Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation if You Were Injured by Workplace Violence in Florida?
You probably know that if you get injured in an on-the-job accident or develop a work-related illness, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance.
But what if you sustain injuries because of workplace violence? Will your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance cover injuries that occurred as a result of an assault, battery, sexual assault, or other types of violence at work?
Workplace violence is not uncommon in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, violence accounted for nearly 9% of all work-related deaths in 2015. Meanwhile, the National Safety Council estimated that about 17% of all occupational fatalities in 2016 were caused by workplace violence.
Are Victims of Workplace Violence Entitled to Workers’ Compensation in Florida?
Typically, a victim of workplace violence is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the injured worker must be able to prove that the attack occurred at work in the scope of their employment. Otherwise, an employee who was assaulted at work by a coworker, customer, or a third party may not qualify for benefits.
In most cases, an injured worker is barred from receiving workers’ comp benefits if they were responsible for inciting violence or provoked the attacker to assault them. Under the Florida Statutes Section 440.185, a worker can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they were injured or killed by a third party at work.
However, the injured worker must be able to demonstrate evidence that the incident occurred while they were performing their work-related duties. A worker who was hurt by a third party in the course of employment may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the attacker.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Attacker
If you have become a victim of workplace violence in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, you might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the attacker. The personal injury lawsuit can be filed in addition to your workers’ comp claim.
In Florida, an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance covers an employee’s lost wages and medical expenses. A personal injury suit, meanwhile, can help you obtain compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and many other damages. It is best to consult with a Tampa personal injury attorney to help you recover damages if you were injured by workplace violence while performing your job duties.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim for Injuries Caused by Workplace Violence
If you were assaulted at work or became a victim of workplace violence, it is crucial to seek medical attention right away. You must also notify your employer or supervisor of the incident.
After receiving medical care, you need to notify your employer of your workplace injury in writing. The notice must be submitted within 30 days of the workplace violence incident. Then, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.
If your employer failed to report your injury caused by workplace violence to their workers’ comp insurance company, you could notify the insurer yourself. Even if your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you may file a separate personal injury claim against the attacker to maximize your compensation for the injury.