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Workers’ Compensation for Fights on the Job

young manager arguing with older workerIf you suffer an injury in the course of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, it all depends on how you suffer the injury. If it was during a fight, you may or may not be eligible.

This is why it is so important to discuss the situation with a licensed workers’ compensation attorney. The attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell discuss this issue below. For assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, request a free, no obligation consultation today.

Determining Eligibility for Benefits

Generally, the person who started the fight cannot receive workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries he or she may have suffered. This is usually true even if the aggressor ends up with more severe injuries than the other person.

The same standard often applies to horseplay, and some fights could be considered horseplay.

However, sometimes fights are more complicated, and in these situations, it may be more difficult to determine if either of the workers involved are eligible for benefits.

Investigators may look to determine if the fight occurred during the normal scope of work, while performing work-related tasks offsite and if the reason for the attack was related to a workplace issue.

If the dispute that led to the fight is personal, the fight will probably not be considered work-related, even though the fight happened at work.

An investigation may also look at if the fight was the result of workplace harassment related to a protected class.

If you are not eligible for benefits for fight injuries, filing a third-party claim against the aggressor may be an option to recover compensation for your damages.

Could You Get Fired After a Fight?

California is an at-will employment state, which means you could potentially be fired for involvement in a workplace fight.

You could also be fired for other reasons that have nothing to do with the fight itself, such as:

  • Your employer would experience an unreasonable financial hardship to accommodate your temporary or permanent disability
  • The business would suffer waiting for you to return for work
  • Replacement positions that accommodate your injuries are not available
  • Your employer is not happy with your work performance

While employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers injured on the job, they are not required to hold jobs open forever if an injured employee is unable to work. Employers are also not required to put an employee back in his or her original position once he or she is able to return to work.

However, it is illegal for an employer to fire you in retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, like filing a workers’ compensation claim or missing work because of injuries you suffered on the job.

Discuss Your Claim with a Licensed Attorney

The Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys of Berry, Smith & Bartell have helped many injured workers access the benefits they need. If you have a valid claim, we are prepared to thoroughly investigate your claim and gather the evidence needed to help us try to prove you are eligible for benefits.

Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn about your possible legal options. There are no upfront fees, and we are only paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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