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Is violence in the workplace covered under workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

You have a right to expect a safe working environment, but there are a lot of factors that aren’t under control – especially when you have to interact with other people. The possibility of workplace violence is an ever-looming threat these days, no matter where you work.

Should you fall victim to an act of violence while you’re on the job, are you entitled to workers’ compensation benefits? The answer isn’t always straightforward.

It all depends on the motivation for the assault

In general, if you are attacked at work by a patient, client, customer or someone else who is angry with your service or your employer, that’s a work-related incident. That makes your injuries covered under workers’ comp. Similarly, if you are assaulted by a co-worker over a dispute that’s related to your job, that would also be considered a work-related injury.

However, if the motivation for the attack was wholly personal, your injuries will most likely not be covered. For example, if your ex-spouse shows up at your job and assaults you because of a custody dispute, that would not be considered work-related. 

Sometimes, of course, motivations can be mixed or unknown. You could, for example, be the victim of a random assault by someone who just doesn’t like your looks or is prejudiced against you because of your race. In those situations, workers’ comp should cover your injuries.

In many cases of workplace assaults, you may have the right to pursue both a workers’ comp claim through your employer and a personal injury claim against your assailant. Legal guidance can help you learn more.


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