Massachusetts Court Discusses the Coming and Going Doctrine in Workers’ Compensation Cases

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation system is intended to assist injured workers with the costs and hardships that arise as a result of an on-the-job accident. However, benefits are only available to employees harmed while performing their job obligations. When an accident occurs while the employee is on their way to or from work, proving benefits should be granted can be challenging. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed what evidence an employee must produce to show that an injury that happened while they were traveling is job related. If you were hurt at work, you should contact a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to assist you in determining if you are eligible to recover benefits.

The Claimant’s Harm

It is reported that the claimant was working as a nurse pursuant at the time of her injuries. Her company assigned her to work in a rehab facility in Vermont, although she lived in Massachusetts. She drove home from Vermont at the end of each five-day stint, assuming she would be reimbursed for her lodging and meals for the whole five-day period. She did not request reimbursement for travel expenditures because she believed the policy was unclear and that she was not obligated to show receipts.

Allegedly, the claimant was leaving her five-day duty and traveling back to her home in Massachusetts on the day of the accident. Specifically, on the way home, she was injured in an accident that necessitated multiple operations and rehabilitation. She was seriously hurt and has no recollection of the accident. She sought workers’ compensation benefits, but her employer’s insurer argued that she was not owed benefits because she was not working at the time of the accident. A judge ruled in favor of the claimant, and the insurer appealed.

The Coming and Going Doctrine

The insurer argued that the employee was not a traveling employee and therefore remuneration should have been denied under the going and coming rule. After reviewing information about the employee-employer relationship, the appellate court ultimately concurred with the lower court and affirmed that the employer was accountable for benefit payments.

Specifically, the court looked at the going and coming rule, which ensures that employees are compensated for injuries sustained while traveling to and from a fixed single place of employment. This restriction, however, does not apply to traveling staff. Although the insurer argued that the employee had a fixed place of employment at the Vermont facility the appellate court did not agree. Instead, the appellate court determined that the plaintiff was a roaming employee. Thus, it affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with an Experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

While some workplace injuries resolve relatively quickly, others cause permanent harm. If you suffered harm in the workplace, you may be owed workers’ compensation benefits, and you should contact an attorney. James K. Meehan of the Law Office of James K. Meehan is an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach him by calling 508-822-6600 or using the online form to set up a meeting.