There are a variety of injury risks in the workplace, from heavy machinery to slippery floors and defective products. Workplace violence, such as fights between coworkers, also causes a significant number of injuries each year.
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is probably not the first thing victims of workplace violence think about. They may think they are ineligible because violence is unrelated to their work. However, sometimes victims of workplace violence are eligible for benefits. As each situation is unique, it is important to talk to a licensed lawyer.
The Harrisburg workers’ compensation attorneys at Schmidt Kramer have extensive knowledge of eligibility criteria for workers’ compensation benefits. We have helped many injured workers obtain benefits for medical treatment and lost wages.
Your initial consultation is free and there is no obligation, so there is no risk to you.
Are My Injuries Covered?
Generally, if you are at work and a coworker starts a fight about a work-related matter, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers are generally eligible if they were engaged in work-related activity when their injuries occurred. If you were on your lunch break in a break room at the worksite, and a fight broke out, you would likely be eligible for benefits.
If the fight was about something unrelated to your job, you may also be eligible. However, if you started the fight, it is unlikely you will be eligible for benefits.
What if a Customer or Someone Besides a Coworker Injures Me?
For example, what if a customer comes into your store and attacks you out of anger over one of your products or the service he or she received?
You may also have questions about something like an active shooter scenario, such as a scenario with a disgruntled former employee.
If you were doing your job at the time, and your injuries are directly related to the attacker’s actions, you are likely covered by Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation system.
As these situations are not as common as others that give rise to workers’ comp claims, it is important to talk to an experienced lawyer. You should not take your employer’s or its workers’ comp insurer’s word for it about your eligibility for benefits.
Risk Factors for Workplace Violence
While violence or fights could happen at any time, there are some situations where workers or customers are more likely to become angry and be violent. For example, an employee could lash out at other employees when he or she gets fired. Performance appraisals could also trigger employees. Working late or working long hours could also trigger anger and potentially violence.
There are many factors that could put workers at risk for violence, including:
- Interpersonal conflicts, whether they are over work-related matters or not
- Working with close friends
- Serving alcohol
- Working with prescription drugs
- Working with the public
- Working long hours
- Handling money
- Working in an isolated area, such as a storage closet
- Providing a service
- High-stress situations where workers are at risk of injury, such as when they are working with heavy machinery and are relying on each other for their safety
Occupations with a High Risk for Violence
While violence could happen to workers in many industries, some occupations have inherent risks, such as:
- Retail workers
- Servers, particularly at restaurants that serve alcohol
- Social services workers, particularly those who work in crisis counseling or crisis intervention
- Health care workers
- Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
- Taxi drivers
Avoiding Violence in the Workplace
While it is difficult to predict when violence may occur, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of being a victim.
For example, try to avoid heated arguments, whether they are about work-related matters or not. If you are having an issue with a co-worker, be careful how you address it. You may need to have a meeting with your supervisor, or a meeting between the three of you. Make sure to follow all safety procedures and protocols to help avoid accidents. If another worker thinks his or her injury is your fault, he or she may lash out.
Call Schmidt Kramer Today to Learn More
Have questions about your workers’ compensation claim?
Whether you have already applied for benefits or been denied, our experienced attorneys may be able to help you. It costs you nothing to meet with us to find out if you may be eligible for benefits. We are not paid for representing you unless you receive benefits.
Schmidt Kramer. We are here to help you. Phone: (717) 888-8888