Is an unprovoked assault by an autistic student compensable?

by Luminitza
(Durham, NC)

I was assaulted at work by an EC student. I am a substitute with no EC training. My glass frames were broken, I was pummeled in the head, and scratched. The school board wants to pay me for half a day. I did not make a police report, but went to emergency where I had a CAT scan and a tetanus shot. I was in shock and could not stop trembling.

I lost wages and now cannot see properly. I wear bifocals and that was my only pair of glasses. I am also the sole support for my 16 year old son. Do I have a case? Can I get my bills compensated, and a settlement for the emotional distress this caused? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Is an unprovoked assault by an autistic student compensable?":

Luminitza (Durham, NC):

Form the facts you present, you should be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Those benefits can include compensation for your medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses, and about 2/3rds of your lost wages. Workers' comp does not pay for pain and suffering or emotional distress.

You also have a right to pursue the parents of the child for the same compensable items as set out above. This time you can also require compensation for your pain and suffering or emotional distress. Of course, if you signed an employment contract giving up your right to pursue compensation you likely wouldn't succeed.

Or you can do both. You can seek workers' compensation benefits and pursue the parents of the child. Parents are normally responsible for property damage and injuries caused by their children.

However, if you do pursue the parents off the child, and they decide not to compensate you, your alternative may be to sue them. Before you choose to do so, you should consider how you will appear in front of a jury. Suing the parents of an autistic child is probably not a good idea.

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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