Can You File A Workers’ Comp Claim For An Injury That Occurred On The Way To Work?
Many people in Florida face long commutes to and from work each day. Although these workers are not paid for these journeys, they represent a major part of their work day. In some cases, workers spend hours driving or on public transit. These are hours they’ll never get back – and even though these hours might not be “on the clock,” they are hours that could be spent at home with family. But what if you suffer an injury on the way to work? Does this count as a workplace injury? More importantly, can you file a workers’ comp claim as a result?
One Grove Worker Dies, 10 Injured in Bus Accident
On April 3rd, it was reported that a bus carrying grove workers had crashed in Polk County, causing one fatality and 10 injuries. The bus was involved in a head-on collision with a semi-tanker truck on US-98. According to the authorities, the driver of the work bus crossed the median for unknown reasons, bringing it into the path of the oncoming semi-truck. The workers were on their way to harvest strawberries in Plant City.
These workers were essentially bussed in over long distances because it is very difficult to find people willing to pick fresh fruit in Florida and throughout the rest of the nation. Many were migrants hired through the H-2A visa program for in-demand workers.
The real question is whether this counts as a workplace injury. The coming and going rule states that normal morning and afternoon commutes are not covered under workers’ comp. However, there are exceptions to this rule. If workers are traveling in a company vehicle (such as a bus), it could be considered a workplace injury. In addition, if workers make multiple trips to job sites, this can also be considered part of the workplace. For example, if these workers drove their vehicles to a pick-up point and then boarded the bus, one might argue that the “work day” begins when they board the bus.
A local representative of the Polk County Public Schools Farm Worker Career Development Program seemed to echo this statement, saying:
“The farmers are the ones who have the contract and they provide housing assistance and they have the busing, the transportation, where they take them from the housing wherever they’re at to their work location.”
Where Can I Find a Qualified Workers’ Comp Attorney in Tampa?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer, look no further than the Franco Law Firm. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured workers who have encountered issues with their workers’ comp claims. While the “coming and going” rule may prevent workers from filing claims for injuries during commutes, there are exceptions to this rule. Speak with us today about your possibilities. You can also file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident in Florida, and we can discuss your options during a consultation.