In State v. Okafor, a police officer driving to work in uniform was in a car accident. His patrol car had been having engine trouble, so he took it to a repair facility for patrol cars, and he was driving his own car at the time of the accident. His car was clipped, resulting in him losing control of the car and hitting a tree. He suffered personal injuries and pursued a workers’ compensation benefits claim.
The police officer’s employer, the State, brought an action for judicial review in the Circuit Court and filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied. The State argued that his claim was barred by the going and coming rule. Under this rule, you cannot recover workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained while going to or coming from work. There are certain exceptions however, including a special errand exception and an exception when an employer requires an employee to use his own car for work.
The police officer explained that when he dropped off the car for repair, there weren’t other patrol cars he could use, which was why he was driving his own car at the time of the accident. When driving his own car, he can arrest someone he sees committing a felony and help if he passes an accident. However, he can’t write tickets or chase vehicles or make a traffic stop.