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Workman’s Compensation Benefits for a Work Related Assault

It is no secret that most work environments are very stressful.  Because different personality types are mixed together, it is a matter of course that there will be clashes and conflicts from time to time.

In some instances, those conflicts may turn physical. Missouri does allow claims for workman’s compensation if an injury results from a job related assault, with certain exceptions. If you were assaulted by a co-worker and required medical attention, your employor may try and deny that they are responsible. If this is the case for your situation, then it is advised that you seek help from a Missouri workman’s compensation attorney. While most work related accidents are considered no-fault under workman’s compensation laws, assault situations are treated differently.

Job Related Assault

The workman’s compensation statute never provides a description of the term assault, instead, that is left to criminal statutes. This allows states to set their own precedent. For example, in Missouri a job related assault is not compensable if the argument stems from a personal disagreement. In other words, the fight must be over something work related, not anything of a personal nature, if the injured party would like to receive benefits for their injury. The claimant can also not be the one who initiated the argument. This rule came into play when a Missouri worker initiated a workman’s compensation claim after being hurt by his supervisor. When evidence presented showed the employee had made the first blow, his claim was denied and the workman’s compensation commission upheld that decision. A different Missouri factory worker received close to $14,000 in benefits after his workplace assault. He did not initiate the fight.

Sexual Harassment

Since the criminal definition for assault includes unwanted offensive and provocative contact, some forms of sexual harassment may be compensated under Missouri law if the employee was harmed as a result. For example, a nurse who was traumatized by a patient placing his hand under her shirt was compensated by workman’s compensation insurance for the mental health care she required as a result of the incident.

Working with the General Public

More obvious cases of assault occur for many workers who have to deal with the general public. Of course, police officers and security officers are often assaulted while on the job, but so are people in other professions. For example, a workman’s compensation claim was honored for a cable company employee when the owner of a home attacked him for disconnecting the service. Each case is different and needs to be examined thoroughly by a Missouri workman’s compensation attorney in order to judge whether or not it should be pursued.

With any workman’s compensation claim, the key to receiving benefits lies in following all the proper procedures. For example, in an assault situation, the details of the argument and injury should be reported to a supervisor immediately.  Employers reluctant to pay workman’s compensation benefits will try anything to avoid them. If your employer is denying your claim, and you believe that it is valid, then ask The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 to look it over for you.

Workplace Injury and Accident Causes

Photo credit:  quinet

Updated: November 9, 2022