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How does workplace violence affect workers’ comp eligibility?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

When you think of workplace injuries, you might think of a construction worker who falls off scaffolding. The injuries that workers suffer on the job are often accidental or the result of long-term damage to their bodies caused by performing repetitive job tasks.

However, there are other kinds of injuries that happen on the job, including violence-related injuries. An individual could face violence from customers or clients as well as from co-workers.

How does a violence-related injury sustained on the job or a violence-related fatality affect workers’ compensation?

Violence on the job is a known safety issue

Workplace violence can occur anywhere. Even the calmest environment can become volatile during extreme conflict between co-workers or an attempted robbery by a customer.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the riskiest jobs for workplace violence include:

  • Customer service
  • Handling money in a public-facing role, like teller or cashier
  • Public service work
  • Delivery work
  • Hospital work

Those hurt and traumatized by violence in the workplace may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. They can receive medical coverage for their treatments and their lost wages if they need time off to recover. Surviving family members of someone killed by workplace violence may qualify for death benefits, which could include the coverage of medical care costs, some funeral expenses and lost wages.

Are employers liable for workplace violence?

The no-fault rules that govern workers’ compensation insurance generally mean that injured workers and the family members of deceased workers cannot take matters to civil court. They can claim benefits, but they typically cannot sue.

However, if there is reason to believe that there was gross negligence or criminal activity on the part of the employer that directly played a role in a tragic workplace incident, then the company may have liability. There may be third parties with liability as well.

To understand the benefits available through workers’ compensation, contact an attorney who is experienced in workers’ comp law.