Texas employees who are injured while commuting to their job sites aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation unless they can show that the employer paid for their commute or the transportation was within the employer’s control.
Thus, if an employer pays mileage for the drive or picks up employees in a van, an accident may lead to a workers’ compensation award. But merely driving to work isn’t enough to trigger workers’ comp.
Recent case: Robert Dunlap-Tarrant was killed when his pickup truck rolled over. At the time of the accident, he was on his way to a company work site 117 miles from his home.
His employer had paid a per-diem rate for lodging and meals Monday night through Thursday night and paid mileage for the trip on Monday mornings and Friday evenings. However, Robert chose to keep the allotment and drive home every evening rather than stay over. The accident occurred on a Tuesday morning. The insurance carrier argued that his Tuesday morning trip was commuting and not company-paid time. The court agreed. (Dunlap-Tarrant v. Association Casualty Insurance Company, No. 11-05-00221, Texas Court of Appeals, Eleventh District, 2006)