Physically Assaulted by Another Employee at Work...
I was at work and another employee and I were just "shooting the breeze" when he suddenly got upset and physically attacked me. He hit me and knocked me down, then kicked me the face two times. Throughout the entire attack I did not throw one punch. I was completely taken by surprise since I never expected I would be attacked by another employee.
I'd like to know if my employer is liable for my injuries from this incident or is it all on the assaulter?
My injuries from this assault were: six loose teeth, a broken nose, a minor concussion, and upon falling to the ground I damaged my left elbow and twisted my back. I'm just wondering what my best course of action is. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Physically Assaulted by Another Employee at Work...":
Mark (Shreveport, LA):
You present an interesting set of facts. It is not often we hear of one employee suddenly attacking another without any provocation. Either the person who assaulted you has some serious psychological issues, or there are some additional facts we are not aware of.
It is incongruous to believe two employees were "shooting the breeze" when suddenly one employee viciously attacked the other. Although there may be some facts you neglected to share with us that does not excuse the employee from liability for assaulting you.
Because of the seriousness of the attack we must presume you called the police. An assault like the one you described is clearly a criminal act.
With a police report in hand you will have the basis of a strong civil case against him. Additionally, if the District Attorney decides to offer the fellow probation, there may be a way for you to be reimbursed for the medical and related costs you incurred.
Contact the District Attorneys Office. Ask to speak with the prosecutor assigned to your case. Tell her as a result of the assault you suffered serious injuries and incurred doctors' and other related costs. Tell her if she is going to offer him probation that she make as a requirement of probation he pay your medical bills and related expenses. If you lost any time from work or spent any money on dentists or prescription medicines, tell the prosecutor you want to be reimbursed for those amounts as well.
In the alternative, if for some reason you didn't report the criminal act to the police, you still have a strong civil case against the employee for your injuries and related expenses as set out above.
Whether your employer is liable or not will depend on several factors. If the employer knew the employee had a history of unprovoked criminal behavior and failed to protect you, the employer may be liable. If the employer knew the assault was about to occur and took no action to stop it, then your employer may be liable as well.
There isn't a "Yes or No" answer to whether your employer is liable for your injuries and related costs. It will really depend on her knowledge of the possibility of attack, and measures your employer took to thwart the attack.
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,
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