In a previous post, the issue of Compensation for assaults by a co-worker was addressed. The question was asked if an assault by a co-worker was covered by Worker’s Compensation. The answer was Compensation would cover a claim arising out of an assault that occurred on the job. A second issue that may arise in this case is the right of an employee to directly sue a co-employee for assault.
Generally, employees may sue not their co-worker’s for negligence. If your co-worker’s negligence causes you to sustain injuries on the job, then your exclusive remedy is Compensation benefits. However, if that co-worker punches you, then you can also sue that co-worker for assault. Unlike Compensation claims, in a suit for assault, the injured employee can obtain an award for pain and suffering.
Sometimes, direct suits against co-workers do not work out. Sometimes, employees may not be able to identify the assailant. Sometimes, law suits against co-workers result in judgments that can never be collected because the assailant is insolvent.
But the injured worker can still elect to sue the assailant and can have a judgment against that person in the event the assailant ever becomes solvent in the future.