Were You Assaulted At Work? Here Is What You Need to Know

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle October 04 2023 4:22 pm
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Were You Assaulted At Work? Here Is What You Need to Know

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle October 04 2023 4:22 pm
Were You Assaulted At Work? Here Is What You Need to Know

On average, about 1.3 million nonfatal violent crimes occur in the workplace each year. This includes simple and aggravated assaults, rape and other sexual assaults, and robberies. Many people are faced with unfair situations at work that leave them victimized at the hands of another. No one deserves this.

An assault occurs when a person physically harms another or forces unwanted physical contact. Assault is a criminal act that can result in action against the person who carried out the assault or the employer or property owner who failed to provide a safe environment for an assaulted employee.

Assault can take the form of any physical attack, from a slap on the face or a fight in the parking lot to sexual assault, which occurs when a person makes another person participate in sexual activity without their consent. This can include kissing or unwanted touching. Additionally, assault includes harm done to protected classes of people (according to race, sex, age, religion, place of origin, and genetic material). 

A person who is a victim of assault in the workplace deserves justice for what they experienced. If you are a victim of workplace assault, a work injury lawyer can help to build a case against the liable party so you may recover some of the damages you lost.

 

How Does Assault Affect A Victim? 

Being assaulted at work can carry many consequences. It is a horrible experience no one should go through. It can change how you feel about yourself and leave a person with physical injuries. It can leave a person with mental scars and cause a person to develop PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression. It takes away a person’s ability to feel safe, and in the case of sexual assault, it takes away the person’s feeling of agency over their body. Treatment can require a combination of professional approaches that can include both medical care and mental health care.   

 

What Should You Do If You Are Physically Assaulted? 

Get away. 

This might be in a room where you can lock the door or an open space with other co-workers to prevent the person from attacking again. 

 

Call the police. 

You may not know where the perpetrator is and if they are still near the area. Speak to the police, and when they arrive, file a police report, which can serve as an excellent piece of evidence in the event of a criminal or civil case. If you have been harmed in any way, go to the hospital to tend to your injuries. This can mean calling 911 and going to the emergency room or setting up an appointment with your doctor ASAP. 

 

Seek medical care.

Assaults can cause serious injuries, and you want to get a prompt diagnosis of any injuries you suffered. Seek medical treatment immediately following an assault. This can help your physical health and create records for a future legal claim. 

 

File a report at your job. 

If you are unsure how to do this, you should ask your supervisor. By letting your employer know about the assault, they can take the necessary measures to create a safer workplace for you and fire the offending co-worker. 

 

Get witness statements. 

Did anyone see the assault happen? Then you are in luck. Get contact information from this person or these people. They may be another co-worker, a customer, or a supervisor. It will be important to gather eyewitness accounts while they still remember the details.

 

Get an attorney. 

To get the compensation you deserve after a workplace assault, a lawyer will help to gather evidence and build the case that you need. With help from an attorney, your claim can result in benefits or a settlement that helps to cover the costs of damages, such as medical care, lost wages, and therapy. 

 

Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Assault Injuries in Kansas?

Workers’ compensation is a crucial safety net for employees who sustain injuries or illnesses while performing their job duties. However, there are instances when workplace incidents involve intentional harm, such as assault. In Kansas, like in many other states, the question arises: does workers’ compensation cover assault injuries? This comprehensive exploration will delve into the specifics of workers’ compensation in Kansas and how it addresses injuries resulting from assaults.

 

The Basics of Workers’ Compensation in Kansas

Workers’ compensation is a state-mandated insurance program designed to provide medical benefits and wage replacement to employees injured or disabled on the job. It aims to protect both employers and employees by offering a no-fault system, where employees relinquish the right to sue their employers in exchange for guaranteed benefits.

In Kansas, nearly all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, with few exceptions for specific industries or employers with minimal workforce size. Coverage typically extends to injuries sustained during the course of employment, encompassing a wide range of accidents and occupational illnesses.

 

Assault Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

Assault as a Workplace Hazard – Unfortunately, workplace assaults are not uncommon, especially in professions like healthcare, security, and law enforcement. They can lead to severe physical and psychological trauma for the victim.

 

The Complications of Assault Cases – Assault-related injuries introduce complexities into the workers’ compensation system. These cases often blur the line between personal and work-related issues.

 

The “Course and Scope of Employment” Standard – Workers’ compensation typically covers injuries that occur within the “course and scope of employment.” This means the injury must arise out of and in the course of performing job-related duties.

 

Application to Assault Cases – Determining if an assault occurred within the “course and scope of employment” can be intricate. Factors such as the nature of the job, the location of the incident, and any history of violence in the workplace are considered.

 

Exceptions and Challenges – In Kansas, workers’ compensation generally does not cover injuries resulting from intentional acts by the employer or a co-worker. This exclusion is meant to prevent abuse of the system in cases of deliberate harm.

 

Third-Party Liability – If the assault was perpetrated by a third party unrelated to the employer or co-workers, the injured party may be eligible to pursue a separate personal injury claim against the assailant.

 

The Role of Employer Negligence – In certain instances, if the employer’s negligence contributed to the assault or created an unsafe work environment, the injured employee might have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the employer.

