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Can You Claim Workers’ Compensation If Injured While Traveling to or From Work?

It is no secret that any worker who sustains an injury due to an accident while on duty can claim workers’ compensation benefits from his employer. These benefits usually include payments for medical consultations and necessary treatments and compensation for wage loss.

But let’s face it: Not all work-related injuries happen in the workplace. In many cases, accidents happen when employees are traveling to or from work.

If that happens to you, you may wonder if you may pursue a workers’ compensation claim just the same. Depending on your situation, the answer can be yes.

In this guide, you will discover whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation when injured during your travel to or from work.

Can you pursue a claim?

Like we said, sustaining an injury while traveling to or from the workplace happens, and whether or not you will be entitled to compensation benefits will heavily depend on your situation. Did it happen while you were commuting between your home and workplace, or vice-versa? While you were on your way from a work-related training? Or while you were traveling between jobs with two different employers? In some cases, accidents even happen while traveling internationally for work!

It is also worth mentioning that some jobs are road-based, meaning travel is an indispensable part of the job or something employees are actually paid to do. These types of job are usually protected by the Workers’ Compensation Legislation. So if your job falls under this category and you’re injured while performing your job, you can make a claim for workers’ compensation for personal injury under certain provisions that are designed to give positive right to such benefits.

But what if travel is not part of your job and it just so happened that you got injured while traveling from home to work?

According to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act of 2003, you will be compensated if you are able to prove that you have already started your journey to your workplace without any delays or was already on your way to your place of trade when you sustained your injury. That means that if you sustained your injury while you were still preparing for work at home, you cannot claim compensation since your journey to work has not started yet.

As a rule of thumb, if you sustained your injury while on a trip outside your workplace but for reasons related to your job, the law will consider your employment as an important factor to your injury and may find you eligible to workers’ compensation benefits.

In Australia, however, different rules apply across different states, so there is no assurance that you can make a claim—even if the injury happened during a work-related travel.

What are the rules?

If you live in the New South Wales (NSW), you may not be able to claim your workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries unless you prove that the accident that caused your injury was directly correlated to your employment. If you got your injury while you were traveling to a client’s home, you may have a claim provided that you establish that your travel had to do with fulfilling your duties in your company.

The same rule applies when you meet an accident after working for two shifts at your employer’s request. Just the same, however, you will not be able to claim your benefits if you fail to show that you were in that situation due to work.

Meanwhile, rules in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) are more relaxed. If you sustained an injury during your travel to work in the ACT, your chances of getting coverage are high. But of course, you will not be covered if you were injured before leaving home for work.

What if you were denied workers’ compensation benefits you believe you are entitled to?

While many territories offer coverage and compensation for injuries sustained between an employee’s abode and his workplace, the sad truth is that many workers who suffered on their way to work have lost their right to workers’ compensation just because they have failed to establish a “real and substantial connection” between their work and the situation out of which they sustained their injuries. Such cases are most common in NSW, where the process of lodging a claim for such injuries are less straightforward.

While you cannot do anything about the localized differences in how these types of claims are treated, you can empower yourself by having an adequate understanding of the law in your jurisdiction. If you pursued a workers compensation claims across SA but was denied the benefits you think you deserve, it is best to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your case.

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