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Can an Employer be Held Responsible for Workplace Violence?

Across the country this year there have been numerous instances of fatal workplace violence in which a disgruntled or disturbed employee (or former employee) attacks fellow workers in the workplace. These have included the San Bernardino terrorist attack and other incidents at California workplaces. Whether the victims of these incidents survive or perish, the families of these victims can and will experience significant financial hardships and will have to address the costs and effects of the incidents at a time when they are in shock and completely emotionally vulnerable. What is more, California’s worker’s compensation laws may be inadequate and even sometimes act to deny or delay victims’ and/or their families’ efforts to obtain financial relief, treatments, or financial damages to address the effects of the incident.

Worker’s Compensation Prevents Lawsuits Against Employers in General

 In general, when a worker is injured or killed in a workplace accident or incident with no fault of any third part, the applicant (either the injured worker and/or his or her family) will usually able to obtain specific financial benefits through the California worker’s compensation system. In exchange for the ability to receive this benefit, workers are generally limited in their claims for compensation against the employer. This is true regardless of who may be at fault in causing the workplace accident. However, if the workplace injury comes about as a result of the negligence of a third party, the applicant’s ability to recover financial compensation and benefits through the worker’s compensation program is not the exclusive remedy available; and the applicant may be able to bring a lawsuit to recover additional or separate compensation and damages from the responsible third party/company.

Exceptions to the Worker’s Compensation Program Limitation

 There are a few specific exceptions to the worker’s compensation laws, and each case is unique.  Each case, with all of its unique details should be reviewed with a qualified attorney to determine the needs of the injured worker and/or that worker’s family/heirs.

Evidence that may exist to help prove claim – e-mails, documents, witnesses, photographs, records, or other similar evidence – can be lost if investigation and/or preservation orders are not affected right away.

Speak with Heiting & Irwin Today

 If you or a loved one are injured while at work and believe the circumstances suggest that the employer or others may have caused or contributed to the accident or injuries, reach out to Heiting & Irwin, your Riverside personal injury law firm, as soon as possible. We will analyze the facts and circumstances of your case and help you determine what legal steps you may be able to take to assert your rights and obtain full and fair compensation. Call Heiting & Irwin at 951-682-6400 or reach out to us through our website.


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