Assault Can Lead to Serious Injury for Caregivers Attacked at North Carolina Work Facilities

A worker from the Palmetto Behavioral Health Center filed a report with police after he was beaten by two patients who were being disciplined for bad behavior, according to The Post and Courier.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Asheville and elsewhere know that workplaces such as schools, hospitals, nursing home facilities and jails have an obligation to protect workers from assault. Workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina require a great deal of research and knowledge and trying to do it alone isn’t the best way. Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation law firm before trying to handle this type of case alone.
The 25-year-old mental health technician had a broken nose and stitches on his face when he showed up at the Summerville Police Department to file the assault report. He told investigators that two teen patients knocked him to the floor and punched him several times after an administrator had handed down a punishment for bad behavior.

Palmetto Behavioral Health Center is a 60-bed treatment facility that houses young adults and teens dealing with violent behavior, mental illness and other problems. The facility employs 125 workers.

Law enforcement spoke to the director of the facility, Doris Singleton who told police the 18-year-old suspect was sent to a juvenile correctional facility in Washington, D.C., and the 16-year-old suspect remains at the facility. Without a warrant the facility would not give police a copy of the videotape that recorded the incident.

A news release from Palmetto Behavioral Health Center said, “This is an unfortunate incident and we are very concerned about the staff member and his recovery. The patient who was involved in the incident has been discharged from the facility.”

The news release did not mention the 16-year-old suspect. When asked why, a spokeswoman responded that there is no evidence “to substantiate the allegation that there was a second patient from South Carolina involved.”

Since April, this was the third incident reported to police. The first incident involved the escape of four teens from the facility. One of the escapees had been charged with attempted murder. After a second escape in early June the facility vowed to install additional security cameras and a 12-foot-high fence designed to prevent climbing.

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace homicides increased 3 percent in 2009 from 2008 and workplace suicides were the highest ever recorded. There were 4,551 workplace fatalities in the U.S. in 2009. Assaults or violent acts totaled 837 including 542 homicides and 263 suicides. North Carolina had 129 fatalities in the workplace in 2009. Assaults or violent acts totaled 25 that included 18 homicides, 16 were with a gun and 7 suicides.

It is very important if you are the victim of a workplace assault to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. They know it is most likely not practical to make a civil claim against the person who committed the assault. In many cases they don’t have the means to pay damages. But if you think your employer put you at risk and could have done something to prevent the attack, it may be possible to make a claim against your employer.

For Carolina workers stricken with a work-related illness or injury, workers’ compensation attorneys at Lee Law Offices, P.A. know recovery and adjustment can be a lifelong battle. If you have been injured, or someone you love has been injured or succumbed to a work-related illness or accident anywhere in North Carolina, call us at 1-800-887-1965 or contact our law offices online to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Workers Memorial Day on April 28th honors workers killed on the job in South Carolina, nationwide. North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, April 28, 2011

Additional Resources

Palmetto worker reports beating: Injured technician tells police 2 teen patients attacked him, by Andy Paras, The Post and Courier

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