Injured in a Fight at Work? What Happens Now?

Posted May 5th, 2016 by .

Categories: Workers Compensation.

workers fighting anthony carboneInjured in a fight at work?  If you need medical treatment, you’re likely wondering how it will be paid.  Does a claim get submitted to workers’ compensation insurance company?  What exactly happens?

It depends.

Let’s go through a scenario.  When John Grunder arrives at work, he quickly searches for Peter Stephens.  He is fuming.  It seems that John found a rather vulgar text message exchange initiated by Peter.  With John’s wife.  It strongly suggested that the two were having an affair.

As soon as John finds Peter, he doesn’t give him the opportunity.  He punches him so violently that Peter becomes unconscious.  Is this a work-related claim?  After all, it happened on the job.

More than likely, Peter’s claims will be denied by the workers’ compensation carrier.  They will investigate the reason for the fight. Since the argument was over a personal issue, it will not be compensable.

By the way, John also broke his wrist when he struck Peter.  He was not eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Some Fights at Work Can be Work-Related

That’s not to say that all fights are a reason for exclusion under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation laws.  There are some important considerations.

The insurance company will likely scrutinize a claim to determine the following:

  • Who started the fight
  • Was the person injured a bystander or part of the argument
  • The nature of the disagreement, i.e., personal or business related

So, what’s an example of a legitimate fight at work that might be covered as a work-related injury?   Is there such a thing?

Two office workers are in a hurry to photocopy documents.   Mary races in front on Casey to start her project.  However, Casey is annoyed that Mary has taken over the machine.  Her work is more important.  She starts screaming at her co-worker and grabs her.  As she pushes her aside, Casey also shoves a heavy box of paper towards Mary.  It lands on Mary’s foot and breaks it.

This would be a considered a compensable act.  Mary would be entitled to authorized medical treatment, temporary disability benefits, and possibly a claim for partial total disability.

Contact Us

If you were involved in a fight at work and were injured, you need the advice of an experienced attorney.  Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to determine if we can help pursue a claim on your behalf.

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