While everyone should be able to feel safe at their job, the reality is that many employees are hurt due to workplace violence. In the aftermath, a critical question arises: does Florida Workers’ Compensation cover my injuries?
In many cases, victims of violence at their jobs can claim workers’ compensation benefits. The best way forward is to contact a Miami workers’ compensation lawyer at Work Injury Rights for a free case review and help with your claim.
Does Workers’ Comp Cover Workplace Violence in Miami?
In many cases, victims of violence at their jobs can claim workers’ compensation benefits. Let’s take a closer look at different scenarios.
Violence by Coworkers
- Work-related conflict: If a coworker assaults you at your job due to a work-related conflict, you are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you are generally not eligible if you instigate the violence.
- Personal disputes escalating at work: If two coworkers with a pre-existing personal feud get into a fight at work, coverage is unlikely.
Violence by Customers or Clients
Assaults by customers or clients are generally covered under Florida workers’ compensation. However, if the employee instigates the violence, coverage may be denied.
Robbery or Assault During Work Hours
Workplace robberies or assaults committed by strangers during normal business operations are typically covered, regardless of the victim’s specific job duties. This also holds true for workers injured in active-shooter situations.
Domestic Violence at Work
While generally excluded from Workers’ Compensation coverage, exceptions may exist in cases where the employer’s knowledge or negligence plays a role in the violence. For example, if an employer allows a hostile ex-partner into the workplace despite prior domestic violence incidents, there may be grounds for claiming compensation.
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation in Florida
In the majority of situations, sustaining an injury in the workplace automatically grants you access to workers’ compensation benefits. However, exceptions exist.
If you were intoxicated when the injury occurred or engaged in a deliberate act of violence, your claim could be denied. Violating company policy at the time of the injury could also result in a denial of workers’ compensation benefits.
Several factors play a vital role in determining if you can recover benefits.
Course of Employment
This central principle determines whether an injury falls under Workers’ Compensation. Florida Statute § 440.02 stipulates that the injury must “arise out of and in the course of employment.”
The incident must occur while the employee is engaged in work-related activities.
Florida law requires most employers with four or more employees to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, exceptions exist for independent contractors and specific sectors like agriculture.
Time and Location of the Incident
Injuries sustained during work hours and within the employer’s premises are generally covered. You may not qualify for benefits if you were hurt during a break or outside designated work areas as defined in your employment contract.
Alternative Avenues for Justice
While workers’ compensation offers substantial support, it may not always be the sole recourse. Victims may explore alternative legal options in situations where coverage is limited or unavailable.
- Lawsuits: If the employer demonstrably contributed to the violence through negligence (e.g., failing to implement security measures despite prior threats) the employee may have grounds to sue.
- Criminal Charges: Depending on the severity of the violence, the perpetrator facing criminal charges under Florida’s Criminal Code can offer a sense of justice and potentially restitution.
Seeking Legal Guidance After Workplace Violence
Workplace violence can be a life-altering event. Seeking guidance from a qualified attorney at Work Injury Rights who is experienced in Florida workers’ compensation is crucial. Your Miami workers’ compensation attorney can:
- Analyze the specifics of your case and assess your eligibility for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- Advise you on available legal options.
- Advocate for your rights and represent you throughout the legal process, ensuring you receive fair and just compensation.
Remember, in the face of workplace violence, you are not alone. With help from our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers, you can reclaim your life and build a path toward recovery. Contact Work Injury Rights at 954-833-5226 today.