Personal Animus Exception to Worker's Comp In Pennsylvania
The personal animus exception to worker's comp allows an employee to make a personal injury claim against his or her employer. The general rule in Pennsylvania is that you cannot sue your employer for personal injury arising from your employment. There is an exception called the "personal animus" exception.
The courts have decided that an employee who is assaulted by co-worker (or any person) on the property can sue the employer for personal injuries.
Example: a female employee was sexually assaulted in the bathroom by a co-worker. The court decided that this was not worker's comp because the assaulted was committed by the co-worker for purely personal reasons and the female was on a break using the bathroom. There was no work-related act taking place. The Pennsylvania Court ruled that the female victim could file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer for failing to keep the property safe.
There may be times where it is more advantageous to be eligible for worker's comp. It is easier to prove (you don't have to prove negligence- simply that there was an injury that happened in the course and scope of your employment). But, under worker's comp, the amount of compensation is limited to wage loss and medical coverage. There is not "pain and suffering". You should consider consulting with an experienced lawyer to help decide what the best way to proceed is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David E. Schreiber
David is a partner with Wolpert Schreiber P.C. located at 527 Main Street, Royersford, PA 19468. His emphasis is in Injury Law and Insurance Disputes. He has been a practicing attorney since 1994.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.