Following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California earlier this month, news reports circulated all over America, discussing the implications of the increasing number of school and workplace shootings. The perpetrator of the California shooting on December 2, 2015 was an employee at the Inland Regional Center, a place that helps disabled people get job training and other services. Many of the victims were the shooter’s co-workers. California is not the only state to suffer from recent workplace shootings. Georgia too has experienced a number of recent violent attacks.
FedEx – April 2014
In April of 2014, a disgruntled Federal Express delivery driver shot and injured six people at his place of employment before killing himself. The shooter was just 19 years old.
Visiting Workers Targeted in Atlanta – November 2015
Just last month a group of men targeted Hispanic workers who were in the area for work with a North Carolina steel company. The perpetrators went “door-to-door,” as the news reports stated, looking for workers.
Can a Victim of a Workplace Crime Be Compensated?
Yes. However, workers’ compensation is not designed to make the employer liable for injuries caused by third parties or intentional torts committed by co-workers. In these cases of tragic workplace shootings, unless the employer had a specific responsibility to prevent the harm and was negligent in not protecting its employees from a reasonable hazard, then it is unlikely the victims would be able to seek workers’ compensation for their injuries.
When Would a Worker Be Able to Get Workers’ Compensation for Workplace Violence?
Every case is unique, so it is very difficult to make a blanket statement as to what would qualify. Some have been able to collect workers’ compensation for injuries sustained by supervisors attacking them. In other instances, the employer was reasonably susceptible to the threat of physical injury – a bank for example – and failed to maintain security equipment or a properly trained guard. In such a situation, if an employee is seriously injured due to the company’s failure to take reasonable precautions, this could present a case for workers’ compensation.
Nevertheless, in general, intentional acts are an exception, meaning an employee may file a personal injury action instead. There is no absolute rule, and every case must be evaluated separately.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured on the Job?
The first thing you should do is get medical treatment. Be honest with your physician, ask for care and treatment, and follow your physician’s instructions exactly. If your doctor prescribes medication, take it. If she orders tests, get them done. If she requires follow-ups, make the appointments. The more diligent you are in seeking care, the better your case will look. Once you have gotten the immediate care you need, call an experienced Savannah workplace injury lawyer. Only upon a careful and individual review of your case can a lawyer determine if you are eligible for compensation. Even if you think you do not believe you qualify, you should still call the attorneys at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers as soon as possible.