Many employers in Minnesota require their employee to travel in their vehicle as part of their job. The issue of whether an employee’s motor vehicle insurance or workers’ compensation insurance covers the injuries can become an issue.
As with any injury, it must first be decided whether the injury arose in the course and scope of employment. However, traveling employees are subject to a different analysis depending on the nature of the employment and the circumstances surrounding the collision.
The first instance that must be evaluated is whether the employee was traveling. Some injuries sustained by traveling employees are compensable and some are not. It depends on a variety of factors including what the employee was, what the employee was doing, and whether the employee was required to be traveling as part of his or her duties.
- Employer-Furnished Transportation: This is one of the exceptions to the coming and going rule. If an employer transports its employees to and from work on a regular basis, injuries sustained during that time are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Three conditions must be met under this exception: 1) the transportation must be regularly furnished; 2) the employer-furnished vehicle must also have an employer-furnished driver; 3) the injury must occur while the employee is being transported to and from employment.
- Employee-Furnished Transportation: There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to coverage under this category. This category is very fact-specific and it will depend on the specific circumstances of a case. Coverage can turn on the issue of whether the employee is required to have a vehicle as part of employment, whether transportation expenses are paid by the employer after allowing the use of personal vehicles, and whether there is an expectation on the part of the Employer that the Employee will use his or her vehicle.
- Travel as a Part of Service: To recover for injuries sustained while traveling, the employee must be able to show that the travel was part of his or her employment. This can be done by showing that the trip furthered the employer’s interests, the employee received complete or partial reimbursement for travel expenses, or the employee received wages for the time spent traveling. If the employee can show that these events occurred, the entire journey will be compensable. Under this exception, a traveling employee will be considered “in the course of employment” continuously during a business trip unless the employee deviates on a personal mission.
As stated before, the law in this area is highly fact-specific. If you have been injured as a result of a motor vehicle collision that occurred while you were working, contact us for a free consultation.