Workers’ compensation covers medical bills, pays lost wages, and provides other benefits for covered employees who are hurt on the job. Usually, injuries are caused by accidents or safety breaches, but what if you’ve been hurt due to workplace violence? Are you still eligible for benefits?
The short answer is yes—if the violence is work-related and occurs while you’re working, you may have a viable workers’ comp claim. This means you could receive compensation for the costs associated with your injuries.
Workers Most at Risk for Workplace Violence
While violent altercations can happen in any work environment, certain jobs have a higher chance of this happening. In general, people who work alone, have late-night shifts, interact with upset customers, or monitor high-crime areas are most at risk for workplace violence, including:
- Law enforcement and corrections officers
- Healthcare workers
- Taxi or rideshare drivers
- Delivery drivers
- Public service or utility workers
- Customer service representatives
- Gas station employees
Violence in the Workplace May or May Not be Covered
Because the liability in some workplace violence cases isn’t always clear, it’s wise to consult a workers’ compensation attorney before filing a claim. Here are some examples of workplace violence and the factors that determine workers’ comp eligibility:
- Worker conflicts: A typical scenario involves a physical altercation between two or more employees. If the incident is work-related, workers’ compensation will likely cover it. However, if the issue is personal, you might not be eligible for coverage.
- Customer-on-employee violence: If interactions with a disgruntled customer or former employee turn violent, your injuries may be covered. However, the cause must be directly related to work.
- Law enforcement injuries: The very nature of police work puts you at risk of violence. As a result, workers’ compensation usually covers job-related injuries for this vocation, whether they occur while pursuing a perpetrator or working at a desk.
- Criminal activity in the workplace: If you are injured during a break-in or robbery, you are almost certainly eligible for workers’ compensation. You may even be able to sue your employer if you believe neglectfulness, such as lax security, enabled the criminal activity that led to your injury. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you build your case.
- Domestic violence at work: If your spouse or significant other enters the workplace and physically abuses you, workers’ compensation probably won’t cover your injuries. Just as personal altercations between two employees or an employee and a customer aren’t covered, neither are domestic violence cases at work. You may need to file a different kind of lawsuit, such as a personal injury claim, to hold your abusive partner liable.
Have you been injured by workplace violence? Call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC. We have over 70 years of experience as a workers’ compensation lawyer in New Jersey, so we’re happy to review your case and determine your eligibility. Call us at 862-263-0770 or contact us online to schedule your free, one-hour consultation. A Spanish translator is available upon request.