Workers Comp for Teachers & Victims of School Violence
Tragically, the issue of school shootings and violence has become all too common in recent years.
This past week in Nashville three school staff were among the six killed when a former student opened fire at a private Christian school on Monday morning. And according to statistics reported by NPR, 74 people have already been killed or injured by guns at American schools in just the first three months of 2023. In January a child of only 6 years old critically injured his first-grade teacher with a gun.
It is a national disgrace that our educators now must live in fear – and perpetual preparation and vigilance – due to these unfettered acts of violence in the classroom. Teachers and staff who suffer or witness violence in the workplace not only face a lifetime of physical and psychological damage, but also face the financial devastation that can come after experiencing such trauma.
In this article the compassionate and experienced workers compensation attorneys at Cantrell Green in Orange County, California discuss the rights to compensation and benefits for educators and their families after an incident of school violence at their place of employment.
Statistics on School Violence
According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, in the 2017-2018 school year, there were approximately 61,000 incidents of physical attacks or threats of violence against teachers by students in the United States. In California specifically, there were 6,245 incidents of physical attacks or threats of violence against teachers during the same school year.
A study of teacher workers’ comp claims across the US revealed that while 30% of claims are for slip and fall accidents, nearly as many (27%) arise out of an assault or being struck. Even strain injuries account for fewer claims at 24%; while exposure to toxins, and cuts, punctures and scrapes each account for 5%.
Obviously, these incidents can have a significant impact on the safety and well-being of teachers and can also affect their ability to carry out their work effectively. In the wake of these incidents, it’s important to consider the rights and protections that are available to teachers and administrators who may be injured or killed as a result of violence or assault in the workplace. In California, workers’ compensation is a state-mandated program that provides benefits to employees who are injured or become ill due to their job.
Workers Compensation for Violence Against Teachers & School Staff
Under California law, teachers, administrators, and other school staff who are injured or killed as a result of workplace violence or assault are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This includes coaches, school nurses, bus drivers, maintenance staff, and others employed by school districts. Workers compensation benefits include coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, survivor benefits for family, and other related costs.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or death must have occurred while the employee was performing job-related duties. However, this does not only include incidents that occur on school grounds. Teachers, coaches, and school staff also qualify for workers compensation if they were injured off campus during school-sponsored events, or while the employee is traveling for school-related purposes. This would include “away games,” competitions and tournaments, class trips, and more.
Other Benefits for Victims of School Violence
In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, teachers and administrators may also be eligible for other types of benefits and protections. For example, California law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who report safety violations or other workplace concerns. This means that teachers and administrators who speak out about safety issues or report incidents of violence or assault are protected from retaliation by their employer.
Teachers who become disabled due to an injury or act of violence while working are also generally eligible for disability retirement, under their teachers’ union. Many California teachers and school employees who are injured on the job may be eligible for disability retirement claims through CalSTRS -The California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
Despite these protections, it’s clear that more needs to be done to prevent school violence and keep our schools safe. This includes addressing issues such as access to firearms, mental health support for students, and improving safety protocols and training for teachers and school staff.
Attorneys for Teachers & Administrators Hurt or Injured at School
It is important to note that the benefits available to teachers and administrators who are injured due to violence or assault may vary depending on the circumstances of the injury and the specific policies and procedures of their employer and/or their union. As such, it is highly recommended that any employee who is injured seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure that they receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled.
The mountains of documentation, hearings, and all of the ‘paperwork’ requirements can make the workers’ compensation process complex. It can be very difficult for an injured and/or traumatized victim of violence to jump though all of the legal and procedural hoops required to ensure that they receive the benefits to which he or she is entitled.
The skilled and experienced attorneys at the Orange County law firm of Cantrell Green have been fighting for the rights of California teachers, administrators, and school staff for more than fifty years. If you are a school employee who has been the victim of violence in your workplace, we are here for you. Our compassionate and aggressive workers compensation and CalSTRS disability retirement attorneys can help you understand your rights and ensure that you and your family obtain the maximum benefits for which you qualify.
By helping educators obtain these benefits, we offer all of our support to ensuring the safety and well-being of teachers and school staff, and the critical role they play in shaping the lives of our children and our Orange County community.
Workers Comp Attorneys for Teachers Rights: 800-964-8047