New York Workers’ Comp Case: Fights at Work
Here’s an interesting question. Are fights covered under workers’ compensation so that if you get into a fight at work and get hurt, are you eligible for benefits? The answer is yes, usually.
The first question of course is whether the fight stemmed from your work. So, for example, we had a beer delivery driver who was told not to leave his truck. Nevertheless, he left his truck in a moment of anger to argue with a cab driver who cut him off. The cabbie punched our client in the eye and the Beer Company claimed this was outside of his job assignment. We actually showed that it was within the job duties because it was a heat- of- the moment argument.
Usually the question with any fight at work is whether the fight was due to the job. For example, we once had a case in which an irate boyfriend came to the job to beat up his girlfriend. This was not workers’ compensation as the fight, or in this case, the beating, was based on personal reasons and not job reasons.
On the other hand, if a fight breaks out at work over work issues and the assailant follows the co-worker off the premises to attack the co-worker, this would be workers’ compensation because the fight was caused by job-related issues and was initiated on the job site. So, you can have an assault at work that is not covered by workers’ compensation and an assault at home that is covered. The question is whether the fight was work-related.
If a fight is a mixture of work issues and personal issues, this should be enough to qualify for workers’ compensation. And, if you started the fight, you might still be eligible if the fight was in the heat of the moment. But, if you came to work looking for a fight and you are the one who starts it and gets hurt, you will likely be denied benefits.
Now, if there is a question of whether or not you are entitled and the insurance company denies you benefits, you can retain a lawyer and take your case to a workers’ compensation judge to decide. The key question is really whether you got hurt or not. If you did get hurt, you need to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately as claims involving altercations are often denied by the insurance company and often ruled in your favor by a judge.
Additionally, if you are hurt at work because you were fooling around such as throwing snowballs on a cold day or tossing something around, this is also likely to be challenged by the insurance company and likely accepted by the judge. Essentially, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that should take into account that people often spend moments at work engaged in non-work activity and should not be denied their benefits due to minor mistakes. Still, insurance companies often look for ways to save money and deny claims, challenging you to stand up for your rights.
Contact a New York Workers’ Comp Attorney
Please call me, an experienced New York workers’ comp attorney if you have any questions about possible benefits, whether you were involved in an altercation at work or hurt during some type of activity that involved just plain kidding around. Contact the Law Office of Robert A. Koenigsberg at (212) 964-9292 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.