HVAC Workers’ Comp Claim Denied After Worker Clocked Out
Generally speaking, your workers’ compensation policy only covers you when you’re on the clock. However, there can be substantial gray areas involved in making such determinations. In one case, an HVAC employee was denied coverage after he got into a car accident in a company vehicle. The employee was authorized to use the vehicle for personal transport.
Employers occasionally allow employees to use company vehicles as their personal vehicles. They may or may not have substantial policies concerning the vehicle’s use off-hours. However, since these vehicles provide added advertising, employers don’t really mind the vehicles being driven around. The biggest problem is that it can cloud legal matters such as workers’ compensation, wage and hour rules, and cause other problems. In this case, the workers’ claim was denied. We’ll discuss the ruling further below.
Understanding the decision
In some countries, your workers’ compensation policy ticks in the moment you begin preparing to go to work. In Germany, for example, you can get compensation if you’re injured on your commute in a car accident. In the U.S., however, those claims are all routed through your auto liability insurance. Depending on the severity of your accident, it may not be enough to compensate for your medical expenses and lost wages. Workers’ compensation provides smaller payouts over an indefinite period of time. Those who lose work because of their injury are entitled to get a percentage of their compensation paid monthly.
In this case, the worker had completed his service calls for the day and clocked out from work. He was on his way home when the accident occurred. He filed a workers’ compensation claim, but the insurer denied the claim and the employee pursued the matter. At first, the court ruled that the employee was a “traveling employee”. A “traveling employee” is someone who is traveling while on the job. The claim was initially granted but overturned on appeal when the court ruled that the employee was clocked out.
The two workers’ comp rules that factored into this decision were the “traveling employee” provision and the “going and coming” provision. In the U.S., going to and coming from work is not considered a part of your employment duties and is thus barred from compensation by workers’ comp. However, employees who must travel as a part of their work duties are covered by workers’ compensation. In this case, the matter was clouded because the employee used a company vehicle for his personal vehicle and was coming from the client’s home on his way home from work. However, the court applied the law as it was written leaving open no provision for employees using company vehicles for personal reasons.
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Payer Law helps Miami workers file compensation claims with their employers. Call our Miami workers’ compensation lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.