Because most people drive themselves to work, many workplaces have parking lots. They can be dangerous. It’s common to hear of parking-lot injuries arising from uneven surfaces, liquids, ice, or other hazards in or on the lot.
If you fall and hurt yourself in a parking lot at work, are you eligible for workers’ compensation? It’s complicated.
Here’s the overview:
— If you suffer injury in a parking lot owned by someone other than your employer — such as a public lot owned by a municipality or a private lot owned by an entity other than your employer — workers’ compensation likely won’t cover your injury.
— If you suffer injury in a parking lot your employer owns, controls, or directs you to park in, workers’ comp may cover your injury.
Here are the details:
Workers’ compensation generally doesn’t cover injuries that occur while an employee is going to and leaving from work. In the workers’ compensation world, this exclusion is known as “the coming and going rule.”
You haven’t started work yet if you’ve merely arrived in the parking lot you use for work; you’re no longer at work if the workday has ended and you’ve made it to the parking lot. Thus, the coming and going rule generally excludes injuries in parking lots from workers’ compensation coverage.
There is a significant exception to the coming and going rule: if you’re injured in a parking lot your employer owns or controls, or you park in a particular lot or portion of a lot because your employer requires you to park there, workers’ compensation may cover your injury. If this exception applies, some examples of conditions that can support a workers’ compensation award are hazards from inclement weather (e.g., rain, snow, ice, hail), seasonal changes (e.g., slippery leaves), potholes, loose gravel, and oily patches.
Note as well that there may be an exception to the coming and going rule for a parking-lot injury if your employer pays for your commute or you’re driving or riding in a vehicle your employer provides for you to get to and from work.
If another employee injures you with their car while you’re in the work parking lot, workers’ compensation likely won’t cover your injury.
As we said, it’s complicated. That’s why it’s important to consult a specialized workers’ compensation lawyer if you’re injured on the job.
HammondTownsend is a Virginia workers’ compensation law firm with offices located throughout the state. If you’ve suffered an injury in a parking lot at work, please don’t hesitate to contact HammondTownsend at 888-580-9048 for a free consultation. If a trip, fall, or some other accident causes you to break your ankle, strain your back, or leads to some other injury, we can help you with the workers’ compensation process from start to finish.