After Tragic Shooting, Will Victims Get Workers' Comp?

Posted on Sep 17, 2013

Workers' compensation benefits for victims of workplace violence, like the tragic Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., should be available to every worker hurt in the line of duty on the job.  

Some states prohibit workers' compensation benefits for violent acts such as the recent senseless shooting because they do not arise out of the employment. In other words, anyone could be a victim of a shooting or crime whether they are at work or not.  While in theory, every one could be a victim of a crazy gunman, terrorist attack, shooting, etc., that's not the point.

Workers whose job or employment put them in a specific place, like the contractors working at the Navy Yard, were suspectible at the time of the shooting due to their location, which was a secure one. They were certainly at work and if it wasn't for their job they would not have been there, especially when a gunman targeted workers, contractors, or others at that specific location.

Will some insurance companies argue that victims of shootings (or their spouses and children if the worker was killed) aren't entitled to workers' compensation benefits for this shooting?  Probably. They might also argue that at least some of the victims of the Navy Yard shooting should get benefits in another state, not in the District of Columbia, because the benefit rate could be lower in Maryland or Virginia than it is in D.C. 

Every worker in D.C. should have the right to workers' compensation benefits if he was hurt or killed in the line of duty whether it was an accident or an attack.