When Workplace Violence Happens to You, Who Pays?

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Unfortunately, the unthinkable can happen at almost any time. If violence has erupted at your workplace, you might be simultaneously dealing with many issues. If you were hurt as a result of workplace violence, your employer and their workers' compensation insurer might be responsible for paying you certain benefits. Read on and find out more about what to expect.

Injuries: Both Physical and Mental

Traumatic, unexpected, and shocking events can impair both the physical and mental abilities of a worker. Being hurt physically is bad enough, but you may also be so traumatized that you fear ever returning to your place of work. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very common after traumatic events, and this mental condition is recognized as a covered mental disability when it comes to workers' comp coverage. Be sure you pay attention to both your physical and mental status after an encounter with workplace violence. Along with keeping up with your medical treatment records, using a personal journal as you recover is both helpful to you therapeutically and with your workers' comp case.

The Employer Bears the Responsibility

You can lay the blame for workplace violence at the feet of the offender, but your employer bears some responsibility as well. Workers' compensation insurance coverage came about as an alternative to workers taking personal injury actions against their employers when accidents, illnesses, and injuries occurred. That placed the burden on employers to train workers on safe work practices. When a worker loses control and injures other workers, the employer bears the burden of making sure that workers are covered with certain benefits. Those benefits usually include medical care, a partial disability wage, and lump-sum payments.

Exceptions to Workers' Comp Coverage

The circumstances of the violent act matter, however. Not all workplace shootings and stabbings are the results of an employee upset at being fired or overlooked for a promotion. In some cases, it's personal. Workers who have personal issues with other workers may strike out and create a violent situation. That can mean a loss of workers' comp coverage for those involved in work disputes that turn violent. The difference between personal issues and workplace issues is that a personal situation is one that happened to take place at the workplace but could have occurred almost anywhere.

What to Do

If you encounter problems with a workers' comp claim, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer right away. They understand the complexities of workplace violence injuries and the way they affect workers.

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