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Journey claims: Injured travelling to and from, and for, work

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Please note that this post was written for Queensland audiences and the information within may not apply to other regions.

Not all work-related injuries happen at your main place of work. Often times workers are also injured on the way to, or from, or even while travelling for work. But can you claim compensation if injured while travelling to and from work?

Referred to as a “journey claim”, if you suffer an injury while travelling for work, and sometimes even during the commute to and from work, you may be able to claim statutory WorkCover benefits.

Legislation that governs the eligibility of a journey claim differs from state to state – what you may have heard in one state might not be the same for the other.

For example, in some states like VIC and NSW, most workers are only eligible for journey claims if the injury came about because of employment or a work-related trip.

Fortunately, in QLD, you may also be able to claim if injured while travelling to and from work in most cases.

What is a journey claim?

Generally, a journey claim refers to trips (whether by car, bicycle, or foot) between:

  • Your home and your place of work
  • Your workplace and any other place you’re required to be for work
  • Two places of employment (i.e., one your first job to your second)
  • Or while travelling for a work-related purpose (e.g., for training, conferences, different worksites or delivering goods)

WorkCover may also cover you travelling to and from medical appointments or rehabilitation treatment that’s related to an existing WorkCover claim.

However, it’s not as simple as it sounds and there are certain conditions you need to satisfy.

Can I claim workers’ compensation for a journey claim? When may I not qualify for a journey claim?

As touched on above, it is possible to claim statutory workers’ compensation if injured while travelling to and from, or for, work in a range of circumstances. And the good news is you don’t have to show anyone was at fault for the accident.

However, in order to be compensated under circumstances reflective of a journey claim, it’s a key provision that you can’t have made any major detours from your usual route, or any major delays.

This means if you leave work at the end of your shift but stop to do groceries on your way home, or head to pick up a marketplace buy, you may be out of luck.

Other circumstances where you may not be covered include if you were injured at home before you started your trip, or if you broke road rules such as if you were intoxicated or drove recklessly.

What is defined as a significant delay or deviation?

If you make a detour on your way to or from work that you wouldn’t normally make, your claim may be challenged by the insurer and rejected.

When determining whether or not the delay or deviation was significant enough to affect your eligibility, a court and/or insurer will look at:

  • The reason for the delay or deviation
  • How long the delay or deviation took
  • The distance between the normal route and the deviation

If the reason for the delay or deviation was connected to your employment or was caused by circumstances beyond your control, however, you may avoid it affecting your claim.

Can I claim worker’s compensation if injured while working interstate or overseas?

If you’re travelling outside of your usual work location, but it’s still for a work-related purpose, you have to show your job was a significant reason the injury occurred.

It doesn’t matter whether this was interstate or overseas, as long as you can prove it was for work, the WorkCover authority in your state will handle the claim.

What compensation entitlements can I get for a journey claim?

Just like any other workplace accident injury claim, most times you can claim statutory workers’ compensation which covers a portion of your wages while off work and medical expenses regardless of who was at fault.

But depending on the circumstances around the accident, you may also be able to make a common law claim for further compensation including pain and suffering.

In addition, if the accident happened as a result of a car or transport accident, you may also be able to claim on Queensland’s CTP scheme. However, your eligibility to claim on this scheme depends on who was at fault for the accident. In Queensland, you have to prove it was someone else’s fault.

It’s also important to note that this type of claim can be run simultaneously with a WorkCover claim.

Read more things you should know about WorkCover claims in Queensland and things to know about CTP claims in Queensland.