According to OSHA, over two million people report being victims of workplace violence each year.
Workplace violence is defined as acts, threats of harassment, physical violence, intimidation or other disruptive or threatening behavior that occurs in a work environment.
If a worker is injured while they are in the workplace, then they might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This is true for workplace violence as well. Regardless of who perpetrates the violence against the worker, if the violence happens in the workplace while the worker is engaged in work-related duties, then their injuries are generally covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
Statistics indicate that homicide is the leading reason for fatal occupational injuries in America. According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, over 5,000 fatal workplaces injuries occurred in 2016. The number of general injuries is even higher. In 2015, 416 of the fatalities were due to homicide.
What Are the Risk Factors for Workplace Violence?
Some occupations come with a higher risk for workplace violence. Positions that carry a greater risk are those occupations where a worker:
- Is responsible for money
- Works with dangerous or unstable groups
- Works in isolation
- Provides a service
- Works where alcohol is dispensed
- Works at more dangerous times or in areas that have a high crime rate
What Happens If You Are the Victim of Workplace Violence?
If you are the victim of violence in the workplace, then you are generally entitled to receive compensation in the form of having your medical costs covered and your lost wages reimbursed. If you claim workers’ compensation, then you are typically not eligible to recover money for non economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Can You Sue the Person Who Hurt You?
Even if you collect workers’ compensation, you are still entitled to sue the person who hurt you by initiating a civil suit. Suing someone generally does not negate your eligibility to collect workers’ compensation. If you sue in a court of law and win against the person who hurt you, you may then be entitled to recover non economic damages.
If you are injured at work due to poor safety controls caused by negligence on your employer’s part, then you might have a case for personal injury. If the acts of your employer were negligent and egregious enough, that negligence might create an opportunity for litigation.