When people think of workplace injuries, what comes to mind is likely something like a shoulder or back injury from lifting too much weight. Rarely would a person think that violence would be the cause of a workplace injury. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that nearly two million workers sustain injuries each year as victims of workplace violence. Atlanta workers who have been victims of workplace violence should contact a workers’ compensation attorney as these types of injuries have a number of legal complications.
Types of Workplace ViolenceAlthough violence can occur in any workplace, the type of violence a worker might be at risk for depends on the job and industry. Generally speaking, however, most instances of workplace violence fall into one of four categories:
- Violence Perpetrated with Criminal Intent – This type of violence happens when the injury is inflicted by a person who has no legitimate relationship with the business. For instance, a convenience store worker who is shot during a robbery would be a victim of this type of violence.
- Customer/Client – A fight between a bar bouncer and a drunk customer is an example of customer/client related work violence. This is when there is a legitimate relationship between the person committing the violent act and the business. Most instances of this type of injury occur in the health industry, specifically in psychiatric facilities or nursing homes. Other workers frequently affected include police officers, flight attendants, prison guards, and teachers.
- Worker-on-Worker Violence – Any workplace runs the risk of worker-on-worker violence, though those that do not run background checks would be at higher risk. In 2014, around 15 percent of workplace homicides were the result of worker-on-worker violence.
- Violence Related to Personal Relationships – A number of workplace violence incidents are a result of personal relationships workers have. Women are most often the victims of this type of violence and domestic violence is usually related.
Legal Reactions to Workplace ViolenceIf a worker is injured due to violence in the workplace, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there may be other legal actions that a worker could take because of liability issues. After an incident of workplace violence, a worker could take any or all of the following actions:
- File a Workers’ Compensation Claim – Because the injury occurred while in the workplace it could qualify for workers’ compensation. This would be particularly true for a health worker who is injured as a direct result of being a caregiver to a violent client.
- Make a Third-Party Claim Against the Employer – While most cases would simply involve Workers’ Compensation, certain instances would also allow a worker to file a third party claim against the employer for negligence as the employer has liability for worker safety.
- File a Criminal Complaint – In the event of any workplace assault, the appropriate action to take is always contacting the police to find a criminal complaint.