Can I File a Workers' Compensation Claim if I'm Assaulted by a Coworker?
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, nearly 2 million employees are the victims of workplace violence each year. Assaults can happen in the workplace, but they can also occur when the employee is at an off-premises job site, making a delivery, or performing other business-related activities. Because of the prevalence of workplace violence, assaulted workers may wonder if their injuries are covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Depending on the circumstances of an assault, the employee may take several actions:
- File a workers’ compensation claim
- File a third-party lawsuit against their employer
- File a criminal complaint
Workers’ Compensation Claims & Employee Assault
If an employee has been assaulted at work, they may be able to file a claim for workers’ compensation. There are certain conditions that must be met for a workers’ compensation claim to be appropriate.
These conditions are:
- The attack must occur while the employee is working.
- The motivation of the attack must be work-related.
- The attack must not be provoked or be initiated by the employee.
Attacks during work. Employees who have been attacked while they were at work may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee is assaulted while they are at work, at a remote job site, making a delivery, or running a business-related errand, the attack is considered to have occurred while the employee was engaged in their duties at work.
Attacks motivated by work. If an employee is attacked at work, but the motivation isn’t work related, they may not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. The employee may be assaulted by an acquaintance for personal reasons while they are working, but this does not constitute a work-related attack. If the employee is assaulted by a coworker due to reasons related to work-related reasons or disputes, the attack may be covered by workers' compensation.
Attacks initiated by the employee. An employee can only file a workers’ compensation claim if they were attacked through no fault of their own. If the employee purposely provoked the attack or was the initial physical aggressor, it is unlikely that they will be able to recover compensation.
What to Do if You Were Assaulted at Work
You should report your injuries and the attack to your employer. Be sure to submit your report in writing to your employer. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork to begin a workers’ compensation claim. You shouldn’t hesitate to inform your employer of your injury, as the window of opportunity to report an injury can be quite small.
If you are injured by an attack at work, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They can guide you through the process of filing your claim and gathering evidence that your assault meets the requirements of a workers’ compensation claim. Because you will need to demonstrate fault in claims involving assault, it is important to obtain copies of police reports, video recordings, or witness statements that can be used to demonstrate the liability of your attacker.
At The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, we are committed to fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families. Our award-winning team of Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers can guide you through the process of recovering the compensation you deserve. Contact our firm today by calling (770) 629-9321 for a free consultation.