Approximately two million workers in the United States are the victims of workplace violence each year. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), homicide is the fourth leading cause of workplace deaths in this country. Given these statistics, it is important for workers, and those who love them, to understand the risks of workplace violence and to know what to do if an injury or fatality occurs because of violence in the workplace.
What Is Workplace Violence? Are You at Risk?
Workplace violence is defined as, “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site” by OSHA. Thus, workplace violence can be anything from a threat or verbal abuse to a physical attack or homicide.
Workplace violence can happen to any worker. However, there are some identified risk factors that make a worker more likely to be the victim of workplace violence. These risk factors include:
- Paying or collecting money
- Providing service or care as part of your job
- Working with unstable or volatile people
- Working alone or in an area without a lot of people
- Working where alcohol is served
- Working late at night
- Working in an area with a high crime rate
Whether or not you or a loved faced one of these risk factors, you may have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries or your loved one’s death after workplace violence.
Workers’ Compensation Is Possible for Some Workplace Violence Injuries and Deaths
In North Carolina, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you can prove that an attack, assault, or other intentionally inflicted physical injury arose out of your work. In other words, if the attack was connected to your work then you will be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. This could happen, for example, if your employer failed to provide you with reasonable security given the type of goods you sell or the amount of money that you keep on premises. However, if it was a personal attack by a friend or relative that would have happened anywhere but just so happened to occur at work then you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Benefits After a Workplace Violence Incident
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits then you may receive:
- Wage replacement of up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage
- Payment of all of your related medical costs
- Compensation for any permanent disabilities or impairments
- Death benefits if your loved one was killed
North Carolina law may allow you to recover these benefits. However, your recovery will not be automatic and the workers’ compensation insurance company may try to limit your benefits if you fail to protect your rights.
How to Protect Your Rights If You’ve Been Hurt by Workplace Violence in North Carolina
Whether or not you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace violence incident may be disputed by a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster.
Accordingly, it is important to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after you are hurt or your loved one is killed so that we can review all of the facts of your case and begin to protect your rights. This may include talking to witnesses and gathering evidence so that we can advise you as to whether you should pursue a workers’ compensation claim and whether you can pursue a personal injury claim against the person who attacked or assaulted you.
To learn more, please contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers today. We will make sure that you take the necessary steps, such as providing timely notice to your employer, so that your rights are protected. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please reach out to us via this website or call us at any time. Additionally, we invite you to download a free copy of our book, How to Get Top Dollar$ for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim, to learn more about your rights immediately.