In the City of Brotherly Love, a Philadelphia Cheesesteak Shop Owner was stabbed in the neck by an employee. The news report indicated that the employee lunged “at his boss from behind and thrusting a 10-inch knife into his neck.” It was also reported that the store owner’s son was present “his son grabbed two knives and tried to ward off the employee, the footage shows. nypost.com
After the attack, the store owner said, his son told him: “Dad, you have a knife in your neck … Don’t pull it out.”
In California, this incident may be considered as a work injury entitling either the owner or the son benefits. There are several questions that need to be addressed to make a determination.
Can an Employer File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The answer is “yes” and “no.” In California, it is possible that a Business Owner can be covered under workers’ compensation. Generally, if the company is a corporation and the owner is an employee of the corporation, they may be able to be covered as an employee. This must be arranged within the policy’s terms. If so, just like their fellow employees, an employer can file a work injury claim.
Thus, if covered, in the fact pattern reported above, the owner could file a claim for both his physical injury and possibly for a mental injury.
Can The Owner’s Son File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Yes. If his son was a company employee, he could file a claim. In California, if the son suffered emotional distress over witnessing the violent event, it is possible that he could pursue a psychiatric workers’ injury claim.
It should be noted California Workers’ Compensation Law treats Psychiatric Injuries caused by Violent Events differently from other Psychiatric Injuries. If a Psychiatric Injury is caused by a Violent Event, the causation threshold for proving an injury is lowered. This means that it is easier to qualify to attain it.. For Violent Events, the causation standard is lowered to a substantial cause. This means at least 35 to 40 percent. See Labor Code Section 3208.3
Beyond Workers’ Compensation, Are There Any Other Benefits That Either The Owner or Son Could Collect?
Even if the Owner or the Son are not considered an Employees, there is a special Victims Compensation Board Program in California. The Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board administers the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP.) The program provides forms of compensation for victims of crime. The crimes, which may eligible for the program, can include domestic violence, child abuse, assault, sexual assault, elder abuse, molestation, homicide, robbery, hate crimes, drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter, human trafficking, stalking and online harassment.
To be eligible for compensation, a person must be a victim of a qualifying crime involving physical injury, threat of physical injury or death. For certain crimes, an emotional injury alone is enough to qualify. Certain family members and loved ones who suffer an economic loss from an injury to, or death of, a victim of a crime may also be eligible for compensation.
What If I Need Legal Advice?
If you would like a free consultation concerning any workers’ compensation case, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 28 years. Contact us today for more information.