Petrillo & Goldberg Law Blog

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Worker’s right to compensation for an injury in an altercation with a co-worker

Disputes arise between employees at work and can result in unintended injuries. When an employee who is injured in an altercation with a co-worker seeks to recover workers’ compensation, the resolution of the case may turn on whether a causal connection exists between the dispute and the employment.

A recent decision of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey dealt with an altercation between two employees. Two encounters occurred, one in an employee locker room and another in a hall outside the locker room. The two workers had different accounts of the encounters, which ended in an injury to one’s shoulder. The injured man sought workers’ compensation benefits.

A workers’ compensation judge awarded the man medical and temporary disability benefits. The judge found neither employee intended to injure the other and that the man’s injuries arose out of his employment. The judge concluded that the man swung his arm toward the other employee because he thought the man pushed a pizza box into him. The other man grabbed the other’s arm because he thought the man intended to harm him.

On appeal, the employer contended that the injured man was the aggressor and could not recover workers’ compensation benefits. In a decision rendered on June 10, 2019, the Appellate Division affirmed the award of workers’ compensation benefits. The Appellate Division found enough evidence to support the judge’s factual findings. Under the facts found by the judge, the injury arose out of his employment.

Altercations between employees can result in unintended consequences. If you suffered an injury as the result of an altercation with a co-worker, you may get workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295 or visit to learn more.