Injuries due to workplace violence are a bit more complicated than injuries that are a result of the work that you do. That’s because coworkers can develop friendships outside of work, which means that their interactions can take place outside of the workplace and work hours.
To protect your rights, you should hire an Indiana workers’ compensation attorney who can guide you through the process of filing and proving a claim. Here’s what you need to know about workplace assault injuries.
Understanding the Nuances of Workplace Assault
To be eligible for Indiana workers’ compensation, an assault injury must take place during normal work hours and happen while you are in your normal work routines.
For example, if spouses work within the same business and one injures the other during an altercation, this likely has nothing to do with their work and is more about interpersonal issues from their personal lives. That’s not to say that it would never qualify for workers’ compensation, but their personal relationship complicates the claim.
Determining the cause of workplace violence is an important aspect of your case. You’ll need to move quickly to establish the cause and get your claim moving to meet the 30-day filing requirements.
What Is Workplace Assault?
OSHA defines workplace violence as any unwarranted assaultive or coercive behavior. This can include threats, harassment, offensive touching, property damage, or intimidation.
Workplace violence is not as uncommon as you might think and is a major concern that OSHA monitors and discourages regularly.
Another factor that influences whether your assault qualifies as a workplace injury is who the other person was. For example, if a customer assaulted you, proving that the incident was workplace-related and not personal will likely be easier than it would when involving another employee.
Indiana’s No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Laws
Indiana operates under a no-fault workers’ compensation system. That means that it does not matter whether you are responsible for the incident or not, you’ll still qualify for coverage.
However, an assault case has some nuances in this no-fault system. If you were the first person in the altercation to incite physical aggression, you might not be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage for your injuries.
That means that if you first verbally or physically harmed the other person, you might be disqualified from pursuing a workers’ compensation claim.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for an Assault?
If you’re injured because of an assault and the situation does not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, you might be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover your expenses from missed work and medical treatment costs.
However, much like in the workers’ compensation scenario, you’ll need to have little fault in the incident to recover damages. If you’re found to be 51 percent or more at fault for the assault, you’ll be barred from recovering damages.
That’s because of Indiana’s modified comparative negligence law. Under that law, the amount that you can recover from a personal injury case is reduced by the percent you were at fault for the incident.
So if you were to recover $10,000 in damages but the courts find you 10 percent at fault for the altercation, you’ll only get $9,000.
Regardless of whether you’re pursuing workers’ compensation coverage or a personal injury case, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will begin collecting evidence and work to prove you had minimal involvement in the assault.
For a team of qualified and experienced attorneys ready to take on your Indiana workers’ compensation case, contact Stewart & Stewart. We offer a free consultation to help you evaluate your case and get things moving quickly to protect your financial interests.