An assault in the workplace involves any form of physical, sexual or verbal violence against an employee, perpetrated by a manager, colleague, customer or patient. In addition to physical injuries, assaults on the job can leave a victim to struggle with emotional and possibly even psychological harm. In some cases, assaults on the job are unpredictable events that could not have been prevented by the employee or employer. Unfortunately, some instances of workplace assaults in Georgia could have been avoided had the employer taken certain steps to protect the safety of his employees. If you have been the victim of an assault on the job in Atlanta, contact our experienced workplace assault attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak to discuss your legal options.
Workplace Assaults in GA and the United States
There are a number of different industries in which workers may be at risk for assaults on the job. For example, nurses working in the mental health sector, teachers, security guards, and employees working in late-night facilities like gas stations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all nonfatal injuries resulting from assaults on the job occur in healthcare and social service settings. Nurses and other personal care workers are the most common victims of workplace assaults, with 25 injuries annually resulting in days off work for every 10,000 full-time workers, a rate 12 times that of the overall private sector. The most dangerous settings for assaults on the job are nursing homes and psychiatric units, in which patients are often disoriented, confused or suffering from mental illness, as well as emergency rooms, in which long waits can anger patients.
Preventing Workplace Assaults in Georgia
While it isn’t possible for an employer to control the actions of every person that enters the workplace, they do have a responsibility to reduce the risk of workplace assaults as much as is practical. When dealing with mental health patients, for example, it is foreseeable that some of these patients may become aggressive and attempt to assault a staff member. For this reason, it is important that employers and supervisors regularly monitor the behavior and medication requirements of these patients, and that staff are made aware of any potential problems. The following are steps an employer can take to reduce the risk of assaults on the job:
- Adequate staff training
- Risk assessments of employee’s work and work environment
- Maintaining adequate staffing levels
Injuries Caused by Assaults on the Job in Marietta
According to a study published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2004, 13% of 6,300 Minnesota nurses surveyed reported having been physically attacked during the previous year, and 39% reported having been verbally abused, threatened, or sexually harassed. Patients were responsible for almost all of the physical assaults and two-thirds of the verbal ones, and physicians, visitors and other staff members were responsible for the rest. Physical injuries caused by workplace assaults are often the result of kicking, punching, biting, scratching and pulling hair and can include broken bones, lacerations, bruises, sprains, and more.
Pursuing Compensation for Assaults on the Job
In any personal injury claim, it is required that you prove that the other person owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty of care (negligence), and that the injuries you sustained were a reasonable foreseeable consequence of that negligence. If you have been assaulted while on-the-job, you may bring a claim against your employer under workers’ compensation. If you believe that a workplace assault occurred because the risks of your health and safety at work were high, that additional measures should have been taken by the owner or company that manages the premises where your workplace is located (not your employer) to prevent you from suffering harm, and that these precautions would have prevented the assault, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim against the owner or company that manages the premises where your workplace is located. In other cases, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who carried out the assault.
Contact Our Qualified Workplace Assaults Attorneys Today
Unfortunately, the level of violence in the workplace may be even higher than statistics currently show, since government figures represent only the most serious incidents. According to a 2004 booklet published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), violence in health care facilities is “likely to be underreported, perhaps due in part to the persistent perception within the healthcare industry that assaults are part of the job.” If you or a loved one has been injured by an assault on the job in Georgia, contact our qualified workplace assault attorneys at Rechtman & Spevak for help. You may have grounds to file a workers’ compensation claim against your employer, or a personal injury claim against the person who assaulted you, or the owner or manager of the premises where your workplace is located, for failing to take appropriate measures to prevent the assault. With the help of our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers, victims of assaults on the job in Marietta and Atlanta can pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries, medical bills, and other expenses.