According to OSHA, Healthcare workers, face a higher rate of injury from aggressive behavior than other professions. These physical assaults can result in serious injury, disability, and death. Hospital workers and their families are entitled to all of the benefits provided under workers compensation laws.
Encountering Aggression is Part of the Job
Nurses, EMTs, and other healthcare professionals routinely come face to face with the aggressive behavior of others. Their work often places them in tension-filled, traumatic settings.
Many workers accept the violence as part of the job. In fact, healthcare workers at in-patient facilities like hospitals face five times more workplace violence incidents than workers in other industries.
The violence can come from many, and sometimes unexpected sources. Encounters with distraught family members and friends, facility visitors, co-workers, and the patients themselves have resulted in serious injuries to hospital workers.
In Illinois, hospital aggression has risen to alarming levels. A Chicago Tribune report in May detailed the assault against two nurses and rape of one by a jail inmate who was at their hospital for treatment.
OSHA points out that physical violence is only part of the problem. In addition to physical injury, healthcare workers suffer emotional stress and psychological trauma from verbal assaults and threats. Making a claim for benefits in such cases may be difficult, even for healthcare professionals, and injured victims often consult with a workers compensation attorney for assistance.
Healthcare Workers Have Rights
When workplace violence occurs in a hospital setting, it is usually treated as a criminal matter first. In some cases, workers may delay contacting a workers compensation attorney as the criminal case plays out in courts.
Healthcare workers retain the same rights to compensation for workplace injuries as those in other fields. Injuries caused by aggression and violence from another person in a healthcare setting are workplace injuries, fully covered by workers compensation benefits. These benefits include:
- Medical expenses
- Compensation for temporary or permanent total or partial disability
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Death benefits for survivors
Healthcare workers face injuries from many causes. Ankle sprains, slips and falls, needle sticks are all common causes of workplace injury in hospitals. However, none are as physically and psychologically devastating and potentially life-threatening as aggressive violence from another person. Healthcare workers who suffer a workplace violence injury must be aware of their rights and take appropriate action to protect them.