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California Workers Comp “Coming and Going” Rule Exceptions

The “Coming and Going Rule” basically states that when an employee is traveling to work or traveling home from work and they are injured in a motor vehicle accident, they are not covered by workers compensation. The injuries suffered are not compensable because the employer derives no benefit from an employees’ normal, or ordinary commute to and from work.

Coming and going claims have become much more prevalent in recent years, primarily because of the expansion of WCAB interpretations of this original rule. The Workers Comp Appeals Board has broadened the guidelines to include any injury that is deemed in “close connection” to the claimant’s job.

Here you will find the 13 scenarios that outline injuries that were originally thought to be incurred when the claimant was not on the job, and yet the WCAB ruled them to be compensable under Workers Compensation coverage:

You can see that these rulings basically all spawned from Smith v. WCAB as far back as 1968. It is really very obvious that Smith made total sense that, when as a condition of employment, the employee was required to use his personal vehicle during the course of his work. Thus, the commute to and from the employees home would, in fact, be a compensable exposure.

From Smith a multitude of additional exclusion and exceptions to this rule were spawned. This began the ever widening scope of coverage for carriers and increasing the sphere of liability for business owners of all types. The main deviation and breakthrough for claimants’ attorneys is Hinojosa v. WCAB (1972). This is basically the “catch all” if none of the other exclusions apply to a particular claim. It introduced the “Implied Condition of Employment” term into the claimants arsenal and allowed for further terms in other exceptions to the rule like:  “Accommodation to the employer whether express or implied”, “special risk”,  and the entire notion of any “benefit to the employer, whether a condition of employment or not”.

I personally insure several grower, packer, shippers of fresh fruit and also a few large labor contractors who are basically in a no win situation when faced with a going and coming claim. This industry as a whole is a massive target for these rulings and I personally have 4 active open cases involving the coming and going rule and the exceptions and exclusions contained in the attachment.

If you have any questions concerning the “Going and Coming” rule or any of its exceptions, feel free to contact me and we can discuss possible defensible positions.

Guy Teafatiller

Vice President | Kingsburg