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Violence victimizes claimants and employers

Posted On: Mar. 22, 2012 12:00 AM CST

The case of a school worker who fell and hit her head on a desk corner during an assault exemplifies the tremendous headaches, literally and figuratively, caused by workplace violence.

On March 21, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of the Shamokin Area School District in Linda Yeager vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board.

Ms. Yeager, an educator, works with students who have mental disabilities and in 2009 one of those students assaulted her.

Her initial workers comp claim described her injury as a disfigured left eye and she sought medical benefits, counsel fees, and compensation for the disfigurement.

She later amended her complaint, stating she also suffered from a concussion, brain damage, lacerations, shoulder and head damage.

You can see how this case grew complicated with differing doctor opinions causing her employer headaches, figuratively speaking.

Ms. Yeager testified that she suffered from constant black floaters in her left eye and severe, daily headaches that lasted for hours.

In 2010, a workers comp judge found her testimony credible concerning the headaches and floaters. But he rejected her claim that that the incident also caused a drooping left eyelid.

The judge also ruled that discoloration around Ms. Yeager’s left eye amounted to disfiguration and awarded her twenty weeks of compensation.

The employer appealed and the Commonwealth Court reversed the disfigurement award due to a lack of evidence. But the court affirmed the remainder of the judge’s decision.

There are no winners in this type of court case. Violence victimized both sides although the headaches suffered may be a bit different for each.