When You Suffer Injuries from an Assault at Work
When you think of workers’ compensation benefits, you most likely think of accident claims. However, in your case, you suffered injuries from an assault at work. As far as you’re concerned, there was nothing accidental about it. Does this mean you have to look elsewhere for payment of your medical bills? What about temporary disability benefits when the doctor orders you out of work to heal from your injuries?
The bottom line is that it depends. For example, consider this scenario. You are a security guard at a local store in downtown Elizabeth. As you notice someone slipping some merchandise into their bag, you approach them. What happens next takes you entirely by surprise. In order to escape apprehension, the thief slams a heavy item on your head. You are knocked unconscious.
In the preceding example, you would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. According to NJSA 34:15-7, personal injuries or death “arising out of and in the course of employment” are considered the necessary standard to determine the affordability of workers compensation benefits. Clearly, your injuries are work-related.
Truth be told, the extent of your injuries may also mean that you are entitled to a permanent disability award. For example, a traumatic brain injury is a serious one.
Workplace Assault Claims
Meanwhile, let’s consider another example. It could be that you work as a truck driver for Wakefern Food or any of the other trucking concerns on Division Street. You are beyond livid when you see the dispatcher has changed your route. As a result, you go into the office and start picking a fight.
At one point, the argument gets so bad, that you can’t control yourself. Even though you threw the first punch, you wind up with severe injuries yourself. In fact, your rotator cuff is torn. You will want to meet with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to determine if you have a claim. There is no question that the subject matter you argued about is incidental to your employment. However, the insurance company may deny benefits based on your actions.
Keep in mind that in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there must be proof that the assault was somehow work-related. Not sure how anything that happens at work cannot be incidental to employment? Consider the following example.
You are a waitress in one of the local restaurants. To your surprise, one of your co-workers comes in and starts screaming at you. Someone informed her that you are having an affair with her husband. Even though you suffer severe injuries, you will most likely be denied workers’ compensation benefits. After all, the fight and assault had nothing to do with your employment.
To determine if injuries arising out of an assault at work are compensable, your attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your claim. You should be prepared to explain how the assault happened and if an argument led to it.
If you suffered injuries from an assault at work, the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo can offer you experienced legal advice. These types of claims can be challenging. Contact our office for a complimentary consultation.