Are Workplace Violence Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses and a portion of wages lost when a worker suffers a work-related injury. However, there are often questions about whether an injury was related to a worker’s job, such as an injury that resulted from some form of violence.
You may have heard lawyers say every workers’ compensation case is unique, and that is particularly true if your case involves workplace violence. Your lawyer, employer, and workers’ compensation insurer will need to review the specifics of your injury and how it occurred to determine if you have a valid claim.
A workers’ compensation lawyer from Roden Law can review your situation in a free consultation. Our firm has a proven record of recovering fair compensation for injured workers.
Examples of Workplace Violence
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can take various forms, including physical altercations and criminal activities. Here are some common examples:
- Altercations between employees: Fights or arguments between coworkers, whether work-related or personal, can lead to workplace violence. Managers and supervisors are particularly vulnerable to this type of violence.
- Criminal activity: Incidents such as robbery or vandalism at the workplace can also be considered workplace violence.
- Customer vs. employee conflicts: When a disagreement between a customer and an employee escalates into a physical confrontation, it falls under workplace violence.
- Domestic violence: If an employee's spouse or partner brings domestic violence into the workplace, resulting in physical harm, it can be considered workplace violence.
- Active shooter incidents: In rare cases, disgruntled employees or outsiders may bring firearms into the workplace, leading to a potentially dangerous situation for everyone involved.
Is Violence Covered by Workers’ Comp?
To be eligible for workers' compensation benefits for workplace violence, the incident must be directly related to your employment. Personal disputes between coworkers or violence stemming from personal matters are typically not covered. If you provoked the altercation or started the fight, your eligibility for benefits may be affected.
When is Violence Work-Related?
Law enforcement officers are often victims of workplace violence, which means injuries that result from violence are likely covered by workers’ compensation.
If you are talking to a customer who becomes enraged and attacks you, and you were discussing something work-related, your injuries may be covered. For example, maybe the customer was unhappy about a product and you were trying to explain a store policy when you were attacked.
Another situation that may be covered is if you get into an argument with a coworker about a work task you are both trying to complete. Maybe you think it should be done one way because of what your supervisor told you and your coworker wants to do things a different way.
Domestic violence situations probably would not be covered by workers’ compensation. However, domestic violence victims can still turn to the criminal justice system and call the police.
In an active shooter scenario, you may have a valid claim, unless the shooter targeted you for personal reasons. However, it would need to be shown the shooter had a clear motive that was not related to your job.
No matter how you were injured, it is important to report it to your employer right away and obtain medical treatment. Taking quick action can help to strengthen your claim and show the severity of your situation. Waiting is also a bad idea because it will take longer to obtain benefits if they are awarded. Additionally, if your claim was denied, you may still have options.
Call Today to Schedule Your Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation
Our attorneys are here to help injured workers in their time of need. We understand you may have many questions about the legal process and are prepared to discuss your situation in a free legal consultation. Our attorneys take cases on contingency, which means no upfront fees. Our lawyers are not paid unless you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Employers and insurance companies often look for ways to deny claims, which is why it is important to have qualified legal representation.