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I got assaulted at work by another coworker he struck me with heavy box & left me a bruise. 1 week later my employer wont help

Banning, CA |

I got assaulted at work by another coworker he threw a heavy box at me for no reason & he left me a big nasty bruise on my arm & he just laughed. I reported it to my employer and it took a week for them to get back to me. My employer is trying to force me to do workers comp , which I did not hurt myself at work it was that coworker that struck me with that heavy box, My employer said to write a letter that I didn't get injured, They are forcing me to do one or the other. That's not right. And they are still going to have that employee work with me he won't be punished. I was assaulted with battery and my employer says they can't do nothing. I need help! What can I do to pursue legal action?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Your employer has evidently concluded that the injury was not an assault but a work-place accident. Given that determination, your employer is correct to instruct you to make a worker's comp report of the injury. Your employer is not required to punish or terminate the other employee in these circumstances. If you are convinced that the employee's actions were purposeful in injuring you, then you can make a report to the police. Do not expect much investigation or action from the police under these circumstances, however. You can bring a private suit against the co-worker but in the absence of probative evidence that the employees action was purposeful, there is not much point. If the injury was not intended, it is a worker's compensation matter.

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Posted

If you were injured on the job, it is appropriate that your employer wants you to record it as an injury. This is true even if you do not have serious injuries from the incident. Your refusal to do so can result in discipline or termination. Right or not, it is not unlawful and you need to comply with your employer's lawful orders.

The employer has an affirmative obligation to maintain a safe work environment. However, it can make the determination that it believes the incident does not indicate a risk of future injury, and if it wants, it can even refuse to discipline the box thrower.

If you want to do so you can sue the co-worker for battery. However, those kinds of lawsuit are rarely worth the time and money it takes to bring them. If all you got is a bruise, it would be foolish to sue over a bruise.

Good luck to you.

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Posted

I agree with both of my colleagues. I would add that your employer cannot instruct you to state you were not injured at work, but they can instruct you to fill out workers' compensation paperwork, which covers injuries that occur at work, which this one appears to have been. You can ask HR to set schedules to avoid you working with the other employee, but the employer is only under an obligation to investigate the incident and not to change schedules if it comes to the conclusion it was an accident or there is no threat for future harm.

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Posted

As far as workers' comp is concerned, whether your coworker intended to hurt you or not, any resulting injury requiring medical treatment would be covered by workers' compensation, for which you would have to file a claim. Given that you have only a bruise, you may not require medical treatment and therefore would not be able to file a claim. Claims can be filed for any injury requiring more than first-aid.

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