Recently, a 29-year-old patient at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, New Jersey lashed out at hospital staff, kicking a nurse in the stomach, and spitting at a security guard. When the police arrived on the scene around 4:00 a.m., the patient violently resisted arrest, head-butting the officer. About three hours later, while the patient was being monitored by law enforcement, he allegedly spat on two other officers and has been charged with two counts of throwing bodily fluids at a law enforcement officer. The patient, a resident of New York, is being held in Hudson County jail on a $10,000 bail.
Fortunately, no one was severely injured in this incident, however on-the-job assaults like this can be an unfortunate everyday reality for people working in certain high-risk professions. The following professionals may be at increased risk:
- Security guards
- Police officers
- Nightclub bouncers
- Parole officers
- Probation officers
- Corrections officers
- Hospital staff, including nurses and orderlies
In these jobs, workers are at risk of being assaulted by the public who they are serving. However, employees in any profession can be assaulted at work by an angry, hostile co-worker. If you were assaulted by a coworker, and the incident is somehow related to your job, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
In addition to being eligible for Workers’ Compensation, employees who are assaulted on the job may also have a legal claim against the third-party who perpetrated the assault, or even a negligent security company.
Sadly, many nurses providing routine care to their patients have come to expect being assaulted from patients, particularly elderly patients or those with dementia or a fear of hospital confinement. Nurses tend to think that when they get a dislocated shoulder or twisted ankle from dealing with an unruly patient, that its just part of their job. However in New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation exists to provide employees with coverage for medical expenses and lost wages when applicable.
Some studies have found that incidents of hospital violence are on the rise. This may be because short-staffed hospitals are taking on more and more patients, and caregivers are burdened with more demanding tasks. This leaves nurses an inadequate amount of time to look out for warning signs such as patients’ behavioral issues. Interestingly, increasing rates of obesity may also be a factor, as heavier patients are more likely to cause injury in an assault.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help Injured Nurses Get Compensation for Patient Inflicted Injuries
If you have been assaulted at work, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. The experienced New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell have been dedicated to helping injured workers and their families for over eight decades. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Keansburg, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Union Beach and Neptune.