What happens when someone is injured due to violence that occurs between co-workers? Are injuries sustained as a result of this violence compensable under Nebraska workers' compensation law? The answer, like many answers to legal questions, is it depends. The fact that you can prove you were assaulted and injured on the job does not automatically mean you are entitled to benefits. It is always the injured workers' burden to prove he or she suffered injuries because of an accident arising out of and in the course of employment. An injured worker must also prove the accident resulted from risks arising from within the scope or sphere of the worker's job. The general rule is that, for this to be covered under workers' compensation, you must show that the violence grew out of or was connected to the relationship as fellow employees or acts in the performance of work, you may not be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. OSHA also reports that nearly 2 million American workers report having been victims of such violence each year.
Whether an accident arises out of and in the course of employment must be determined by the facts of each case. This type of case may take longer because of the process of sorting through witness accounts and getting every side of the story. Since finding out the reason for the incident is significant, benefits may be more likely to be delayed than in a more typical or common workers' compensation claim. It is important to consult an experienced workers' compensation attorney if you have questions about whether you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits for an injury resulting from workplace violence. Do you know your rights if you are injured? We do.