When most Americans think about dangerous industries, they think about logging, construction work, commercial fishing, trucking, agriculture, fossil fuel mining and production, factory work, and a host of other industries that tend to be labor intensive. However, some of the most dangerous work that Americans undertake is interaction-based. Law enforcement officers, first responders, healthcare providers, and even teachers regularly grapple with the threat of violence in the workplace. These professionals are at risk of assault from those they interact with as a function of their jobs. With that said, virtually everyone who doesn’t work remotely risks violence in the workplace from customers, co-workers, and others they come into contact with over the course of an average workday. It’s important to understand that as long as an assault occurs while an individual is engaged in work-related activities or is on their jobsite, chances are high that they have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim related to the harm they have suffered.
Attacking vs. Being Attacked – The Bottom Line
The primary exception to the “workers’ compensation is available for assault-related injuries incurred during work” rule involves workers who instigate an attack. If you are attacked by a coworker, you should have no trouble filing a workers’ compensation claim – provided that you are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage. However, if you initiate an attack on a coworker, you won’t be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits as a result of the injuries sustained in the attack you initiated.
What if You’re Ineligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you’re an independent contractor, you work for an employer who is exempt from workers’ compensation coverage mandates, or you are otherwise ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may be able to hold your attacker accountable through a personal injury claim. Please don’t think that because you’re not able to file a workers’ compensation claim that you don’t have opportunities for justice and compensation available to you.
Both employees eligible for workers’ compensation benefits and those ineligible for workers’ compensation coverage may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit related to their assaults if a third-party somehow contributed to the situation. For example, say that you were assaulted while on the job as you entered a poorly lit apartment building that was both unlocked and unattended. You may be able to sue the property manager of that building for its negligent approach to security. Additionally, you may be eligible for crime victim compensation, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Legal Assistance Is Available
When it comes to workplace assaults, the details matter. Consider speaking with an experienced lawyer, like a workers’ compensation lawyer from The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, about your options. Once he or she learns the details surrounding the assault you have suffered, they will provide you with personalized legal guidance. At that point, you can be empowered to make an informed decision about your situation.