According to statistics published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA),1 an estimated two million workers in the United States are the victims of violence in the workplace on an annual basis. While violence is more prevalent in certain jobs, an unexpected attack can happen in any workplace, either by a coworker or a stranger. Violent assaults can leave victims with severe injuries, in need of extensive medical treatment, and often emotional effects, as well.
If you have been the victim of an assault in the course of your employment, you have legal rights to recovery. Your specific avenue to seek justice and obtain compensation will depend on the specific circumstances of your individual case, however, some common ways to recover include to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, a legal claim against the assaulter, a third-party legal claim against your employer, or even filing a complaint for criminal action. It is important to discuss your situation with a skilled workers’ comp attorney as soon as possible to start seeking compensation.
Common injuries resulting from an assault
The injuries resulting from an assault can range from a black eye to a fatal traumatic wound. Some of the most frequent injuries that result from assaults can include the following:
The medical treatment for some of the above injuries can be extensive and may include hospitalization, surgeries, visits with specialists, rehabilitative therapy, and more. Many assault victims must take a significant amount of time off work while they recover. Fortunately, workers’ comp benefits can cover the costs of medical care as well as provide compensation for at least part of the wages lost. In certain cases involving serious and debilitating injuries, an assault victim may not be able to ever return to their previous position. In such cases, benefits may be ongoing or a settlement offer may be an option.
In addition to physical injuries, many victims of violent assaults may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD. PTSD can develop when an individual experiences a traumatic event that either threatens harm or actually causes serious harm. A significant number of assault victims suffer from PTSD, which can have the following effects on their lives:
- Flashbacks or constant running through the assault in their head
- Nightmares and other sleep disturbances
- Irrational fears of harmless objects, people, or circumstances
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Avoidance of or withdrawal from regular activities
As you can imagine, all of these effects can cause challenges for someone, especially if they return to work to the scene of the assault, which can increase the chance of flashbacks or anxiety triggers.
Sexual assault in the workplace
Physical altercations are not the only forms of assault that can lead to both physical and emotional injuries. Sexual violence also happens in the workplace2 and can cause victims to suffer serious injuries. Many victims of sexual assault have a difficult time returning to work after the incident and these victims are also entitled to compensation from either the workers’ compensation insurance or their employer for having inadequate security.
If you have been the victim of sexual violence in the workplace, your costs of both physical treatment and mental health treatment should be covered by workers’ comp benefits. Often, however, victims are not offered the full amount they deserve, so you should always have an experienced attorney review your workers’ compensation package to ensure you are receiving the full amount to which you are entitled.
Consult with an experienced Delaware workers’ compensation attorney today
If you received serious injuries due to an assault at your workplace, you are entitled to proper benefits under the law. Workers’ comp cases stemming from a physical assault can be complicated, however, and many legal issues may be involved in your case. It is crucial to have the assistance of a highly experienced workers’ comp lawyer to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you receive the benefits you deserve. At the Delaware law office of Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC, we will explore every legal option that you may have so that you do not suffer any unnecessary losses due to your workplace assault. Call us for a consultation today at 302-364-6047 for help.