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Special Errand Exception

Normally, an employee who is injured while going to or from work is not entitled to workers' compensation.[1] The rationale behind this rule is that employees do not actually begin work until they arrive on the employer's premises. Any risk an employee is subjected to while driving to work is the same risk(s) faced by the general public and are not incident to their employment.

While the going & coming rule does present harsh consequences, there are several exceptions to this rule. A couple weeks ago, we discussed one exception to the going and coming rule. We shall now discuss another exception called the "special errand" exception. This exception essentially states that an employee who is injured while traveling off the premises in the performance of a special errand for the employer is exempt from the going and coming rule if the errand is a major factor in the journey and not merely incidental to it.[2] For example, in Cavness v. Industrial Comm'n, an on-call employee who was asked to come to the office an hour earlier than usual to deliver a document, and was killed in a traffic accident while in transit, was within the course of employment because, although he was en route to his usual place of employment, the journey was made "in order to discharge a duty which the [employer] required and expected him to perform outside of and in addition to the office hours required of him."[3]

In addition, an employee who is injured while traveling to or from a business oriented event or educational seminar is within the course of employment if the employee's attendance is of substantial benefit to the employer and the employer has taken some action, such as sponsoring, approving, or authorizing the event, sufficient to connect the trip to the employment.[4] Hence, a salesman who attended a sales award meeting during a time other than his normal working hours, and who stayed after the meeting to talk business, was in the course of employment when he was injured in a traffic accident on his way home, even though the employer gained no direct economic benefit and did not order the employee to attend the meeting.[5]

There are several other exceptions that apply to the going and coming rule. In fact, an exception might even apply to your case! Because the Arizona workers' compensation system is so complex and has many different rules, it is important that you have proper representation for such a complex system. At the Fendon Law Firm our attorneys have over a century of combined workers' compensation experience. We are always there to help navigate our clients through the system. We also treat our clients like family because we are family! You should contact one of the attorneys at Fendon Law Firm to ensure you are properly represented. Please feel free to contact Fendon Law Firm for any questions about workers' compensation, Social Security disability, or employment law issues. We now have offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Prescott Valley.



[1] Butler v. Industrial Comm'n, 50 Ariz. 516, 73 P.2d 703 (1937).

[2] Cavness v. Industrial Comm'n, 74 Ariz. 27, 243 P.2d 459 (1952).

[3] Id.

[4] Johnson Stewart Mining Co. v. Industrial Comm'n, 133 Ariz. 424, 652 P.2d 163 (Ct. App. 1982).

[5] Lawrence v. Industrial Comm'n, 78 Ariz. 401, 281 P.2d 113 (1995).

Categories: Workers' Compensation