Horseplay at Work Results in Injury...

by Karen
(Houston, TX, USA)

As I was in training out in the field with my supervisor talking to me in my right ear (it was noisy) when another employee ran from behind me and jumped up in the air off my back - horseplay. I went down to the left and to brace my fall I used my left foot to keep myself from falling onto the ground.

I brought this incident to my superiors' attention (who was there at the time of the incident) the following day he responded with, "oh is that what she was doing?" So it's the third day after the incident and I'm in severe pain. My ankle and knee (which I'd previously had surgery on) have swelled considerably, and I'm having back spasms.

Does this qualify as a worker's compensation case, or should it be a separate personal injury case against the specific employee? Am I supposed to get compensated a lump sum in addition to worker's comp benefits? How might I pursue this case? Thank you for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Horseplay at Work Results in Injury...":

Karen (Houston, TX, USA):

You can certainly pursue a legal action against the employee who you believe caused your injury, but that probably isn't the best route to take.

First of all, suing a fellow employee can be considerably uncomfortable, especially if you have to work with that employee on a daily basis. Second, unless the fellow employee has substantial assets, going through with a lawsuit may be a waste of your time and money.

You certainly would seem to have the grounds for a workers compensation claim. The immediate problem we see is your previous injury.

Sometimes settling workers compensation claims when previous injuries are present can be very difficult. That's because the insurance company will need to have you determine through medical evidence where the old injury ended and the new one began.

The insurance company will usually claim the new injury is just an exacerbation of the previous one. As a result they may only want to compensate you for a limited amount.

If you are successful in pursuing a workers compensation claim you may have a right to a lump sum as well as workers compensation benefits. That will be entirely dependent upon the insurance company's decision to pay for your present medical or other treatment, and "pay you off" in one lump sum for any future medical treatment, both actions done in an effort to finalize the claim itself.

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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