Dangerous Workplaces: Compensation for Victims of Violence at Work

May 15, 2015

You go to work every day to your job. You never expect that today might be the day you become a victim of workplace violence. Occupational violence is an unfortunate issue that everyone might be forced to confront because it is so random in nature.

How common is workplace violence?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 14,770 workplace homicide victims between 1992 and 2012, and more than 154,460 nonfatal occupational injuries involving workplace violence between 2003 and 2012. Between 2003 and 2012 over half of the incidents of workplace violence that included homicide occurred within sales and related occupations, protective services, and transportation and material moving occupations.

Who is responsible for workplace violence?

The employee who attacked his or her coworkers is ultimately responsible for that behavior, and the attacked can be held responsible for the injuries and damage inflicted on his or her colleagues and workplace. If the owner knows that an employee might be a danger to themselves and others after a confrontation or other adverse situation, and they did not take proper measures to ensure the safety of the other employees they could be found to have partial legal responsibility for the injuries that result from an attack by the disgruntled employee.

Taking criminal action against the aggressor

If you have been assaulted in the workplace you can file a criminal complaint against the attacker. Get a copy of the police report as you will need it as evidence for future legal actions.

The state of Pennsylvania has a Victim Compensation Assistance Program that reimburses eligible victims for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Counseling
  • Loss of earnings
  • Loss of support
  • Funeral costs
  • Travel costs
  • Child care
  • Stolen cash
  • Relocation
  • Crime scene cleanup
  • Other costs

The VCAP can help reimburse insurance copayments, out-of-network medical and other expenses. There are limits to how much the VCAP, as the payor of last resort, can pay to individual victims.

Workers’ compensation benefits for victims of violence at work

Whether the violent incident was an assault where victims received cuts, bruises and broken bones or an assault with a deadly weapon that resulted in gunshot wounds employees who get injured at work have the right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation will pay medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury, and two-thirds of lost wages during medical treatment and time spent in recovery.

If you have been involved in a violent incident at work you are probably scared and confused. After you have received medical attention you might want to schedule a consultation with a Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney who will discuss your case and give you advice about your case.

If you sustained an on-the-job injury and feel that you were retaliated against for filing a workers’ compensation claim in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery or Philadelphia Counties, contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney at Larry Pitt & Associates to discuss your legal options.