A workplace should be the pinnacle of safety, but because accidents happen and worker’s compensation exists, we know that is not always the case. However, of all the things that do not belong in the workplace, violence is primary among them. Managers should be trained to spot a potentially violent employee and employees should be able to recognize when a situation becomes unsafe. Yet, despite all this, if violence does break out in the workplace for one reason or another, will those injuries suffered by the victim be covered?
Unlike other situations that result in injury, the answer to this particular question is not quite as clear-cut. In Minnesota, often the answer depends on the situation that resulted in the violent outburst. As such, violence in the workplace is separated into three categories:
- The violent outburst was work-related. For example, a cashier refused to sell alcohol to a customer because they did not have ID. If the customer became violent towards the cashier, this is a work-related act of violence. Injuries as a result of this conflict will be covered by worker’s compensation.
- The violent outburst was personal. If you were, for example, working in the warehouse and another employee assaulted you because you had flirted with their spouse at a bar the other night, this would be a personally motivated assault. In most cases, this will not be covered by worker’s compensation. However, you may be able to press criminal or civil charges.
- The violent outburst was motivated by unknown circumstances. In some cases, you might not always know why violence breaks out. It could be due to both personal and work-related factors or it could be an act of random criminal violence. In these cases, depending on the unique factors, worker’s compensation will usually cover your injuries. However, if the assault seems to be more personal than anything else, you may find your claim denied.
Unfortunately, most cases of violence in the workplace fall into the third circumstance where the cause of the violent outburst was widely unknown. Often when violence happens at work, it is a number of factors pressing down on the aggressor, including both work-related and personal reasons why they want to hurt you. As this is the most likely situation for violence to happen, it means you aren’t always covered by worker’s compensation. The insurance company will closely examine the unique factors of the case. In some cases, it may be very easy to say that this was a personal assault and simply deny your claim.
However, what victims of violence in the workplace need to remember is that a denial of your worker’s compensation claim is never the end. The insurance company may deny your claim not so much for a valid reason, but because they think they can convince you that it was a valid reason and you would drop the matter. However, with the help of a skilled worker’s compensation attorney, they can help you pursue the coverage that you need after a workplace assault. If you tried to file worker’s compensation for a violent incident in the workplace and found your claim denied, don’t accept it. A denial just means it is time to talk to a lawyer who can tell you if the denial was valid or if they were just trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
If you have been hurt at work in Minnesota, through a violent incident or otherwise, contact us today to see what the Law Office of Joshua Borken can do for you. We are dedicated to making sure Minnesota’s injured workers get the compensation that they deserve.