Some workers’ compensation cases are cut-and-dry. If you cut your hand on a piece of work equipment and need treatment, you’ll receive workers’ comp. If you get hit by a car while working on a construction site, you’ll receive workers’ comp. But what happens if you get involved in a fight at work? That’s more of a gray area.
If you’ve been injured at work, you might wonder if you have a valid workers’ comp claim. We can help. Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880 to talk more about your injuries and what your next steps should be.
What Caused the Fight?
One of the most important questions to ask in this situation is, “What caused the fight?” If the fight was related to your work, it may be covered by workers’ compensation. For example, consider a fight at a restaurant where two servers think a high-tipping table is in their section. The argument escalates quickly and turns into a fistfight. If the involved parties are seriously injured, they may have a valid claim.
Consider a fight caused by two workers who just discovered they’re dating the same person, both believing they were the only one the person was dating. Their argument turns into an all-out brawl. Since this fight is not work-related, it may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
Determining Who Started the Fight
The other important factor in an Alabama workplace fight is who started the fight. We’ll use the restaurant example again. The server who throws the first punch is considered the aggressor. The second person is allowed to defend themselves by fighting back.
If this happens and the first party ends up seriously injured, can they then get workers’ compensation benefits for the fight they started? Generally, no. If you start a fight at work, you usually can’t ask your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to pay for your injuries. However, if you were not the instigator of the fight, you will likely be able to receive fair compensation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Workplace Fight
What do you do if you believe you have a valid workers’ compensation claim for a workplace fight? You’ll want to speak to an attorney as soon as possible after reporting the incident to your workplace.
Since workers’ compensation is a system that benefits both employees and employers, you might expect your employer to provide full benefits without any pushback. That isn’t always the case, especially when the cause of the injuries is an avoidable fight. Your employer and their insurance company might do whatever they can to avoid paying out your claim.
There are several ways they might do this. First, they might claim the injuries aren’t bad enough to require medical care or time off of work. Second, they might try to claim that the fight was caused by a non-work-related issue. If they can make a strong enough case that the fight was personal in nature, rather than work-related, they have a good shot at denying your claim.
Finally, they might try to paint you as the aggressor in the incident. They can try to plant doubt by asking what you said to cause the other person to become aggressive as if anything verbal would be enough to trigger a physical fight. If their questions start venturing into these areas, it’s time to shelve the conversation and return to it after speaking to an attorney.
In situations like these where you might be entering a grey area, it’s important to work with an attorney who is well-versed in Alabama workers’ compensation law. They’ll understand the complications surrounding a workplace fight and know what it takes to get a claim successfully processed. At Thiry & Caddell, we focus on helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve after a workplace accident, and we will be happy to take a look at your case.
Find Out How Thiry & Caddell Can Help You
Are you ready to pursue a workers’ compensation claim and get the benefits you are owed? Let Thiry & Caddell guide you through this process and protect your rights. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 251-478-8880 or .