Most work-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, including injuries sustained by another coworker. There are some instances, however, that are not subject to workers’ compensation but may warrant a personal injury lawsuit. Let’s explore your different legal options if you’ve been hurt by a coworker.
What to do if the Injury is Work-Related
Work-related accidents are unexpected incidents that happen while taking part in normal work-related activities and lead to an injury or loss. Coworkers often cause these accidents during the course of regular employment. If you were hurt by a coworker under these circumstances, take care to follow these three steps.
- Notify your employer immediately so they can make notes, help you receive treatment and contact the appropriate authorities.
- Document the accident and your injuries as soon as possible. Be as thorough and as detailed as you can about your pain and limitations resulting from the injury, as well as any medications you are taking. Obtain a copy of your human resources department’s record of the incident as well if they create one. Both your document and their record can assist your claim later on.
- Fill out your state’s or employer’s work injury accident report or claim form within 30 days or less of the accident. These forms generally require your personal information, as well as information about your accident including where and when it happened, how it occurred, who was involved, details of your injury and the medical treatment you receive. Give one copy to your employer, and keep one copy for yourself.
What You Can do if Your Injury is Not Work-Related
If you were hurt by a coworker during an activity that was not work-related, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them in civil court. If they harmed you on purpose, if their negligence resulted in your harm or if you were injured because they didn’t exercise the expected amount of reasonable care, they may be held liable for your injuries in civil court.
Situations, where you could be hurt by a coworker that fall outside the realm of typical work-related activities and, therefore, outside the realm of workers’ compensation, include the following examples.
- Horseplay, or goofing off, can result in injuries that are not generally covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you weren’t actually participating in the horseplay or if goofing off is acceptable in your normal work environment, you may still be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
- If your coworker causes you harm while you are on your lunch breaks, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to file a workers’ comp claim.
- Disputes between coworkers that aren’t work-related and that lead to injuries are not usually subject to workers’ comp claims.
Contact a Lawyer if You Were Hurt by a Coworker
Whether your injury falls under the realm of workers’ compensation or a civil suit, contacting a lawyer is in your best interests. Our team of professionals at McMahan Law Firm has experience handling workers’ comp and personal injury cases in the Chattanooga, TN area. Contact us as soon as possible if you’ve been hurt by a coworker to get the compensation you deserve.