Employers in the restaurant and catering industry have a responsibility to comply with New York state’s safety standards to ensure a working environment safe from hazards such as heat, dangerous machinery and chemicals. However, sometimes injuries in the workplace arise from more unusual and uncontrollable combinations of circumstances. When is an injury an occupational one and there fore deserving of workers’ compensation?

In a Richmond Valley diner, one morning this month, an altercation arose amongst customers, allegedly over a woman. Although the details aren’t clear, what is clear is that in the resulting violent brawl participants threw restaurant dishes and cutlery at each other. The two men from Tottenville were injured, arrested by police and charged with multiple violations and misdemeanors. The violence resulted in at least one broken window, and a dish hit a young female employee in her head.

An employee in a situation like this may find he or she is legally entitled to compensation by the employer for medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, or other possible consequences of the event. Most businesses have insurance to cover workers’ compensation for such unforeseen events that occur on business property during working hours.

For a victim of a random or unusual workplace injury, it is well worth enlisting the aid of a legal representative to:

  • Assess the right to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Increase the chances of success by establishing that claim properly.

In instances where an employee initiates a compensation claim, insurance companies often make an offer of a pay-out. The victim would be wise to have an attorney represent their best interests by evaluating and negotiating such an offer on their behalf. In addition, where appropriate, a legal professional will also help establish a claim for compensation from other sources responsible for the incident.

Source: Staten Island Advance, “Plate-throwing fracas at Staten Island diner ends with two arrests, cops say,” John M. Annese, Jan. 23, 2014