The prevalence of active shooter incidents in the workplace has brought to light a concerning aspect of workers’ safety that extends beyond traditional occupational hazards. Employees across various industries now face the grim reality of potential workplace violence, leading to a heightened need for understanding and addressing workers’ compensation injuries resulting from active shooter situations.

When an active shooter incident occurs in the workplace, the consequences can be catastrophic, resulting in physical injuries, psychological trauma, and, in the worst cases, loss of life. Workers caught in such harrowing events may sustain injuries ranging from gunshot wounds and shrapnel injuries to fractures, lacerations, and concussions. The severity and complexity of these injuries underscore the urgent need for adequate support and compensation for affected employees.

This Work Comp Insights will provide an overview of how workers’ compensation coverage works for workplace violence incidents, specifically active shooter injuries.

Are Active Shooter Incidents Covered?

Workplace violence injuries (e.g., active shooter incidents) are generally covered by workers’ compensation, provided that the incident occurred within the scope of employment.

Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits to employees who sustain injuries or illnesses arising out of and in the course of their employment, regardless of fault. This coverage typically extends to injuries resulting from workplace violence, including incidents such as assaults, shootings, or other acts of violence perpetrated by coworkers, customers, or third parties.

Employees who suffer injuries in workplace violence incidents may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, which can include coverage for medical expenses, wage replacement for time off work, rehabilitation services, and other related costs. However, it’s essential to note that workers’ compensation laws vary by jurisdiction, and there may be specific requirements or limitations regarding coverage for workplace violence injuries in certain states or regions.

In cases where workplace violence results in serious injuries or fatalities, workers’ compensation benefits can provide crucial financial and medical support to affected employees and their families during the recovery process. Additionally, workers’ compensation may offer benefits for psychological trauma or emotional distress resulting from workplace violence.

Employers should prioritize workplace safety measures and take proactive steps to prevent and address incidents of workplace violence, ensuring a safe and secure environment for all employees.

Can An Employee Sue the Employer?

Employers are generally protected from lawsuits by employees seeking additional compensation beyond what workers’ compensation provides.

Workers’ compensation laws bar tort liability against employers for workplace injuries as part of a compromise between employers and employees. This framework operates on the principle of a no-fault system, eliminating the need for employees to prove negligence or fault on the part of their employer to receive benefits. Instead, this system aims to streamline the process of obtaining benefits, providing timely medical care and financial assistance to injured workers without the need for prolonged legal battles or disputes over fault.

In many jurisdictions, workers’ compensation is deemed the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries, meaning that employees relinquish their right to sue their employer for tort damages in exchange for receiving workers’ compensation benefits. This arrangement ensures that injured workers receive prompt compensation while providing employers with a degree of certainty regarding their liability for workplace injuries.

By shielding employers from tort liability, workers’ compensation laws incentivize them to prioritize workplace safety, as they are encouraged to implement safety measures, provide training and maintain a safe work environment to reduce the risk of injuries and potential litigation.

However, if a third party, such as a contractor or vendor, is responsible for the shooting, the injured employee may have the right to pursue a lawsuit against that party. However, they would not typically be able to sue their own employer under workers’ compensation laws.

Overall, the prohibition of tort liability under workers’ compensation laws strikes a balance between the interests of employers and employees, promoting timely compensation for injured workers while fostering workplace safety.


The intersection of workers’ compensation and coverage for active shooter injuries and workplace violence presents a complex landscape with significant implications for employees and employers alike. While workers’ compensation generally provides a no-fault insurance program to support employees injured in the course of their employment, the unique nature of workplace violence incidents adds layers of complexity to the process.

Employees who sustain injuries in active shooter incidents may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical expenses, wage replacement and rehabilitation services. However, navigating the workers’ compensation system in the aftermath of such traumatic events requires careful consideration of the specific circumstances surrounding the incident.

For more information on workplace violence or active shooter situations, please contact us.

For a copy of this notice, click here: Work Comp Insights – Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Active Shooter Injuries_

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