When times get tough, people get tense – and not everybody knows how to manage their feelings properly. If you work in retail, hospitality services or healthcare, the odds are high that you’ve witnessed more than your fair share of outbursts from customers, clients and even your own co-workers.
What happens if you end up assaulted while on the job? Do you have a right to claim workers’ compensation benefits as a result?
It depends on the nature of the assault
The short answer is, “Yes, you can file a worker’s compensation claim in California after you’ve been assaulted on the job.”
The long answer is a lot more complicated. In general, you have to show that:
- You were not the initial physical aggressor in the situation
- The assault arose out of your employment in some way (not a personal motivation)
For example, if a customer is trying to return an unwanted gift and gets angry about the store’s return policy and throws the box at your head, injuring you, that’s clearly something that occurred because of your work activity (and nothing you provoked). On the other hand, if your ex-girlfriend’s father comes to your store and takes a swing at you because he’s unhappy with the way you broke up, that’s an attack that’s motivated by personal reasons – not your job.
It’s important to note that you may not be limited to just workers’ compensation in these situations. You may have a viable third-party claim against the person who assaulted you, the security staff and others. When you’re hurt through no fault of your own, it pays to explore all of your legal options for recovery.