Being assaulted, battered, or harassed at work can put a person in a very tough position.
If assaulted or battered the affected employee can require substantial medical treatment or psychological counseling. In most cases an assault or battery at a Maryland work place will be covered under Maryland workers compensation laws and the injured worker can seek benefits. In less situations harassment is covered under workers comp in Maryland.
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If an employee is harassed or regularly exposed to psychological abuse there may be some legal ramifications for the harasser. Under Maryland workers comp laws if a worker sustains a psychological injury follow up analysis should then consider whether there is any physical injury that accompanies the mental aspect of the injury or is the injury one that is not accompanied by any physical injury. If there is no apparent physical injury then the mental injury must be susceptible to objective reasoning. In my experience accidents that lead to only psychological damage will only be covered when there is very traumatic incidents. Some examples are a 6,000 pound steal beam that fell through the roof and landed next to an office worker, a truck driver involved in a collision which rendered multiple fatalities, or witnesses to shootings while at work. When there is no physical injury the workers comp attorneys refer to these cases as mental-mental.
Like any injury sustained at work, it is best for the employee to consult an experienced and qualified workers comp attorney in Maryland. Of note, there may also be some other form of legal cause of action that arises out of harassment at the work place and Maryland workers compensation laws should not be viewed as the sole remedy.
Assault & Battery
There are a number of different scenarios that may involve a Maryland worker being assaulted or battered at work. While there is a legal distinction between Assault and Battery for our purposes we will look at them in and of the same- physical injury caused by another.
An assault or batter by a third party that is not a co-worker
If an employee sustains an injury by someone that does not work for the same company they will be entitled to Maryland workers compensation benefits as long as they did not engage in any wrongdoing. It is arguable whether or not fighting back and defending him or herself is wrongdoing. Instigating a fight, fights arising from out of work confrontations, and fights while participating in optional after work activities have all been viewed as not covered under Maryland workers comp law.
In addition to rights under Maryland workers comp laws, the assaulted employee may also have the right to file a lawsuit against the wrongdoer. Assaults by individuals working for another employer may create a cause of action against the other employer. Likewise, the individual wrongdoer is susceptible to being sued. The problem, is most often these wrongdoers do not have the assets or property to pay for a lawsuit judgment. For this reason many lawyers avoid bringing suits against individuals unless there is the possibility of recovering from an insurance policy. Talk to a qualified Maryland workers comp lawyer before making any decisions.
In some instances a homeowners policy can be brought into a lawsuit if the assault or battery took place at a residence. In the event a delivery driver is attacked by a homeowner or homeowners’ pet then the insurance policy provide coverage.
An assault or battery by a co-worker
An assault by a co-worker will usually leave the injured worker with only one remedy- filing a Maryland workers compensation claim. In very limited circumstances is an employee able to file an actual lawsuit against their employer such as intentional and willful conduct by a supervisor or agent that was specifically intended to injure the employee. Those who are hurt at work as a result of an assault by a co-worker would have the option to file a lawsuit against the coworker, however, if there are no available assets to attach to satisfy the judgment these efforts could be fruitless. This is most often the case and for that reason many personal injury attorneys do not handle these claims. For that reason the injured worker is usually only filing a workers compensation claim.
For help contact a Maryland workers compensation attorney at Work Injury Maryland