Can I sue my company for an unsafe environment

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Can I sue my company for an unsafe environment

If I was at work and my coworker physically hit me and my supervisor and my manager is telling me not to say anything that they’re going to sweep it under the rug but I don’t feel comfortable doing that because the young lady put her hands on me do I have the right to file lawsuit against my company for allowing me to be placed in a dangerous situation at work

Asked on January 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did they know that this young lady was dangerous before she hit you, either generally or to you specifically? Had she hit you before (or pushed, shoved, etc. you)? Had she hit, etc. another person at work? Had she made any threats against you? Etc. If there was no reason to know this woman posed a threat, then there was no reason to guard against a threat; the situation was NOT known to be dangerous, and your employer would not be liable. 
(Note: if she attacks you again, now that they have warning, then the employer may well be liable.)
Also bear in mind that when someone hits you, you can only sue for your actual, out-of-pocket medical costs (not paid by insurance, etc.); lost wages, if it caused you to miss work; and some amount for "pain and suffering" IF you suffered significant, long lasting life impairment or disability--the law only provides compensation for actual costs and injuries. So if, as we hope, you were not badly hurt and did not incur much in the way of medical costs, there's no point in suing--you'd spend more on the suit than you'd get back.


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