Can I sue my company for an unsafe environment

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue my company for an unsafe environment

If I was at work and my coworker physically hit me and my supervisor and my manager is telling me not to say anything that they’re going to sweep it under the rug but I don’t feel comfortable doing that because the young lady put her hands on me do I have the right to file lawsuit against my company for allowing me to be placed in a dangerous situation at work

Asked on January 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Did they know that this young lady was dangerous before she hit you, either generally or to you specifically? Had she hit you before (or pushed, shoved, etc. you)? Had she hit, etc. another person at work? Had she made any threats against you? Etc. If there was no reason to know this woman posed a threat, then there was no reason to guard against a threat; the situation was NOT known to be dangerous, and your employer would not be liable. 
(Note: if she attacks you again, now that they have warning, then the employer may well be liable.)
Also bear in mind that when someone hits you, you can only sue for your actual, out-of-pocket medical costs (not paid by insurance, etc.); lost wages, if it caused you to miss work; and some amount for "pain and suffering" IF you suffered significant, long lasting life impairment or disability--the law only provides compensation for actual costs and injuries. So if, as we hope, you were not badly hurt and did not incur much in the way of medical costs, there's no point in suing--you'd spend more on the suit than you'd get back.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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