Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Eligibility – Work Assault Cases


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The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law lays out eligibility requirements for work accidents. One of the most complex and often disputed issues relating to eligibility involves the PA Workers’ Compensation law course of employment requirement. Click here to read more about the PA Workers’ Compensation Act course of employment requirement as defined in Section 301(c).

There are three situations when a work accident may be deemed to have occurred outside the course of employment, and therefore, the injured worker may be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits. They include workplace assaults, workplace car accidents and accidents which occur off the employer’s premises/place of business. The fact that an injured worker might be ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits in no way affects the right to file other types of claims, including negligence claims and/or product liability claims. In fact, many injured workers may still have legal recourse and be able to file lawsuits against employers and other parties. Related: Injured Workers’ Rights in Pennsylvania-Recovery Beyond Workers’ Compensation

Below is a discussion of the course of employment requirement in workplace assault cases.

Workplace Assaults, The Personal Animosity Exclusion AKA Personal Nature Exception

With respect to workplace assaults, Section 301(c) provides as follows:

“The term “injury arising in the course of his employment,” as used in this article, shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him, and not directed against him as an employe or because of his employment…” (emphasis added)

This means that when a worker is hurt as a result of intentional behavior, such as an assault or workplace violence, the incident might be deemed to have occurred outside the course of employment if the assault/violence occurred as a result of reasons personal to the employee and not as a result of the employment. Related: Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Benefits – Assaults/Robberies at Work

Example: A store clerk who is robbed and assaulted while working would probably be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits because the robbery and assault occurred as a result of the employment. However, a store clerk who was being stalked by an ex-boyfriend and assaulted while on the job would probably be found ineligible for benefits because the assault occurred due to reasons personal to the clerk, i.e., being stalked.

It is very important to note that in either of these situations, the injured store clerk may be able to file other types of claims. Therefore, it is crucial to have a work assault case reviewed by a work accident lawyer.

Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation & Accident Lawyers. FREE Consultations. Click To Call

The Philadelphia law firm of Laffey, Bucci & Kent represents workers who are injured on the job. Our work accident lawyers specialize in handling negligence cases against third parties and may handle workers’ compensation cases. Depending on the facts of a given work accident case, the firm may refer the workers’ compensation case to another law firm. Please call the firm for a free consultation. Click To Call

Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.