Nobody goes into work expecting to be the victim of an assault — but it does happen from time to time.
There are actually a number of common ways that a deliberate assault, not an accident, can end up as part of a workers’ compensation claim. They include:
1. You were assaulted by a customer
This is, unfortunately, a problem that often occurs around the holiday season. Long lines, shortages of a “hot” holiday item and a temper may be all that it takes to cause someone to lose their control and take out their frustrations on the nearest hapless employee in a store.
If you happen to be that employee, you may have a right to sue the customer personally — but you should also be entitled to workers’ comp since the assault and injury happened on the job. That’s important to know because there’s no guarantee that your assailant has any assets to pay a civil judgment.
2. You are assaulted by one of your co-workers
Some people are blessed with great co-workers — but some aren’t. If you have a dispute with a fellow employee that turns hostile and you end up the victim of an assault, you will likely be covered under worker’s compensation.
It’s important to remember in such cases that workers’ comp is considered a “no-fault” system. You don’t have to prove that you were entirely innocent in the dispute in order to claim coverage — as long as you weren’t the physical aggressor. In other words, if you said something to provoke your co-worker, that shouldn’t bar your claim. It’s another story, however, if you threw the first blow in the fight.
If you’re the victim of an assault at work, make sure that you see a doctor promptly for your injuries. In addition, report the incident as quickly as possible to your supervisor or boss so that there’s no question that the assault happened at work. That’s the best way to ensure an effective workers’ comp claim.