Visitor Question

Permanent Shoulder Injury Caused by Coworker Assault…

Submitted By: W (USA)

I was attacked by a co-worker who was called in to assist me with a small project that needed immediate attention. When he arrived I tried to inform him of the work that needed to be done. His attitude was belligerent and uncooperative. I commented on his attitude and told him I didn’t care how he got the job done but that’s what we were here to do.

I left the room and about 15 seconds later was attacked from behind by him. I suffered a serious (job ending) permanent broken shoulder injury.

Even though alleged criminal actions were required to be reported to government agencies by my employers nothing was done by the company. No action of any sort was taken, no internal reviews and no reports were made. Workers comp did eventually acknowledge the claim.

Can I use the lack of following legal requirements of reporting this crime to the government (i.e. lack of following legal obligations to employees) to substantiate my claim for a pain and suffering settlement in my workers comp case?

It is a fact that the other worker was either still on some restriction or was just getting off an investigation before his attack on me. But all that information has been refused to me. No investigation material was ever obtained by my attorney from the company or insurance carrier.

My mental anguish and pain lasted several months. The permanent shoulder injury will decrease my quality of life forever. Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear W,

Unfortunately your compensation may be limited to workers compensation guidelines. The failure of your former employer to report the criminal action to the police has no bearing on your workers compensation proceeds. Unless you have been told otherwise, workers compensation covers little, if any pain and suffering.

You certainly have a cause of action against the individual who attacked you. You should certainly consult with a licensed attorney in your area to go over your options.

You can also file a civil lawsuit against the coworker in small claims court, if the amount of your claim is within the small claims court limits in your state.

If you decide to do so, gather all your medical and therapy bills, your out of pocket expenses, and amount of your lost wages. Even though workers compensation will include compensation for your lost wages, you still have a separate legal right to sue for those same lost wages against the individual.

In addition, even if your medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses, and lost wages are less than the maximum jurisdictional amount of small claims court, you can sue up the balance of the limit for any pain and suffering your endured.

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

Best of luck,

Published: February 20, 2013

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