In 2019, 761 workers died in the United States from intentional injuries caused by another person in the workplace, as stated by OSHA. Currently, acts of violence and other injuries is the third leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the country.
As defined by OSHA, “Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.“ Perpetrators of workplace violence on construction sites may be customers or clients, co-workers, friends or family of workers, or complete strangers.
Who Is Liable for Workplace Violence?
When someone is injured or killed through violence in the workplace, there may be multiple potentially liable parties:
- Liability for employers: Under OSHA regulations, employers are required to provide workers with a place of employment “free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause serious harm to employees.” Employers have an obligation to implement workplace violence prevention programs when they have identified or experienced acts of violence or become aware of threats. To protect workers from injury or death, they should take adequate steps to prevent violence. Employers may be held liable for hiring employees without proper background checks and for failing to terminate workers who demonstrate violent tendencies.
- Liability for third parties: Property owners and managers have a duty to minimize foreseeable dangers present on the property, including criminal acts by third parties. If the owner knew or should have known of the probability of criminal actions that were likely to endanger the safety of persons lawfully on the premises. When a worker is injured on the job by an act of violence, potentially, the site owner may be held liable. In the case of a violent attack on a construction site, a third party such as subcontractor or a security company may be liable.
Are Violent Attacks On Construction Sites Covered By Workers’ Comp Insurance?
Workers injured on the job in New York are generally entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Are they still covered when injury results from a violent attack? That depends on what the attack was related to. An assault against one employee by another employee should be covered by workers’ comp provided the assault was related in some way to a work situation. In 2012, the New York Supreme Court ruled that workplace assaults are not covered by workers’ compensation if they are “motivated by purely personal animosity.”
If your injuries are not covered by workers’ comp, you may file a personal injury claim against the perpetrator in civil court. If liability can be established for your employer, the company may have workplace violence insurance, in addition to workers’ comp, that may cover your injuries.
Do You Need a Lawyer After Being Attacked on a Construction Site?
Violent attacks present a serious risk for construction workers today. Employers, policymakers, and workers must prioritize safety on construction sites. They must implement effective risk management strategies to prevent these incidents from occurring.
If you have been seriously injured in a violent attack on a construction site, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced New York personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Our team of seasoned trial lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP have extensive experience successfully representing injured construction workers. We have recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for our clients.
Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation. We can explain your options for compensation after a violent construction site attack.