You have legal options if you have been injured by a coworker. You can sometimes assert a claim for workers’ compensation, but you may be able to submit a personal injury claim as well. The facts of your particular situation will determine which type of case you should assert.

After you have been hurt by a coworker, you should speak to a lawyer to assist in determining what you should do from a legal standpoint. You should act quickly as there may be notice or claim limitations that you should consider.

What Type of Claim Should I Assert?

Generally, if your coworker has harmed you in the course of your employment, your claim is likely going to be addressed through workers’ compensation. This is because your employer is responsible for the actions of its employees, including when they harm one another while carrying out work activities.

If, however, your coworker hurt you intentionally or was not carrying out some business for your employer, then your employer likely will not be responsible. This means that workers’ compensation probably will not apply. Instead, you can assert a personal injury claim against your coworker individually. In some circumstances, you may also be able to involve your employer as well.

Non-work injuries may have occurred during a lunch break or while the employees were engaging in horseplay. Fights or altercations can also cause non-work related injuries between coworkers.

What Should I Do if the Injury Was Work-Related?

An injury is work-related if it arose out of and in the course of your employment. Generally, if you and your coworker were engaging in an activity that benefits your employer, the accident will likely be considered work related.

If your accident is work related, then workers’ compensation will likely apply to your situation. You should let your employer know about your injuries and the details of the accident as soon as possible after the incident. If you need medical attention, be sure to get the care you need immediately. You can let your employer know about the accident after you have been taken to get emergency care if necessary.

Be sure to also document your injuries and the facts of the incident. Knowing exactly what happened may help your workers’ compensation case. Write down what happened while all of the details are fresh in your mind in case you need this information later. You should also be sure to fill out a work accident report or ensure that your employer makes this report for you.

There will likely be someone from human resources or a similar department to get your statement about the injuries. Your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will also likely want to get your statement. You should talk to an attorney before speaking with the insurance company, however.

What if the Injury Is Not Work-Related?

You can still likely sue your coworker directly for your injuries, even if the claim is not work related. You must either show that the act was intentional and that the harm was intentional or that the coworker was negligent or careless, and that carelessness caused the injuries.