Can I Get Workers’ Comp for a Fight at Work in North Carolina?
No one goes into work expecting to get in a fistfight. But unfortunately, some workplace disagreements escalate into physical arguments. If you were injured in a fight at work in North Carolina, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation depending on the circumstances of the case.
There are specific rules that must be followed in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. You must notify your employer, meet various deadlines, and submit strong evidence to prove that your injury was job-related. It’s also critical for your story to be told in a clear and convincing way. A North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer can help you construct a compelling case for full and fair benefits.
Reach out to Stewart Law Offices. We have been successfully representing injured people in the Carolinas for three decades.
Our firm’s client-centered legal approach puts your needs first. We’ll evaluate your claim and identify all potential sources of compensation for you. If workers’ compensation is not possible, you could still have a valid personal injury claim against whoever was involved in the fight.
Find out all of your legal options in a free consultation with a Charlotte workers’ comp lawyer today. Call or contact us now.
Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Getting Injured in a Workplace Fight?
The North Carolina workers’ compensation system provides no-fault benefits to employees who sustain injuries on the job. “No fault” means that in most cases, qualifying workers can receive monetary benefits for their injuries regardless of who is to blame.
The workers’ comp system was established so that injured employees can quickly receive money for medical treatment and lost wages as they heal. In exchange for guaranteed benefits, workers cannot sue their employers for negligence.
To qualify for workers’ compensation in North Carolina, you must be able to show that your injuries arose while you were performing duties within the scope of your employment. This principle extends to workplace fights, but can get tricky.
There aren’t many jobs in which fighting fits within the scope of your job duties. However, there are legitimate cases of work-related disputes turning into physical fights. Understanding exactly what happened could make or break your claim for benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help collect and organize the most important details for you.
Workplace Fight Injury Liability
While workers’ compensation does cover work-related injuries, certain criteria must be met for an injured employee to receive benefits after getting into a workplace fight.
First, you will have to show that the fight happened at work or in a work-related setting. Off-site injuries are generally covered by workers’ comp as long as the injury happened in relation to your work. Injuries that arise from office horseplay or during a lunch break are typically not covered by workers’ compensation.
Second, you will have to show that the cause of the fight had something to do with your job. For instance, if two coworkers get into a fight over a mutual project and it escalates to a physical confrontation, workers’ comp may apply. But if two people in a romantic relationship get into an altercation at work, they would likely not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits because the fight was personal.
In most cases of workplace violence, the aggressor is generally not eligible for benefits because he or she started the fight. It’s also important to know that if two coworkers get into an argument and decide to settle the dispute after work with a fight, neither party will be eligible for workers’ comp. This is because you both had a chance to cool down, but didn’t, which means the fight no longer has anything to do with your job.
How to Prove a Fight Was Caused by Work
Proving an injury from a workplace fight was caused by your work can be difficult. No matter whether you were the aggressor or not, your employer or its workers’ comp insurer will likely try to avoid paying your claim by arguing that your injuries did not occur within the scope of your work. If your claim is denied, you could be facing a significant financial loss.
A workers’ comp attorney can help demonstrate that your injury was work-related by collecting key pieces of evidence to support your claim. Examples include:
- Human Resources documents: If you have a history of problems with a co-worker, HR complaints may show a pattern of mistreatment toward you.
- Witness interviews: If your fight happened at work, chances are someone else was around to see it. Statements from co-workers can add crucial context to a fight, including how the fight started and who threw the first punch. You want to avoid being painted as the aggressor in the fight if you want to claim any workers’ comp benefits.
- Surveillance footage: If your workplace has cameras, there may be footage of the fight. This can offer concrete evidence of a fight’s progression, and if there is audio, the recordings can offer a complete record of what led to the altercation.
- Medical records: Records from your doctor can verify the extent of your injuries as well as shed light on how those injuries were caused.
Accessing the evidence you need to support a workers’ compensation claim can be difficult without the help of an experienced work injury attorney. Let Stewart Law Offices do the heavy lifting for you. We’ll leave no stone unturned to uncover the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Third-Party Claims for Fights at Work
Even if you are not eligible for workers’ compensation, you may have other legal options at your disposal after a job fight. You could file a third-party personal injury claim against the person who started the fight.
Personal injury claims do not have to be work-related for you to recover compensation. There are many cases in which someone may not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits but has a valid injury claim against the person who hurt them. For instance, if you got into a fight with an outside contractor or vendor on a job site, you may have a claim against them, even if you’re ineligible for workers’ comp payments.
One benefit of third-party personal injury claims is that they offer compensation for losses that workers’ comp claims don’t cover. In addition to compensation for your medical bills and missed wages, you can also claim compensation for your physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, any property that was damaged in the fight, and more.
When to Contact a N.C. Workers’ Comp Lawyer
You should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after a fight. This is especially true if you were not the instigator of the fight. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner he or she can begin gathering the necessary evidence to support your claim and start filing the right paperwork. Navigating the workers’ comp process can take a lot of time, so the earlier you get started, the better.
How Stewart Law Offices Can Help
A fight at work can lead to complicated questions about whether compensation is possible to help with the medical costs and other losses associated with your injuries. Get the answers you need from a N.C. workers’ compensation lawyer at Stewart Law Offices.
To learn more about how we can help with your workers’ comp claim, call or visit our contact page to schedule your free initial consultation.