An employee who sustains injuries on the job has the comfort of knowing they will receive workers’ compensation benefits to cover the medical expenses and loss of income. The commonly covered injuries are usually consequences of accidents that occur in the workplace. Injuries caused by workplace violence are not accidental; they are deliberate and can even be more detrimental to the employee.
In California, assaults and violent acts became the primary cause of occupational deaths in 1993. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that approximately two million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. It is still a growing concern for employees and their employers. Workplace violence can happen anywhere and anytime. It can happen to anyone on the job.
Does my workers’ compensation cover workplace violence?
The OSHA describes workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.” As a victim of workplace violence, you may suffer mental and physical damages for which you can recover compensation.
Your employer has a duty to maintain a safe and hazard-free work environment. Your workers’ compensation should reflect that obligation. Victims of workplace violence can be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if the violence is related to their work or work duties. However, it may not cover damages if you were responsible for the violence in any way. That means you should not have provoked or threatened the aggressor.
Do you think you have a workers’ compensation claim?
If another employee intentionally acted violently toward you and you suffered damages, you have a right to make a claim. You must report the incident to your employer immediately and get the medical attention you need. Do not wait to file a claim. Remember, time is money, and the longer you take, the harder it might be to receive your benefits.