Tensions seem to be running high during the summer heat as the economy slowly re-opens and people are attending entertainment venues. Many of us have read about Disney World reopening, and other theme parks have begun to reopen as well—including Sesame Place, a children’s theme park and water park that is located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Recently, a Sesame Place employee was assaulted by a guest. The employee was just doing his job by asking an individual to put on his mask when he was viciously attacked. However, the reason we wanted to discuss this story doesn’t have to do with people refusing to wear masks (although you definitely should wear a mask in public per the CDC guidelines). But rather, we want to explore how this incident interacts with workers’ compensation.
In The Philadelphia Inquirer article, a friend of the injured worker says that he has set up a GoFundMe page for the attacked employee. However, it does not mention what the purpose of the GoFundMe page is or what the proceeds will go towards.
If this incident had taken place in Georgia, it would have qualified under the Workers’ Compensation Act and been covered accordingly.
If an individual is injured in the scope and course of their employment, they are entitled to medical treatment and indemnity benefits under the Georgia statute. An injury doesn’t only have to mean a slip and fall—though that is a common cause of workplace injuries. It also incorporates people who are attacked on the job.
In this instance, the injured worker was not the aggressor, he was merely doing his job and requesting that a guest of the Sesame Place theme park wear a mask, as required by the park. He was subsequently assaulted and sustained massive injuries to his face, which included a broken jaw and a lost tooth.
In Georgia, this worker would be entitled to up to 400 weeks of indemnity benefits, along with 400 weeks of medical treatment. Furthermore, he would be entitled to a permanent partial disability rating once he achieved maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Besides receiving medical treatment for his broken jaw and tooth, the injured worker would also be eligible for psychological treatment due to this assault. Georgia requires a physical injury to occur for there to be a psychological claim and this certainly fits that bill. Many people who are attacked viciously, like this worker was, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the incident.