An 18-weeks pregnant woman who worked in a Maine psychiatric center was violently attacked with a pen by a mentally ill patient with a history of violence.
Worker suffered severe pain and disfigurement, was forced to undergo surgery to remove part of the pen from her right hand and now suffers chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.
Typically, injuries like these are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault benefits provided to injured workers (or families of those killed) when that injury or death occurred in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation benefits come with a provision of exclusive remedy, meaning injured workers don’t have the right to sue their employer, but their medical expenses and a portion of lost wages are available. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and punitive damages are not paid by workers’ compensation. So what this plaintiff wants to do is make the state – not the private psychiatric center – liable for the injuries she suffered at work. Continue reading