patients' homes was part of her work duties and the travel was an integral part of the services that she was employed to provide.

Traveling is among the many issues for injured workers that may require legal assistance. Prompt advice should be acquired after a workplace injury accident to help assure that rights are protected.

Source: FindLaw, "Labadie v. Norwalk Rehabilitation Services, Inc.," 274 Conn. 219, 875 A.2d 485 (Conn. 2005)

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