Workers’ Comp for Protest and Riot Injuries

Workers' Comp for Protest and Riot Injuries Protests happen by and large because dissatisfied people act upon the status quo. When they do occur, storeowners and their workers, along with first responders, are at risk, taking into consideration the possibility of looting, rioting, and arson. Below are recent examples of protests that have had considerable influence on the country’s social and political atmosphere, including:

  • George Floyd Protests
  • Kenosha, Wisconsin Unrest
  • 2020-2021 Election Protests
  • United States Capitol Attack
  • Breonna Taylor Protests

A protest is “usually [an] organized public demonstration of disapproval.”1 Likewise, a riot is a “disturbance of the peace created by an assemblage of three or more people acting with a common purpose and in a violent and tumultuous manner to the terror of the public.”2

Often tensions come to a boiling point, which sets the stage for mass demonstrations. The consequences of which can go into millions of dollars in damages to public and private property. Business owners are not always prepared for oncoming protests. Those that are prepared may board up their shops to prevent looting, but even that may not be enough.

Staying open during a protest can be risky. Rioters are known to use different methods to convey their message or simply to wreak havoc and anarchy, including:



Rioters may steal goods from retail stores and other businesses, such as televisions, appliances, furniture, clothing, and jewelry.


Arson can cause destruction on a large scale and put people and nearby residential areas in jeopardy. Rioters often use Molotov cocktails to commit arson. A fire department may take longer to travel into an area set on fire if riots are still occurring, thus increasing the potential impact for further destruction.


Rioters can use any array of projectiles with the aim to hurt someone or cause damage, including rocks, bricks, or bottles of alcohol.


Brandishing a firearm can be a serious offense and punishable by jail time.

Melee Weapon

Close-range weapons such as knives, sticks, and brass knuckles are all fair game for rioters.

There are things that a storeowner should keep in mind when deciding what to do with their shop, including:


Gather Intelligence

As a storeowner, you have the responsibility of protecting your merchandise and your employees. Looking at what other store owners around your area are doing before a potential protest may not be enough. If your company is not large enough for in-house intelligence gathering, you will want to hire an outside risk assessment firm that focuses on addressing protests and riots. Realistically, your company or the outside firm will look at social media and do research on the protesting group and their tactics, in addition to other preparations.3

Hire a Security Unit

Hiring private security guards to protect your property is a clear deterrent to protesters. Trained armed guards know what to do in case of an escalation and can take the necessary precautions to prevent your business from getting damaged.4

Plan Ahead

Knowing what tactics protesters use can be a dealbreaker as to if your business is targeted. You can make your company a less attractive spot by removing loose items used as projectiles. Protesters will often use these to throw them at windows. In addition, locking trash receptacles could prevent protesters from setting bombs or fires. Finally, you will want to let employees know not to come in to work if you suspect a violent protest. 5 Conducting a cost-benefit analysis of what you think may happen coupled with the costs of your proposed course of action would be ideal. The correct actions taken can save thousands or even millions of dollars.

Consequences of Injured Workers

If you are unprepared for a violent protest and your workers get injured, your workers’ compensation insurance will come in handy. You will still be responsible for other costs, including:

  • Increase in Premiums
  • Additional Wages Owed in absences not covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Costs of Work Stoppage
  • Overtime Costs from other healthy employees stepping up to fill the gap.
  • Onboarding Costs from hiring new workers
  • Loss in Productivity from new workers, and accommodations for injured employees.
  • Costs of Repairs and Damages6

First Responders

In addition to storeowners and workers, police officers and first responders also face threats from protests. Often, they will respond in riot gear to a violent protest, yet this does not always protect them. Countless officers become injured in the aftermath, and this can have lasting effects on their health. If you are an injured first responder, you should seek legal counsel in a riot injury lawyer. Examples of injuries police officers face when responding to a violent protest include:

  • Concussions
  • Burns
  • Lacerations
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Psychological injury

First responders’ duties are to maintain peace and order, but officers could become overwhelmed by the sheer number of protesters. In addition, when responding to a protest or riot, police departments may focus their resources on that event, leaving other emergencies in the area without first responders.

As COVID-19 hit the world and people had to stay in their homes, unemployed, tensions rose. An increase in protests and riots, including protest-related injuries has shown how dissatisfied members of the public is with the current situation. As we all continue to navigate the ongoing crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to be mindful of public safety. We also thank our law enforcement and first responders for the important yet difficult job of keeping us safe.

Let Livingston DiMarzio Help You

At Livingston DiMarzio, our protest injury lawyers understand that everyone has the right to peacefully protest. When protests become violent, workers and first responders are in danger. Our mission is to protect injured workers and their families by making the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits easy. Not only can you qualify for covered medical expenses, such as permanent disability benefits, ongoing care like physical therapy, illness, and death benefits for one’s survivors, but also permanent disability benefits if you cannot return to any type of gainful employment. Give us a call today or schedule a free consultation at (973) 943-4106.

1 Duignan, B. (n.d.). How does the U.S. government define the difference between a protest and a riot? Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from

2 Ibid.

3 Herman, M. (2017, September 1). Preparing for protests. ASIS International. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Pie Insurance. (2021, April 8). How does a workers’ comp claim affect the employer? Pie Insurance. Retrieved September 18, 2021, from is the website for the workers compensation attorneys firm of Livingston, DiMarzio LLP Our team of attorneys is made up of New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers, NJ Workers Comp Lawyers, Employment Lawyers and Certified New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys.