When Workplace Violence Occurs: Who Pays?


When it makes the news, most people never imagine that workplace violence could happen at their job. Unfortunately, almost anyone can be vulnerable to this issue, and it can really wreak havoc on the survivors. Often, an innocent worker ends up getting hurt or psychologically traumatized during the incident. Read on to find out whether or not hurt workers can count on workers compensation insurance to provide the benefits they need.

Employers Must Act to Prevent and Address Workplace Violence

If your employer has no policy to address this issue, then they are not doing their jobs. Workplace violence is far more common than many think and is far from a new phenomenon. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that thousands of employees come into contact with violent co-workers each year. OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with training to spot problems before they become violent incidents. This issue should be part of every safety training requirement for workers.

Common Injuries Are Covered

In most cases, incidents of workplace violence that result in injuries or trauma are covered by your employer's workers compensation plan. Not all workplace violence acts may be covered, however. An investigation as to the cause of the disgruntled co-worker's outburst should show that the hurt worker was an innocent party and that the attack was not personal. Take a look at some workplace violence issues that are covered.

  • During a robbery, a store clerk gets assaulted.
  • An emergency room doctor is attacked by a patient.
  • An usher at a concert is hurt when the patrons unexpectedly head for the exits in a panic.

Not All Workplace Violence is Covered

Simply firing a worker is not considered personal (unless you were also having an affair with the worker's wife). The deciding line between covered and not is that your personal relationship with the violent co-worker might have resulted in the attack happening almost anywhere, but it just happened to occur at your workplace. When that happens, workers compensation may decline to cover your claim. Take for example:

  • You are old friends with a co-worker who is jealous of you in every way and they arrive at work with a gun ready to end that rivalry once and for all.
  • You and another co-worker are having an affair and you have tried to break it off, resulting in anger and violence.
  • The spouse of a co-worker resents your interference in their marriage and relationship and targets you with violence.

Workplace violence not only throws your work life into chaos, but it can personally affect you in many ways. If you are experiencing problems getting your claim approved, speak to a workers compensation lawyer at once.

For more information, contact companies such as Herb  Santos Law Firm.

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