Workplace shootings are, sadly, becoming much more common. We’re even seeing them in places where we don’t normally expect guns to come out. Workplace violence is on the rise generally, and there are places where the employees have always faced the possibility of violence, such as hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, emergency services, and even convenience stores. Most incidents aren’t as dangerous as a shooting, but the statistics do serve to demonstrate that many employees risk their lives every time they go to work in the morning.
As the public becomes angrier and better armed it’s possible that anyone who works with customers could be in danger of getting shot on the job. Under New Jersey law, those injuries would be covered by workers compensation.
Any instance of violence in the workplace is covered by workers compensation if:
- The injury arose out of the course of your employment.
- You did not instigate the incident.
- You adhered to all workplace health and safety standards.
There are some cases where employers might have some grounds to try to wriggle out of responsibility for your claim. For example if the shooter was a disgruntled ex who trespassed onto the property for the express purposes of shooting at you then your employer may well claim that the gunshot did not “arise out of the course of your employment.” It might be frustrating to hear yourself being essentially blamed for nearly getting killed, but no employer will generally pay any claim they do not absolutely have to pay for, and will try to get out of paying claims on the basis of nearly any technicality.
Note that even if the suit isn’t compensable under workers compensation it may be compensable in other ways. Employers have a duty of care to keep their workplace safe and secure. If they’re going to claim the shooting did not arise out of the course of your employment then they may open themselves up to personal injury liability instead. However, it is unlikely you will be successful pressing such a claim on your own: you will need a lawyer to do so on your behalf.
Not sure whether your workplace shooting will be covered? Have an employer who is balking at paying the claim, or an insurer who has canceled your workers compensation benefits for no reason?
Reach out to Talone Law to get help today.