For some workplace injuries, they happen to you and you alone. A piece of equipment malfunctions or you trip and fall, and suddenly you find yourself rushing off to the hospital with a worker’s compensation claim in your future. While even those cases can be less complicated, many workplace accidents don’t happen just because something happen to you. In some cases, our co-workers can be involved or even responsible for a workplace accident, but does that change the worker’s compensation claim procedure?
Will Worker’s Compensation Cover Co-Worker Caused Injuries?
When it comes to injuries at work, your company as well as any employees are protected from lawsuits by the worker’s compensation system. This means that if your co-workers actions caused you to get hurt, you can’t pursue a lawsuit against them and you will be covered by worker’s compensation. However, there are some activities that are not included in worker’s compensation coverage. This means if worker’s compensation doesn’t cover these sort of accidents, you can pursue other legal action. These activities include:
- Injuries that occurred on non-work time – If you were on work property, but not on the clock, worker’s compensation will not cover injuries that happen during these times. So if a co-worker trips you during a basketball game during your lunch break, worker’s compensation will not cover your injuries.
- Violent altercations – Being accosted by a co-worker at work for personal reasons is not covered by workers compensation.
- Horseplay – This is a big one. If you were goofing around with a co-worker and got hurt because of it, it will not be covered by worker’s compensation.
Alternatively, if you and your co-worker were doing your job and they didn’t do their job correctly or something malfunctioned and it resulted in your injury, that is still a valid reason to pursue worker’s compensation, even if the injury was another’s fault.
Will the Co-Worker Face Repercussions?
If you were injured by a co-worker, you may be concerned that because they caused your injury that they will face the repercussions of that. While employers can’t fire you because you are injured, can the same be said for your co-worker?
The truth is that if it was genuinely an accident, your co-worker will likely be fine. However, they can be fired for negligence in not doing their job properly. However, it is more likely they will be fired for injury-causing circumstances not covered by worker’s compensation. If your co-worker assaulted you or was involved in horseplay, then yes, their job may be in peril. However, while worker’s compensation doesn’t protect the non-injured workers involved in an accident, in most situations their jobs should be safe.
What to Do After the Accident?
If a co-worker has caused your injury at work, then the process of reporting is much like if you were injured on your own. This means that after you were hurt at work, in order to get compensation, make sure you do the following.
- Notify Your Employer – When an injury has occurred, notifying your employer should be your first step. They will make sure you get medical care and document the accident. Essentially you want them to know that an accident has occurred and it is their job to make sure you get help and that no others are hurt in the same way.
- Document Your Injuries – Make sure that if you are hurt in a significant manner, you document all injuries. If you have any pain, let your doctor know. You never know when that pain could manifest into something much worse later.
- File an Accident Report – An accident report is crucial if you want to file for worker’s compensation. It basically details everything about the incident – what happened, who was involved, and what injuries occurred. It’s essentially proof that everything happened.
Have you been hurt in the St. Paul area by a co-worker or otherwise as work? Those injuries that happened on the job deserve compensation. If you are beginning the worker’s compensation process, let us help you. Contact us today to see what the Law Office of Joshua Borken can do for you.