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Workers' compensation and workplace assault

Most workplace injuries result from some sort of safety hazard causing an accident. However, in some instances, an injury is not from an accident at all, but from a physical altercation. Many employees are not clear on the scope of workers' compensation benefits and whether workers' compensation will cover injuries suffered because of physical assault.

In broad strokes, yes, workers' compensation does cover injuries resulting from assault, but not in all cases. Some instances of workplace violence may not qualify for workers' compensation benefits, depending on the nature of the assault and the victim's role in the altercation.

If you have some concerns about your own workplace assault claim, you can consult with an attorney who deals with workers' compensation claims. An attorney will guide you through the details of your own experience and help ensure that you understand the strengths of your claim and how to protect your rights as you pursue justice.

Was the assault work-related?

In order for workers' compensation to apply to an assault injury, the plaintiff must prove that the injury itself is work-related. This might mean that some coworker or outside party attacked the victim while he or she was performing one's job.

However, if the altercation arises from a purely personal disagreement, especially if the other party is not an employee, the claim may face some additional scrutiny.

Provided that the injury is somehow work-related, it is usually possible to file a successful claim under workers' compensation. If you face opposition to your claim, you may benefit from the representation of an attorney.

Exceptions to the rule

One factor that may disqualify a workers' compensation claim is if the victim instigated the conflict or initiated a physical altercation. If the employee seeking coverage is also the individual who escalated the conflict to violence, workers' compensation may refuse to cover the claim.

In some cases, however, it is not entirely clear who is at fault in an altercation. You may have to fight your employer or the insurer to get fair coverage for your claim.

It is important to note that in many other types of workplace accident claims, this sort of issue is not a factor. If an employee suffers an injury that is one's own fault while performing one's job, he or she still generally qualifies for workers' compensation coverage unless the individual intentionally brings harm on oneself to defraud the system.

However you choose to proceed, take time to build your case carefully, while remaining mindful of the time limits you have to properly file your claim.

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