Are Travel Injuries an "On-the-Job" Injury Covered by Workers' Compensation?
Are travel and commuting injuries considered an "on-the-job" injury in Texas? It's a common question, and the answer is "it depends." While the pandemic has curtailed most business travel, it hasn't come to a complete stop. Further, many at-home workers are traveling to meet with clients, and delivery drivers are driving more than ever. Thus, the potential for injuries suffered while traveling or performing job duties remains very real.
Texas statutes exclude most injury claims resulting from injuries suffered while commuting. Claims that are covered include those that occur when the mode of transportation (i.e. company vehicle, bus ticket, train ticket, etc.) is furnished by the employer or is part of the employee's compensation package. Claims are also covered if the employer directs the employee to travel from one place or another, such as a meeting with a client, a worksite, etc.
Dual Purpose Travel
Injuries that occur during dual-purpose travel are usually not covered. Specifically, those that involve the employee conducting personal business, i.e., errands, doctor appointments, etc., outside of the scope of their employment. For example, an employee injured in a car wreck while driving from the office to grab lunch. However, the claim would be permissible if the employer had asked the employee to pick up lunches for the office.
The Guiding Definition of "On-the-Job Injury"
One key phrase governs the eligibility of all workers' compensation claims in Texas; "In the course and scope of employment." Whether the injury is caused by travel, a malfunctioning machine, or other events, Texas Labor Code Section 401.011(10) states very clearly that workers' compensation claims are covered only when:
- The activity originates with the work, business, trade, or profession.
- The injury occurred while the employee was engaged in efforts to further the affairs of the employer.
- The activity occurred while the employee was on the premises of the employer or while at other locations while under the authority of the employer or at their direction.
The team at Welmaker Injury Law is always happy to answer your questions regarding work-related injuries. Contact our team at (210) 828-6033 to learn more about commuting and travel-related injuries. It is our pleasure to provide a free consultation and tell you whether your claim meets statutory requirements for an on-the-job injury in Texas.