Home > Uncategorized > “He Started It!” – Initial Physical Aggressor (Part 1 of 3)

“He Started It!” – Initial Physical Aggressor (Part 1 of 3)

December 3rd, 2012

Recently, your humble blogger enjoyed the wonderful pleasure of seeing his extended family for Thanksgiving.  The table was buckling under the weight of the food, dishes as far as the eye could see, the fireplace was roaring in bold defiance of the local anti-wood burning ordinance, and the drinks flowed generously to ease the close proximity of so many family members suddenly together in so small a room.

As your humble blogger helped himself to another slice of turkey, cousin Milosh sat glumly at his seat, with no appetite to speak of and a big black eye adorning his ridiculously pale face.

I invited Milosh to the kitchen as I mixed him one of my famous “workers compensation Old Fashioned” cocktails.  “Milosh, I asked, why so glum?”

Milosh sadly related the tale.  He was at work at the local broom factory when he got in a fight with a co-worker.  Aside from the shiner on his eye and his bruised ego, he also hurt his back when he fell during the fight.  In fact, I had heard the story from a mutual friend.  The friend happened to be there during the last stage of the “altercation,” and saw the co-worker get the upper hand.  When the co-worker was finally pulled off my cousin Milosh by the supervisor, Milosh’s only words, whispered weakly from the floor, were “I was winning.”

The worst part of it all was, of course, that Milosh couldn’t work because of his injury – it hurt to pick brooms up, to test-sweep the brooms, or even to scatter refuse on the floor of the broom factory to be test-swept by the brooms.

“Isn’t the employer’s insurer picking up the injury as part of workers’ comp?” I asked, already feeling dirty for directing an injured worker to a system that no one except applicants’ attorneys and doctors were feeling especially thankful for on Thanksgiving day.

“I asked,” said Milosh, “but the insurance adjuster wrote me a letter saying that the claim is rejected because I was the initial physical aggressor.  I didn’t start the fight, but I guess you can’t get workers’ comp if you win.”  Granted, my knowledge of workers’ compensation is limited, but I had never heard of the “only losers recover” rule.  And, from what I heard, cousin Milosh didn’t exactly carry the day…

“How did the fight start?”  I asked, as Milosh and I moved over to the window to take our turn at watch against vengeful wild turkeys…

It appears that a co-worker, who goes by the nickname “Nasty Nate”, came up to cousin Milosh and said some unpleasant things about his broom-making skills.  Nate then grabbed a handful of broom bristles and threw them at Milosh.  Milosh immediately turned around and spat at Nate.  Milosh claims that the spit was aimed for the broom-factory floor, but landed on Nasty Nate’s broom-making boots by accident.  Nasty Nate then charged Milosh, who curled into a ball on the floor bravely held his ground and fought back.

“You’re a workers’ compensation lawyer, do you think I have a case?”

“No,” I answered, based purely on defense-attorney instinct.  But then the Thanksgiving spirit kicked in and I decided I should probably think about it and give Milosh a real answer.

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