Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Injuries Because of Workplace Violence
When we’ve discussed getting workers’ compensation for workplace accidents, we tend to think of just the word “accident.” But what if you’re injured at work because of something other than an accident—specifically, what if you are injured as a result of violence in the workplace? An assault, a battery, or some kind of criminal activity that causes you injury?
Violent vs. Non-Violent Injury Claims
The good news is that you can get workers’ compensation for intentional, violent acts that cause you injury while you are on the job. The bad news is that unlike a traditional workers’ compensation claim, with a claim involving violence, it may be a little harder to show that the injury or accident arose out of the course and scope of your job duties.
Normally, workers’ compensation requires no proof of fault; as long as the worker is injured on the job and generally as a result of job related activities, workers’ compensation will pay.
With workplace violence, the problem arises in trying to prove that the violence arose from, or was a consequence of, the workers’ job or job duties. After all, with very limited exceptions (such as law enforcement), there is almost no job duty that carries with it the risk of being criminally assaulted.
Benefits for Violence at Work
But that doesn’t mean that you have to be a police officer or prison guard to get workers’ compensation for violence on the job.
For example, someone who works at a grocery store and is assaulted by a customer, can get workers’ compensation. Someone who works with domestic violence victims, and gets attacked by an abuser, could get workers’ compensation. A schoolteacher assaulted by a student in school could also get benefits.
Put another way, the question isn’t whether being assaulted is part of the job. It doesn’t have to be. The only question is whether the violent act arose from the nature of the work.
People in professions that work with members of the public who may have mental illness, addiction, or who work in high-crime areas, or who deliver or install goods in people’s homes, or who handle or exchange money with the general public could get workers’ compensation if they are victims of violence in the workplace.
When Violence is Not Covered
One area where workplace violence may not be covered is if you, the worker, are responsible for the violence. In this way, the workers’ compensation system kind of evaluates the behavior of the worker, which is unique in workers’ compensation cases.
For example, if you instigated a fight at work, and ended up attacked by a customer or co-worker, your employer could say that the accident did not arise from your work. If you broke basic workplace safety or security rules and ended up a victim, you could be denied as well. Additionally, if you were drinking or under the influence of drugs, and ended up in a violent incident, your claim could be denied.
The Tampa workers’ compensation attorneys at Barbas, Nuñez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian can help you if you are the victim of violence at work. Call us today to discuss obtaining workers’ compensation after any accident at work. Schedule a consultation today.