Unfortunately, workplace violence is a serious public safety problem in our country. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that occupational violence 21,000 injuries and 450 fatalities each year. Violence in the workplace can occur in a wide range of different circumstances. It may be committed by intruders, customers, co-workers, or even managers.
You may be wondering: Is an injury caused by workplace violence covered by workers’ compensation in California? The answer is ‘yes’—it can be covered, though there are some important caveats. Here, our Fresno workers’ comp lawyer provides an overview of workplace violence and workers’ compensation claims in California.
California Law: Standard Workers’ Comp Rules Apply to Workplace Violence Claims
In California, workers’ compensation insurance provides no-fault coverage to employees. You can file for workers’ comp benefits regardless of whether or not your employer caused or contributed to your accident. This is also true in regards to third party criminal attacks and other acts of workplace violence. To bring a workers’ comp claim for occupational violence, you must prove that:
- You Were “At Work” When the Violence Happened: Workers’ comp insurance only covers workplace injuries. While you do not necessarily need to be on your employer’s premises when an incident occurs to bring a claim, you must be “working.” In effect, this means that you cannot file a workers’ comp claim for violence that occurs off work hours and in a personal incident. For example, if a co-worker physically assaults you after work, you are likely not covered by workers’ comp.
Notably, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has official guidelines for workplace security in place. Employers have a general responsibility to comply with these regulations to ensure that they are providing a fair and safe work environment for their workers.
Violence by a Owner or Manager Could Justify a Serious and Willful Misconduct Claims
If you were injured in a violent attack initiated by a business owner or manager, you may be eligible to recover additional financial compensation through a serious and willful misconduct claim. Under California Labor Code § 4553, employees who were harmed after an employer engaged in serious and intentional/extremely reckless misconduct have the right to pursue additional financial damages, beyond standard workers’ compensation benefits. California courts have ruled that a physical assault by a business owner/ranking management employee could justify a serious and willful misconduct claim.
Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Help With Your Case Joseph C. Yrulegui is a top-rated California workers’ compensation lawyer. If you have any questions about workplace violence and workers’ comp claims, we are here to help. Injured workers need full and fair financial support after sustained harm due to an assault in the workplace. Contact us right away for a fully confidential review and assessment of your case. We handle workers’ compensation claims throughout Fresno County, including in Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Selma, and Kingsburg.