Can I get workers' compensation for sexual assault at a hotel?

by J

The company I work for had all workers stay at a hotel in Houston for training and orientation. My assigned roommate sexually assaulted me during my sleep. I awoke to find him performing oral sex on me.

I filed a Houston police report and have a detective working my case. I am trying for workers' comp, but it is being denied by the insurance company for being outside the scope of employment, and they are contending no assault took place.

They did refer me to a doctor of mental health who evaluated me and determined I need care. They are still denying me care or workers' comp pay. Is there anything I can do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I get workers' compensation for sexual assault at a hotel?":

J (Texas):

In almost all cases, workers who leave their workplace and are injured on the way to or from work are not covered by workers' compensation. Additionally, workers injured on their lunch break, or while sleeping, are not covered under workers' comp.

Even though you were required to be at the hotel site for training, once training ended for the day and you retired to your hotel room, your workers' comp coverage likely ended. This is because workers' comp benefits only apply when a workers is injured within the scope of his or her job duties. Sleeping was not within your normal work duties.

However, there may be a way to have the person who assaulted you pay for your mental health counseling bills. If the detective arrests the perpetrator for sexually assaulting you, the man will have to stand trial or enter a plea of guilty or "no-contest." When he does, if he doesn't have a prior criminal record, he may be sentenced to probation.

You have a right to contact the prosecutor who may be eventually assigned to the case. When you do, make clear you are the victim, and as a result of the assault you have incurred, and may continue to incur mental health counseling bills.

If the judge decides to give the perpetrator a probationary sentence, the judge can make as a condition of that probation that the perpetrator (defendant) reimburse you on a monthly basis through the court for your mental health bills. If the judge does so and the defendant defaults in a payment, the judge can then remand the defendant to prison to serve the entire term of his prison sentence.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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