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

You can usually get reimbursed for mileage and other costs of getting to doctor's appointments and other medical treatment for your work-related injury or illness. But the rules vary from state to state.

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:

In nearly all states, the workers’ compensation programs provide for some type of mileage reimbursement for transportation to receive medical treatment for work-related injuries or illnesses. States typically also allow reimbursement for your travel to an independent medical examination. In some states, such as California, injured workers can get reimbursed for any miles driven to and from a doctor’s appointment, pharmacy, or other reasonably necessary treatment for their injuries. Other states, however, allow reimbursement for medical-related travel only if it's over a certain distance (for example, more than 20 miles round trip in North Carolina). And some states with distance minimums, like Texas (which only reimburses travel over 30 miles one way), may add a requirement that the medical treatment wasn't available closer to the employee's home.

The rate for mileage reimbursement also varies from state to state. Many states adopt the IRS’s mileage rate, which is 54.5 cents per mile for 2018. Other states set their own mileage rates.

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. The workers’ comp agencies in many states provide standard mileage reimbursement forms that can be used for this purpose. You can usually download these forms from the agency's website. (Find links to the agency in your state on this map tool.) 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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