A New York State appellate court dealt a devastating blow to workers in the state. They declared workers who sustain injuries in the workplace as a result of an assault, are not eligible to receive Worker’s Compensation benefits. They defined an assault in the workplace as a personal attack on the claimant; therefore, the victim is not entitled to receive benefits. Personal attacks fueled by indifference and animosity aren’t grounds for a Worker’s Comp claim.
The court’s decision came after a woman suffered injuries to her neck, back, shoulder and experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after her confrontation. The New York State Department of Law employee was assaulted while taking a shuttle bus to a designated work parking lot that was positioned away from the building.
While on the bus, the victim was assaulted by another rider. The assault was fueled by the assailant’s frustration with the New York Department of Law employee because she was not moving fast enough on the bus. After the 2 began arguing, the fight became physical, and the woman was injured.
After the woman’s insurance company declined coverage, she took her case to the Worker’s Comp board. The Worker’s Comp board agreed with the insurance company, declaring she was not entitled to benefits because she was not injured due to a work related accident. They declared the altercation was a personal attack against the employee, despite the fact the woman had never met her attacker before the moment in the shuttle.
The court’s decision could have potentially devastating effects on Worker’s Comp claims across the US.