Can you sue your employer if a co-worker assaulted you?

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Can you sue your employer if a co-worker assaulted you?

I was working lifting heavy boxes and instead of handing one of the boxes to me, my co-worker threw it at me. It hit me on my side and when I was not able to catch ithe box, it landed on my ankle. I informed a manager but they did not have me fill out any kind of report even though I informed them that another co-worker assaulted me. This co-worker threw boxes on the previous day, yet was not fired or disciplined. I believe they did not take adequate steps to insure a safe work environment as required by OSHA.

Asked on November 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

IF the coworker did throw boxes the prior day and that was reported to management, and that report was credible, you *might* be able to hold them liable in theory, for negligent (or careless) supervision: i.e. not taking reasonable steps to safeguard employees when aware of a particular threat.
But what would you sue them for? The law only provides compensation in cases like this for actual out-of-pocket (not paid by insurance) medical costs and, if you suffer significant long-lasting disability or impairment, some amount (likely small, in the case of strains, etc.) for "pain and suffering." But you do not indicate any injury: without a substantial injury or medical costs, there is no point in suing, because you  would not get any money from the lawsuit.


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