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Can you get workers’ compensation for workplace violence?

As you and other California residents know, workers’ compensation is meant to compensate you for your medical expenses and income loss related to an accident or illness on the job. It is not uncommon to wonder if you are eligible for workers’ comp if you suffer an injury due to workplace violence.

Violence in the workplace, unfortunately, is not a rare occurrence. After all, people’s emotions and outbursts are not turned off the moment they clock in. Some of your co-workers can naturally be combative and difficult to get along with, while others may be pushed past their breaking point by a disagreement among staff or from stress in their home lives. As a result, you could be injured during an argument that becomes physical. Emotional violence is also not to be discounted. This could include the stress and anxiety you experience from being bullied by co-workers or threatened, intimidated and belittled by your boss.

As the American Bar Association explains, workers’ compensation covers workplace injuries in most work-related situations. Therefore, if a co-worker punches you at work or you develop chronic anxiety from workplace bullying, you may be eligible for workers’ comp. After-hours violence would not apply – for example, if you go out to a bar with your co-workers on Friday night and an intoxicated co-worker takes a swing at you, this does not count as a work-related injury.

Applying for workers’ compensation after a violent incident on the job can be complicated. Therefore, this information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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