Most people have heard of workplace violence and hope it never happens in their workplace. Unfortunately, disgruntled and mentally-disturbed co-workers can wreak havoc in your workplace, and you might end up hurt as a result. Read on to find out whether or not you can seek benefits from your employer's workers compensation carrier and what might be covered.
Who Bears the Responsibility for Workplace Violence
While major outbreaks of workplace violence make the news, less publicized incidents against workers are more common than you might think. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), thousand of workers are exposed to workplace violence each year. Your employer must take steps to address this issue by training employees to recognize the signs of problems and identify threats to the workplace. Make no mistake about it, workplace violence is considered the responsibility of the employer and should be just as important as mandating the use of safety equipment and following safety rules.
What Workplace Violence Injuries are Covered?
As long as the workplace violence was centered on the workplace, your injuries are eligible for workers' comp coverage. You should understand, however, that the root cause of the conflict that prompted the violence is taken into consideration before coverage is authorized. If the violence is a result of a fired worker unhappy with their treatment, you will be covered. Here are more examples of covered incidents:
- A nurse in a hospital setting is assaulted by a patient.
- A bank teller is pistol-whipped in the commission of a robbery.
- A venue worker is injured after fireworks cause those attending a concert to panic.
Some workplace violence issues are not covered, however. If the issue at the heart of the incident is personal in nature and just happens to occur at work then you cannot expect workers' comp to cover it. The following workplace violence situations may not be covered:
- You witness a coworker being shot and killed by an estranged partner.
- You are sexually assaulted by an obsessed coworker.
- A factory worker attacks a supervisor believing that she is having an affair with her wife.
Physical and Emotional Injuries
Even if you were not physically injured by workplace violence, you may be eligible for mental health benefits. Emotional damage can result from seeing a workplace violence incident because the results can be devastating and surprising. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in some cases, and in other cases workers are unable to return to the workplace where the act occurred.
If your claim is approved, you can expect to be paid for your medical expenses and any needed mental health therapy. Additionally, you can remain home and be paid a disability wage. If you are having trouble getting the workers' compensation carrier to pay you the benefits you deserve, speak to workers' compensation attorney at once.