Workers’ Compensation for Injuries from Violence in the Workplace

March 2, 2017

It seems as if workplace violence has become almost commonplace in our increasingly hostile world. Sometimes, the scenario is that a disgruntled employee will bring a weapon to work and seek revenge for a perceived injustice. Other times, the violence might come from a dispute that erupts between workers, or when an outside person comes in and injures of kills workers who are just innocent bystanders.

Whether the incident leading to your injury was due to an outside intruder or an angry coworker who brought a gun to work to seek revenge, if you were injured at work while you were in the process of doing your job, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system will cover you. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault program run by each individual state and governed by the laws of that state. There are general similarities among workers’ compensation systems, but each state has specific laws pertaining to their individual program.

In Pennsylvania, you will receive partial wage-loss benefits for the time you must lose at work while recovering from your workplace injury. You will also receive medical expenses for care related to the job-related injury.

Civil lawsuits for workplace violence

In a situation where the violent incident came about because of gross negligence on the part of the employer, and employee may be able to bring a lawsuit. Employers owe a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe environment for workers, and to take reasonable action to prevent workplace violence. For example, if an employer is planning to fire an employee who has a history of unstable behavior, if they are planning to fire several employees at once, or if there is an employee who is still on staff who has made threats of violence against coworkers or management, the employer must act to reasonably mitigate the risk of potential violence and protect the other workers from harm.

In order to bring a successful claim of gross negligence on the part of an employer, you must be able to provide compelling evidence that the employer was aware of the probability or threat of violence and still did nothing to prevent it from occurring.

An injured worker might file a civil suit against a coworker who committed the act of violence, although it might be difficult if not impossible to pay the judgement even if the lawsuit were successful.

If you have been injured in a violent incident at work that you believe could have been prevented by your employer, you are welcome to consult with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys today.

At Larry Pitt & Associates, our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys work hard to win the benefits required to protect their homes and families. If you sustained an injury or an occupational illness during your work, please call 888.PITT.LAW or contact us to schedule an appointment at any of our offices. We have offices conveniently located throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.