When most of us think of workers’ compensation claims, we usually think of someone slipping at their jobsite or something falling on their head. Depending on what caused the accident, the employer is generally found responsible because of negligence on their part and the worker is compensated for their pain and suffering. Sometimes, though, the accident actually happens because of another’s criminal behavior. If you get assaulted at work by another (whether an employee or someone else), you may be wondering if you still have rights to workers compensation.
First and foremost, you can file criminal charges against the assailant. Just because you work together and may have a workers’ compensation claim to file doesn’t mean that the perpetrator can’t be brought into civil court (obviously, if it was a customer, this still applies). You can file a personal injury lawsuit against them, as well. While the state will handle the criminal charges against them, you can receive damages they owe from bringing a civil suit against them.
Suing Your Employer
That being said, your employer could be liable as well. Just because your boss wasn’t the one assaulting you doesn’t mean that they don’t owe you money for your injuries. The employer could still be found responsible for any number of reasons.
You Were Alone During the Attack
If you work by yourself, you may be especially vulnerable to an attacker. People who work late nights at gas stations, for example, sometimes become victims because there is no one around to help them when the assault happens.
Sometimes, employees don’t work alone but they are understaffed. This can also leave them extremely vulnerable during certain times in their shift. Security guards, prison guards and those who work in hospitals often find themselves in this type of situation.
The Person Had a History
Most employers run background checks on potential employees before they’re ever hired. Obviously, one of the things they look for is a history of legal problems. Usually, one instance is enough to have employers look elsewhere. However, if they end up hiring them, then the company also needs to make sure that the employee won’t be putting others at risk.
If you end up getting hurt by an employee whom your employer knew was a risk, you could definitely file suit. If your employer runs a home for the elderly, knew that one of the residents had a history of violence, and didn’t take measures to protect you from harm, again, you could sue.
Another scenario would be if you were working at a business that was constantly getting robbed, or frequented by criminals who caused problems. Once more, gas stations are a good example. Bars and small diners can be too. In any case, you could have a workers’ compensation suit on your hands if it seems like it was only a matter of time before something bad finally happened.
Employers are expected to provide their staff with a workplace that won’t put them at risk of harm. While assault is a rare reason for workers’ compensation claims, it’s good to know that you can be compensated if something occurs.