You may wonder what your legal options are if you have been injured at work from someone committing a crime such as assault or robbery. Are you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits?
Unfortunately, the likelihood of a violent encounter at work is relatively high, particularly in certain sectors, including retail. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, eight out of 1,000 workers experienced nonfatal violence between 2015 and 2019, and those numbers do not seem to be changing any time soon.
Workplace assault and robbery
Workers’ compensation in Ohio is a no-fault system. This means you should receive coverage for any injuries suffered at work, barring intoxication or dangerous behavior on your part. If a customer or another employee assaults you, you are hurt during the course of a robbery, or there is a shooting at your place of employment, you should have access to the same workers’ compensation benefits as any other work-related injury, including medical coverage.
Other avenues of compensation for workplace crime victims
The Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Program offers financial help to violent crime victims. This program can help victims of crime cover medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses related to a crime, regardless of whether the crime occurred at work or elsewhere.
You usually cannot sue your employer after a workplace injury. One exception is if the employer showed gross negligence. For example, you might have a gross negligence claim if your employer knew of certain risks and did nothing to protect you from them. Perhaps another employee had threatened you physically numerous times and your employer did nothing about it. Perhaps there had already been multiple robberies at the store where you work but your employer did nothing to improve security to prevent future robberies.
For the most part though, workers’ compensation claims will be the primary recourse for people hurt at work.