Workplace violence victims may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If the violence occurs while an employee is at their job, they may have a viable workers’ compensation claim. So, they could receive repayment for medical bills and lost wages.
On the other hand, if the violence is related to something that occurred outside the workplace, it may not be reimbursable under Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws. However, you can pursue a legal claim against a third-party to get compensation for your injuries.
Examples of Workplace Violence That Could Entitle You to Compensation
A typical example of workplace violence is a physical altercation between two or more employees. This might be based on an argument about a work-related issue, or it could be something personal. Depending on the circumstances of the event, workers’ compensation may or may not cover a victim’s injuries. Many of these cases are not clear-cut and need to be legally examined to determine liability and damages.
A personal injury attorney can help you determine your grounds for an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation denies you benefits, you could seek restitution from the individual who assaulted you or other liable parties.
Other examples of workplace violence include the following:
- Customer on employee violence, such as if a customer has a verbal altercation with an employee that escalates to assault
- Domestic violence, such as a significant other/spouse entering the workplace and being physically abusive to their partner
- Criminal activity, such as a person committing a robbery
- Disgruntled worker scenarios, such as an aggrieved current/former employee coming to the workplace with a weapon or with intent to injure others
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When Is Work-Related Violence Covered? When Is it Not?
In some cases, liability regarding workplace violence is apparent. Still, it’s not as clear in many instances, and a legal professional should evaluate any potential claims for personal injury lawsuits. Next, we take a closer look at a few examples of workplace violence and discuss some factors at play:
Law Enforcement Claims
As an integral part of their job, law enforcement and corrections officers are often victims of workplace violence, which means workers’ compensation will probably cover any related injuries. In general, O.C.G.A. § 45-7-9 imposes support and protection for police officers injured while working, whether they are pursuing a perpetrator or merely working at their desk when an incident occurs.
Worker Conflict Claims
As noted, workplace violence often arises from co-worker conflicts. Workers’ compensation might cover injuries if the altercation was work-related, such as if one employee assaulted another over their job performance.
However, if the issue was personal or a worker was actively engaging in a physical altercation with another employee, workers’ compensation might not cover injuries. Furthermore, if a person provokes another employee and a fight ensues, the instigator may not be eligible. Examples:
- Likely covered: Your co-worker assaults you at work because they believe you used the printer and purposefully neglected to refill the empty paper tray.
- Likely not covered: Your co-worker assaults you at work because you failed to acknowledge them when you saw them off-duty on the street.
If you work with a customer who becomes incensed and attacks you, your injuries might be covered if the conflict was work-related. Examples:
- Likely Covered: A customer is enraged because their credit card was declined, they push you into a shelving unit, it collapses, and you incur injuries.
- Likely Not Covered: A customer is enraged because you turned them down for a date, they push you into a shelving unit, it collapses, and you incur injuries.
Criminal Actions at Work
If you are an injured victim of a work-related violent crime, such as a robbery or assault by a disgruntled worker, you might be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, you may be able to sue your company or employer if you believe they’re liable for gross negligence under O.C.G.A. § 51-1-4 due to lax security or other problems that enabled the crime.
Domestic Violence in the Workplace
Workers’ compensation may not cover domestic violence when it occurs on the job. However, domestic violence victims can look to the criminal justice system and contact law enforcement for help. Likewise, the same is true for any innocent on-duty violence victims, regardless of whether workers’ compensation covers their injuries. They can also retain legal counsel and seek personal injury claims against liable parties.
Getting Injured at Work Is an Urgent Matter
Regardless of how you were hurt on the job, you must report it to your supervisor and get medical care immediately. Taking prompt action can reinforce your claim and demonstrate the gravity of your injuries.
Waiting to act will delay the workers’ compensation process and benefits payments if you are eligible. Also, note that Georgia’s statute of limitations to file a personal injury is two years under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33.
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Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been the victim of workplace violence, you could recover injury-related losses by applying for workers’ compensation or pursuing legal action against the perpetrator or other liable party.
Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation and let Bader Scott Injury Lawyers begin working toward getting you fair compensation and the justice you need. Our team can answer your questions.