Visitor Question

Suing employer after assault at work in minimum security jail facility?

Submitted By: Brady (Springfield, MA)

A friend of mine works in a minimum security jail facility. He was assaulted by a prisoner there, who had previously assaulted a fellow employee that day, as well as prior days before that. The incident resulted in a torn shoulder and bumped head on the ground.

The shoulder injury required surgery and rehab. My friend stayed out of work for a year, and recently they have just contacted him to go back to work per diem.

Can he sue his employer for compensation for his injury? If he is considering suing his employer, would it be wise for him to go back to that job, especially if a lawsuit is in the process? Thank you very much.

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.


Dear Brady,

Hopefully your friend filed a workers’ compensation claim near the time of the injury. If so, then your friend should have been receiving medical and therapy benefits, reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses (for such things as medications, costs of travel to and from treatment, bandages, etc.), and about 2/3rds of your friend’s lost wages during the period of time your friend was unable to work.

Of course, this presumes your friend’s primary treating physician authorized the absence of work for medical reasons. Workers’ comp benefits do not include compensation for pain and suffering.

Workers’ compensation laws do not permit an injured worker to sue his or her employer. The only exceptions would be if the employer was grossly negligent, or displayed a wanton disregard for a worker’s safety and well-being. From the fact you present, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

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: January 21, 2015

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