Many Americans may be surprised to learn just how dangerous the nursing profession can be. Philly.com reports that the Government Accountability Office places workplace violence rates at five to twelve times higher for healthcare and social assistance jobs than other workplace settings. No nurse should be assaulted, physically or verbally, on the job. When assaults do occur, nurses have the right to be compensated for injuries, lost wages, and other financial losses. Learn more about the types of violence nurses encounter in the workplace, and what legal rights an injured nurse has after being subjected to such attacks.
Shocking Case Studies
Violence in the workplace is another very real danger faced by healthcare professionals. CNN reports on a series of troubling violent incidents in hospitals, including: a Baltimore doctor who was shot and critically injured by a gunman; a man in Valley Stream, New York who broke a chair and used the legs to beat a nurse; a gunman who opened fire in a Laurinburg, North Carolina hospital after a bar fight; and a man who killed two hospital employees in a Columbus, Georgia after being dissatisfied with his mother’s care. CNN interviewed one emergency nurse who reported that she had been scratched, bitten, spat upon, and struck hard enough to break her jaw. The assailant later apologized, saying that he was “tired of waiting.” Philly.com reports on a Massachusetts emergency department nurse who was repeatedly stabbed by a patient who was unhappy with his medical care. It also reports that two nurses in Geneva, Illinois were taken hostage by a patient who was also a prison inmate. One nurse was beaten and sexually assaulted at gunpoint before being released.
Injured Workers Are Entitled to Compensation
The South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (Title 42 of the South Carolina Code of Laws) protects the rights of injured workers to be compensated for injuries they sustain on the job. It does this by setting forth insurance mandates for employers and establishing a workers’ compensation commission to enforce the provisions of the Act. Injured workers can obtain compensation by filing claims with their employer’s workers' compensation insurance carrier, or by appealing any adverse decisions to the workers' compensation commission. It is also important to know that emotional injuries count as losses that can be compensated. Physical violence and sexual assault in the workplace cause psychological harm, and workers' compensation coverage is available for those injuries, as well. When injuries permanently impair an employee’s ability to work, he or she may be entitled to disability benefits. This is a complicated process which requires an independent medical finding that the injury is permanent. In spite of the challenge, it is important for injured workers to explore all possible forms of compensation, to ensure that they are adequately compensated for the trauma and injuries they have sustained. Long-term illnesses, such as heart disease or arthritis, which are job-related can also entitle an employee to worker’s compensation coverage. An experienced Columbia workers' compensation attorney can help nurses access all available disability and worker’s compensation coverage for injuries and illnesses caused by their work.