An employee was shot while they were working at a Wendy’s restaurant. Are their injuries compensable under workers’ compensation?
Gunshots were fired into a drive-thru window of Wendy’s restaurant at Union and Natural Bridge, striking an employee in the back and arm at 1:00 a.m. on December 22, 2020. Violence ensued after the Wendy’s employee refused the customer’s demand for extra dipping sauce to go with the ordered meal. The assailant fled the scene in a dark-colored Nissan immediately after discharging the firearm into the restaurant. The injured employee was taken to a hospital shortly after the incident and was in stable condition upon arrival at the hospital.
Although the injured employee is expected to recover, he is going to need essential medical care in order to make that recovery. Unfortunately for the injured individual, the medical care he receives is not free, potentially leaving him with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Because the individual who discharged the firearm has not been apprehended, liability cannot be established, and therefore, the Wendy’s employee cannot recover civilly for the injuries he has received at this time. Although the Wendy’s employee cannot recover civilly at this time, he can recover through Worker’s Compensation.
The purpose of Worker’s Compensation Law is to place upon the employer the losses incurred by employees from injuries arising out of and in the course of employment. In Worker’s Compensation, the general rule is that an injury “arises out of” one’s employment IF it is a natural incident thereof and it is “in the course of employment” IF the action occurs within a period of employment at a place where the employee may reasonably be fulfilling the duties of employment.
In this tragic case, the Wendy’s employee has a clearly compensable injury, and is thus entitled to authorized medical care, as well as compensation for lost wages. The Wendy’s employee was injured while acting within the duties of his employment, as he was operating the drive thru as he would normally do during his shifts at Wendy’s and in no way acted outside the scope of his employment in choosing to deny the customer additional dipping sauce, making his injuries compensable under Missouri Worker’s Compensation Law.
It is crucial to know when a work injury is compensable, as employers and insurers may attempt to deny you or a loved one duly owed benefits. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, give us a call and we will ensure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled.