As a worker in Florida, you know that if you experience an on-the-job injury or illness, you may be able to file a work accident compensation claim to receive benefits through your employer’s insurance provider. However, do you know your rights if you suffer an injury due to workplace violence, like sexual assault, assault, battery, or something else? Will the same insurance policy provide compensation in this situation?
Unfortunately, workplace violence isn’t unusual in the U.S. For example, in 2020, assaults caused 392 fatalities and 20,050 injuries across the country.
Due to the prevalence of workplace violence in almost all industries, it’s important to learn more about your rights and if you can file a work injury claim if you find yourself a victim of this violence.
While the situation can be confusing, our experienced attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. are ready to help you with your claim. Get in touch today to schedule a free consultation and to discuss your work injury compensation claim.
What Is Considered Workplace Violence?
In Florida, the term “workplace violence” refers to any threat or act of violence to someone while they are working. It includes physical violence, threats, intimidation, and cases of harassment. It can also occur in various degrees of seriousness, from minor bruises and scrapes to more serious acts, such as gunshot wounds, head injuries, and even homicide.
Workplace violence can be perpetrated by visitors, customers, or co-workers at your job. However, in most cases, workplace violence will not include injuries arising from a personal or domestic dispute that occurs while you are on the job.
Read More: Changes to Florida Workers’ Compensation in 2022
Understanding Workplace Assault Liability
If an injury was caused to an employee because of an assault, it is considered the fault of the individual who committed the act if it was proven that the action wasn’t related to work. The employee who committed the assault will also likely be responsible for financial losses you (the victim) experience, including lost wages and medical costs.
However, in situations where the assailant isn’t known, the employer can be held liable for injuries for failing to provide a safe work environment. The key here is to show that the employer was negligent when it came to protecting employees from workplace assaults. An example will be if there are no security guards present that may have prevented a workplace assault. In this case, it’s possible to hold your employer responsible.
To show employer liability, you must prove that they knew or should have known about the potential for workplace assaults and that they did not take the proper steps to prevent them.
Employers will also be held liable for the assault if it is proven they were involved in some way. This includes if they provoked or encouraged workers to commit the crime, did not stop the attack after being made aware it would occur, or because of employer negligence. An example is if an employer did not act against bullying. If this happens, they can be held responsible for the resulting case of assault.
If you find yourself in this situation, our legal team can provide work injury advice to help you with the case. We can also help you file a work injury damages claim if needed. We understand the huge impact that an on-the-job assault or attack can have, and we will work to help you recover the highest workers’ compensation injury payout possible.
The No-Fault Workers’ Compensation System in Florida
Workers’ compensation in Florida is a no-fault system. With this, you can receive compensation for cases of physical assault while on the job, even if you were at fault. You don’t have to prove that your employer was at fault and that you are innocent. Work injury compensation is provided for cases where you are injured on the job – even if you (somehow) contributed to the injury.
There is an exception to this. In cases where you were the initial aggressor, you will not be able to file a claim or receive work accident compensation payouts. If you do file in this case, your work injury claim will be declined (in most cases).
The exception mentioned above is in place to help discourage workplace violence. You should understand that the exemption only applies to situations where you were the aggressor, not in cases where you were defending yourself. If someone attacked you at work, and you defended yourself, it is still considered an eligible workers’ compensation accident, and you can still receive work injury damages.
Read More: Frequently Asked Questions on Workers Compensation in Florida
Workplace Violence Prevention
Many employers can benefit if they take steps to prevent workplace assaults. Violence is extremely disruptive to daily business operations. In some cases, it can also be a liability for the business.
Employers need to lead employees to ensure situations are handled before violence occurs. If there’s a possibility of violence the employer is aware of, they should act before it occurs to prevent work injury damages cases from being filed.
When an employer fails to do this, and an employee is injured, as a result, they will be entitled to a workers’ compensation injury settlement (in most cases).
Protecting Your Rights in Cases of Workplace Violence
Unfortunately, workplace violence is a reality, and when this type of workers’ compensation accident Orlando, FL, occurs, it’s up to you to act to ensure you recover the benefits you are entitled to. Be sure to file a report with your employer and seek medical attention. This is necessary to prove your workers’ compensation injuries and what you should receive a workers’ compensation injury settlement for.
At Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A., our legal team is ready to fight for your rights to ensure you have the representation needed to get the benefits you deserve. The first step is to contact us to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation.
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