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Assaulted at Work? You May Qualify for Workers’ Compensation

Assaulted while at work?  Are your injuries covered by workers’ compensation?  Answer: Maybe.

The Nebraska Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in McDaniel v. Western Sugar Co-Op.  In McDaniel, the claimant was assaulted by a co-worker because the claimant was a registered sex offender.  The issue was whether the claimant was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  The Nebraska Court of Appeals said no.

To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits an injury must arise out of and be sustained in the course of employment.  The phrase “arising out of employment” is used to describe the accident, its origins, cause, and character, i.e. whether it resulted from the risks arising from within the scope or sphere of the employee’s job.

“In order for an assault for personal reasons to be brought within the sphere of ‘arising out of employment’ the employment must somehow exacerbate the animosity or dispute or facilitate an assault that would otherwise not be made.”

Under the facts of McDaniel, the Nebraska Court of Appeals found that the mere fact that the two men worked together was not enough to make the assault compensable under Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Law.

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