Does a Workplace Fight Qualify For Workers’ Compensation?
Injuries in the workplace can stem from a plethora of circumstances. An employee may get hurt if they slip and fall, develop carpal tunnel from consistent typing, or hurt their back by lifting or moving something heavy. There’s one instance that may be overlooked: an assault or fight. This poses questions like: what do I do if I am assaulted while at work? Will I be eligible for worker’s compensation? The answer is yes, but that will be determined by the specific circumstances.
In most states within the U.S., an employee has to prove that their injury took place during and as a result of his or her job. However, there are certain circumstances in which the rules are a bit different. Specifically, when it comes to a physical confrontation, fight or attack, in many states, it is required that an injured employee prove two things: that they did not initiate the fight and that it was related to their work. Only if both of these determinations are made is the damage compensable.
Assaults That You Can Receive Compensation From
Offering instances where you may be entitled to compensation is offered below. Situations similar to the following could lead to you being eligible for worker’s comp.
– Mike accidentally slips and pours boiling water on his co-worker, who becomes infuriated and later strikes Mike on the head with an object that knocks him out.
– In this situation, Mike is working as a city street cleaner. He observes a guy sweeping dirt onto the public street, which is against a city law. After he advises the guy that his actions are illegal and then goes back to work, he is hit from behind.
– Mike finds himself staying the night at a hotel that his employer coordinated, as he works on a job out of town. At some point in the evening, rowdy neighbors are partying and being extremely loud outside of his room, so Mike asks them to move to another location so that he can rest. They retaliate by throwing a beer bottle at his head.
– Mike is working at a machine shop when his supervisor directs him to another area of the facility in order to acquire some machinery. When he asks an assistant for help, he declines and is mad, so he strikes him with a tool and kills him.
In all of these cases, Mike will likely be entitled to compensation for his injuries. In the last hypothetical situation, Mike’s widow has a valid claim to seek death benefits. In each of these situations, the fight stemmed from work-related actions. Furthermore, Mike did not throw the first punch. If he had been the individual who initiated the fight, his worker’s comp claims may have been dismissed.
Fights In Which Claims Would Be More Difficult to Establish
The actual location in which a fight took place is important in determining if it will be covered under worker’s compensation. For example, if there is a pair of co-workers who become involved in a heated argument at work, but at some point later get into a physical altercation outside of work, this would not be covered. Even if the initial tension began because of something related to work, it could be determined that the injury did not happen in the course of the employee’s job duties.
You May Need An Attorney To Represent You in a Workplace Assault Claim
There are many situations in which workplace disputes will or will not be covered under workers’ comp. If a situation arises where you are injured at work during a fight, you can hire an attorney to assist in arguing your case. During a consultation with work injury attorneys, you can explain your situation and they can help you determine whether or not it is worth pursuing as a workers’ compensation claim.