Can I get reimbursed for travel expenses in my workers’ comp case?

Question:

I hurt my back at work earlier this year and have spent weeks shuttling back and forth between doctors’ appointments and other treatment. Gas is expensive, and I’ve racked up quite a few miles. Can I get reimbursed for this through workers’ comp?

Answer:

Nearly all states’ workers’ compensation programs provide for some type of mileage reimbursement. In some states, such as California, injured workers can get reimbursed for any miles driven to and from a doctor’s appointment or other reasonably necessary treatment for their injuries. However, in other states, the travel must be of a certain length in order to qualify for reimbursement. For example, in North Carolina, reimbursement is available only if the travel was more than 20 miles roundtrip. Or, in Texas, reimbursement is available only if the trip was more than 30 miles one-way.

The rate for mileage reimbursement also varies from state to state. Many states adopt the IRS’s mileage rate, which is 57.5 cents per mile for 2015. Other states set their own mileage rates, which can often be found on the state’s workers’ compensation agency website (select your state from the list of agencies).

To seek reimbursement, you should keep a mileage log, noting the miles that you drive during each trip to your doctor, therapist, or other treatment approved through workers’ comp. Many states’ workers’ comp agencies have standard mileage reimbursement forms that can be used for this purpose. You should submit your mileage reimbursement form, along with receipts, to the insurance company on a regular basis.

You should also keep track of other travel-related expenses, including costs for public transportation, parking, and bridge tolls. In some states, you can get reimbursed for these expenses as well.  

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