Think of the typical office employee who commutes to their job by driving to and from work every day. Say this unfortunate employee gets into a motor vehicle accident on the way to or from work. Is this a compensable workers’ compensation claim? Typically, the answer is no because of the generally recognized “coming and going” rule. Under workers’ compensation law, employees who have a “fixed situs” workplace and are injured coming from work or going to work typically do not have a compensable workers’ compensation claim. Of course, there are many exceptions, but this general rule holds true in most cases.
Due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure at the workplace, many states have enacted legislation to include the contraction of COVID-19 as a compensable workers’ compensation “occupational disease.” Just what is an “occupational disease,” how does it differ from other types of workplace injuries, and what do employers need to know about this development?