That’s a question that too many workers are forced to ask. Many workers will never experience a violent incident while on the job, but danger of violence in the workplace should never be taken lightly. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor, close to 2 million workers are the victims of workplace violence every year—but many more cases aren’t even reported. The latest statistics (2014) show that nearly 16,000 workers were seriously injured in an assault that year, with 409 others killed.
While workplace violence is a terrible thing and we need to continue to minimize it, there’s a little bit of good news because many types of assault on the job are covered by workers compensation insurance. But when an assault is covered, it may also qualify for a claim outside the workers comp system.
There are many things that can lead to an assault on the job. Most people will immediately think of a robbery—a convenience store clerk or bank teller being threatened at gunpoint, for example. They might also recognize that in some situations, a coworker might lose his cool and strike a fellow employee.
But physical violence can spring from many sources. Domestic violence is high on the list: Relationship problems sometimes carry over into the workplace. In the medical profession, patients sometimes harm caregivers; similar risks exist for educators, especially at higher grade levels (and it’s not always a student, but sometimes a parent who causes harm). Delivery drivers can find themselves the victims of heists, hijackings, and petty theft. Even coaches, dealing with athletes much larger than themselves and operating under high stress, can be on the receiving end of violence.
Each specific case will be different, but each needs to be taken seriously. Any injury received in this way might be a reason for both a workers comp claim and a personal injury suit.
State law requires that all workers in Massachusetts have workers compensation insurance, provided by their employers. This insurance covers all injuries and illnesses suffered on the job, and that includes those caused by violence. If an employer does not have this coverage, they can be fined and the state can shut down their business; an employer can even wind up in jail for not meeting this requirement.
When you’ve been the victim of violence at work, there are additional considerations besides the normal workers compensation claims process. You should file a claim for the injury immediately, as you would with any other injury, and document the injury thoroughly with the help of a medical professional. You may need to file a police report, and there may be other considerations, as well.
The team at Joel H. Schwartz, PC has experience with the practice of workplace injury law, and we can help you make sure that all of this is done correctly to make sure that you have the best chance of getting the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-660-2270 or contact us online through the form below to learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.