 

Psychological Injuries and Assault – Assaults can lead to severe psychological trauma, often manifesting as PTSD. In Kansas, workers’ compensation may cover mental health conditions if they are a direct result of a workplace assault.

 

Establishing Causation – Proving a direct link between workplace assault and resulting psychological injuries can be challenging. It often requires expert testimony and a thorough evaluation of the victim’s mental health history.

 

Reporting and Filing a Claim – Timely reporting of workplace assaults is crucial. In Kansas, injured employees are required to notify their employer within 20 days of the incident to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The injured party or their representative must file a workers’ compensation claim with the Kansas Division of Workers’ Compensation. This involves submitting necessary documentation, such as medical records and incident reports.

 

In Kansas, workers’ compensation coverage for assault injuries hinges on several factors, including the nature of the assault, the relationship to employment, and any exceptions or exclusions that may apply. While there are challenges in establishing eligibility for benefits in assault cases, victims should not hesitate to seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the system. 

 

Understanding your rights and the avenues available for compensation is essential in recovering from the physical and emotional trauma of a workplace assault. A workplace injury attorney can help you do just that. 

 

Common Injuries from Workplace Assaults

Workplace assaults can lead to a range of debilitating injuries, both physical and psychological, impacting victims’ well-being and ability to work. Common injuries resulting from such incidents include:

  • Physical Trauma: This encompasses a wide array of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe wounds, fractures, and head injuries. Victims may suffer from broken bones, concussions, or even more severe injuries like internal organ damage.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Assaults can cause injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This may lead to strains, sprains, and other soft tissue damage, resulting in pain, limited mobility, and potential long-term complications.
  • Psychological Trauma: Assaults can have profound psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. Victims may experience flashbacks, nightmares, and difficulty functioning in daily life.
  • Emotional Distress: Beyond diagnosable psychological conditions, workplace assaults can cause emotional distress, impacting an individual’s mental well-being, confidence, and overall quality of life.
  • Loss of Consortium: In severe cases, where an assault leads to a loss of companionship, support, or intimacy with a spouse or partner, the injured party may seek damages for loss of consortium.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: Serious physical assaults can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement, which can have long-lasting emotional and psychological effects on the victim.
  • Neurological Damage: Severe head injuries or blows to the head during an assault can result in neurological damage, leading to cognitive impairments, memory problems, and difficulty with motor functions.
  • Aggravation of Pre-Existing Conditions: Workplace assaults can exacerbate pre-existing health conditions, potentially leading to more severe symptoms or complications.

It’s crucial for victims of workplace assaults to seek immediate medical attention and report the incident to both their employer and the appropriate authorities. Additionally, consulting with a legal professional who handles workplace injury claims can help victims understand their rights and pursue compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial toll that may result from such traumatic events.

 

How Does Assault Impact The Workplace?

Assault can increase the cost of worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance for a survivor. A business carries the cost of legal fees and will have to pay for themselves. The victim will cover the cost of legal fees if they win their case and receive a settlement. Additionally, the workplace will be impacted by additional costs such as lowered productivity, higher employee turnover, and an increase in the number of absences. These costs will impact the company’s efficiency and ability to make a profit. 

 

Were You Sexually Assaulted? 

An employee who is a victim of sexual assault in the workplace may be eligible to file a third-party claim against an employer. If an employer fails to keep the premises safe with well-maintained locks and security systems, an assaulted employee may be able to sue them for negligence. 

If an employer was aware of the background of an employee and did nothing to prevent dangerous behavior from occurring, the employer may be held liable for the assault due to enabling a hostile work environment. For example, quid pro quo, which translates into something received for something given, can lean heavily into employer liability if a supervisor requires a sexual favor in exchange for better pay or to maintain their position. The assault would result in more difficult working conditions without conceding. 

 

Who Can Be Held Responsible For Assault?

Employers

An employer can be sued if he or she is the person who assaulted you. However, even if they might have practiced negligence, which led to your assault (e.g., hiring a person with a violent past), an employer still cannot be sued if you were injured while at work. 

Instead, a person is always granted a guarantee to be paid workers’ compensation for workplace injury, whether due to assault, a technology malfunction, or a clumsy accident. You do deserve to hold the right person accountable, and you may still sue the person who assaulted you or the property owner.

 

The person who assaulted you

You may sue this person for damages you have suffered. This individual may or may not have the money to cover the cost of damages. They may also have fled to prevent being held accountable and captured.

 

Property owners

In certain cases, a property owner can be considered liable for property negligence. For example, if a person is assaulted in a dimly lit area in the parking lot, and the light should have been replaced prior to the assault, a property owner contributed to making the area less safe and more likely that a criminal would feel more comfortable assaulting a person. Additional examples of negligent security include poor protocol, not enough security guards working, unsecured doors and gates, and cameras that do not work. 

 

Contact An Experienced Kansas Work Injury Lawyer Today

Nobody deserves to be assaulted in the workplace or anywhere else. However, people are still harmed in the workplace, and if you are the victim of a workplace assault, you deserve justice for what another person did to you. A Pyle Law employment lawyer can help you file a claim as you begin the healing process. Set up an appointment today.

 

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E. THOMAS PYLE

Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.