Case law in Massachusetts tells us that an injury may arise in the course and scope of an Employee’ s employment, even though the Employee is not engaged in the actual performance of his duties at the moment of the injury.
The obvious questions is, how?
“‘All that is required is that the Employee’s activity be incidental to and not inconsistent with his employment.’ ”D’Angeli’s Case, 369 Mass. 812, 816 (1976), quoting Bator’s Case, 338 Mass. 104, 106 (1958). Stated otherwise, “[t]he ‘obligations or conditions’ of employment [must] create the ‘zone of special danger’ out of which the injury arose. Id. at 817, citing O’Leary v. Brown-Pacific-Maxon, Inc., 340 U.S. 504, 506-507 (1951).
Now, what does that mean with respect to a fight with my coworker?
Ultimately, whether or not you have a Workers’ Compensation case will depend on whether the fight you were involved in stemmed from a work-related argument or disagreement.
What if our fight was work-related, but I hit my coworker first?
Fault, is not a determining factor. The question is not who was/is to blame for the altercation, as it is quite possible for an injury to arise out of the employment even though the injured employee struck the first blow. Apart from series and willful misconduct on the part of an employee, which would bar any compensation, the question is whether the injury occurred in the line of consequences resulting from the circumstances and conditions of the employment, and not who was to blame for it.
If the altercation in which you were injured arose from a work-related argument, case law in Massachusetts tells us that your injury arose out of and in the course of your employment with your employer. Don’t stop here. The attorneys at Keches Law Group, P.C., are experienced attorneys, here to ensure that you receive every penny you so justifyingly deserve for your work-related injury.
LAUREN VAN IDERSTINE
ATTORNEY AT LAW