The portal-to-portal rule essentially says that your commute does not officially count as time at work. Therefore, if you’re driving in to work or driving home, and you get in a car accident, your employer does not have to pay workers’ compensation benefits. This is true even though you wouldn’t have been driving had you not had to commute to your job.
There are exceptions, though, such as:
– Accidents that happen on business trips. Since you were only driving because of the benefit to the company – your attendance at a conference, for example – you might be covered. This isn’t a normal commute.
– Accidents in the parking lot. Though you will not be covered on the road in front of the building, if you pull into the lot and are involved in an accident, you could be covered.
– Accidents after you’ve been sent on an errand. For example, your boss could tell you to swing by the store and pick up some items on your way in to work in the morning. You could be sent out on such an errand during your lunch break. When this happens, you may be covered.
The big questions to ask are whether or not you were on the premises and whether or not your employer had something to gain because of your driving. If so, you could be covered by workers’ comp laws in Louisiana.
These types of cases can be very complex, and your employer may fight you and say you weren’t at work when you were hurt. That’s why it’s so important to know all of your rights and legal options.