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Can You Receive Workers' Compensation Benefits For Injuries That Occur While Commuting?

Workers' compensation laws were designed to provide certain benefits to employees injured on the job.  Benefits typically include such things as medical care, temporary and permanent disability payments, and supplemental job displacement benefits.  Your family may also receive death benefits if you die from a job injury or illness. 

Although filing a claim may seem straightforward, employers may challenge your right to receive benefits.  One of the top employer arguments includes that a job injury did not occur during the course of employment. 

A recent case - Lantz v. WCAB - evaluated whether the family of a prison worker who was killed in his commute home from work was entitled to death benefits.  While in this situation the court determined that the family was not entitled to benefits, it raised several critical points concerning what is "during the course of employment," especially when your job includes a commute.

For example, you may be entitled to benefits if you are injured while commuting if your travel is for any purpose other than "coming and going" to work at a fixed location.  This includes injuries that occur while travelling for your employer's benefit outside of your normal job duties.  Thus, if your employer asks you to perform an errand or perform a task outside of your routine duties (i.e. "a special mission") on the way to or from work, and you are injured while performing this task, you may be entitled to benefits.  Additionally, if you have no fixed job site but travel from location to location, you may be entitled to receive benefits for injuries that occur during that travel. 

It is also important to remember that if you are injured in a car accident during the course of employment, it may be possible to recover damages in addition to workers' compensation.  You may have a personal injury claim for damages against the third party who caused the car accident, or potentially a products liability claim if the accident occurred as the result of a defective automobile part. 

Due to the many factors involved when on-the-job accidents occur, it is critical to consult with an experienced Oakland workplace accident attorney if you or a loved one has sustained an injury at work.  For more information please contact the knowledgeable Oakland personal injury lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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