Claiming Workplace Assault Compensation
Over recent times there has been a real increase in the number of violent incidents taking place at work. According to the health and safety executive there were an estimated 688,000 incidents of violence at work in 2019 to 2020 which seems an astonishing amount.
If you have been injured in an assault at work then you may well be looking for redress against your employer.
Navigating the legalities of personal injury claims can be less than straightforward which is why we have written this survival guide to Claiming Workplace Assault compensation to help you understand your rights and the avenues for seeking compensation in the context of workplace assault claims.
Assaulted at Work? What Compensation can you Claim?
If you’ve been assaulted at work then you could be entitled to seek compensation.
Workplace safety is so important for employees across the land. While employers should also invest in measures to keep employees safe unfortunate incidents like workplace assaults can and do still occur.
We should all feel safe when at work and should never be in a situation where a colleague strikes out it is either physically or verbally.
While it’s true to say some working environments are more dangerous such as nightclubs, prisons and care homes there is no reason at all why there should be any prospect of being physically hurt or verbally abused.
If the employer has failed to weigh up the risks and ensure that the work staff are as safe as possible then it may be that an the victim can seek compensation or claim against the employer as appropriate.
The onus is on the employer to make sure that they keep the workplace safe as possible and look closely at any risks of employees getting into danger from physical attacks, confrontation or verbal abuse.
Assaulted at work compensation claims process gives a legal avenue for seeking redress and financial recovery. You can look to bring a personal injury claim if you have suffered injuries arising out verbal abuse or physical violence.
Your chosen personal injury solicitors will be able to advise you in relation to all aspects of assault at work claims including how much compensation you can expect to receive upon pursuing a successful claim.
What Factors Influence Compensation?
Severity of injuries
How much compensation you receive for your personal injury claim will be awarded on the basis of the severity of the injuries sustained during the assault at work. This means that the extent of the harm that you have suffered impacts the compensation award you may be entitled to.
Results can often leave lasting and ongoing psychological scars and this can take a huge emotional toll on the victim. Clearly these psychological symptoms need to be taken into account as well when calculating the compensation equation.
Lost Wages and Financial Losses arising out of the Assault at Work
As well as the physical and emotional distress the victim is also to look to claim back any financial losses which can play a huge role in the overall compensation awarded for your assault at work claim.
Financial compensation may include not only wages but also medical expenses such as counselling for post traumatic stress disorder and any ongoing fees for other types of rehabilitation.
In line with most personal injury claims medical expenses for physical injuries and psychological injuries are generally going to be fully recoverable provided it is accepted the treatment is reasonable and necessary.
There can be no substitute for instructing an experienced and specialist personal injury solicitor who can go through in detail the circumstances relating to the assault and collate all the relevant financial losses incurred.
In this way you can be assured that your personal injury claim will be placed on the best possible footing.
What Constitutes an Assault at Work?
An assault happens when the aggressor carries out an intentional act that causes the victim to believe they will be physically harmed. So an assault at work claim can include simply the threat of bodily harm or the actual use of of physical force against another person.
Any intentional contact that is results in harm all the reasonable apprehension of harm can be looked upon as an assault at work. So this would include punching, kicking and striking out or any other form of physical harm.
Language that is threatening and abusive which gives the indication that the aggressor is going to physically harm the victim can also be considered a form of assault at work.
If the perpetrator carry their actions or behaviour which is intended to lead to fear or apprehension in the victim this may well be considered assault at work. Aggressive gestures and any other actions that are designed to physically threaten another person can constitute an assault.
Any non-consensual advances or sexual contact in the workplace will automatically be deemed to be a serious form of assault at work. So any behaviour that includes Sexual harassment or unwanted touching or any form of sexual advances or cohesion can form the basis for an assault at work claim.
Who is Eligible to bring an Assaulted at Work Compensation Claim?
Identifying Eligible Individuals
Clearly the individuals who are eligible to pursue an assault at work compensation claim are the ones who have most suffered harm directly at the hands of the assault. This will therefore include any employees who have been physically attacked or verbally abused arising by a colleague, supervisor or indeed any other person within the workplace.
Compensation will not always be restricted to purely permanent employees as contractors, those working on a temporary basis as well as even visitors may all be able to bring personal injury claims if the circumstances permit.
Of course if the victim’s employer has not provided a working environment which is safe then they can be held responsible for an assault at work that occurs within the premises.
Beyond Workplace Premises
Furthermore if the assault takes place outside the usual working premises, for example, at a business convention or during a work related event which is outside the usual place of work then it is still possible in certain circumstances to look at bringing a compensation claim for an “assault at work”.
Consulting a Specialist
Whatever the circumstances of your workplace or assault claim it is so important to consult with a specialist personal injury solicitor so that you can establish whether your potential claim is eligible for compensation and if so the best way of proceeding.
Can I Claim Compensation Against my Employer?
Failure to provide a Safe Place of Work
It’s important to remember that in the context of assaulted at work compensation claims all employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe working environment.
It follows that if your assault at work claim arose as a consequence of your employer failing to implement adequate security measures then the employer may be held liable:
Lack of Safety Policies or Procedures:
Failure to devise, implement or enforce safety policies and procedures to guard against workplace violence can contribute towards an employer being found liable for workplace assault.
Unsatisfactory Response to Previous Incidents:
If there have been earlier incidents of violence taking place within the workplace and the employer failed to sufficiently investigate and address these incidents by taking appropriate action the employer may well be held liable for any further assaults.
Employers are under a duty to provide relevant and adequate training, for all employees and this will involve safety within the workplace and conflict resolution with the introduction of reporting procedures. If the employer fails to implement all necessary training and an assault happens then the employer may well be held responsible.
What Action Should You Take if You Are Assaulted at Work?
If you have been physically assaulted at work then it’s important to take strategic steps to protect your position and ensure that your rights are upheld.
It needs to be remembered that when ever there is any serious injuries that occur in the work place the employer is under a legal duty to start with to report it to the Health and safety executive (HSE). So any major injury sustained needs to be reported and a failure to do so may lead to legal consequences for the employer.
Here are some tips that should help you when bringing assaulted at work compensation claims:
Be sure to keep a detailed and accurate record of exactly what happened including the date, time and place of the assault as well as a chronological record setting out the sequence of events.
Note any statements made by the perpetrator of the assault and any response from the employer or indeed a lack of a response.
If there were witnesses to the assault then you might want to consider asking them for statements setting out what they saw. This evidence could be crucial in terms of incorporating your version of events and establishing an authoritative account as to exactly what happened.
Preserve Any Evidence:
Make sure that you keep any physical evidence arising from the assault such as torn clothing, photograph showing your injuries and any damage to personal belongings. This evidence may be helpful to substantiate work claims and provide proof of the injuries and loss that you have suffered.
Follow Company Policy and Procedures:
It’s important you follow your companies reporting procedures at all times. Be sure to report everything by following the correct channels and document every step involved. This should help to gather evidence and show that you have behaved in a responsible manner and in accordance with the relevant inhouse policies and procedures.
When communicating with your employer about the assault be sure to lay down a paper trail by using contact details and using written forms of communication such as emails or letters. This will ensure that there is less chance of misunderstanding and will help to set out your evidence of any physical or emotional harm and your efforts to resolve the situation.
Requesting a copy of the Assault Incident Report
It is likely that your employer will create an incident report in which case it is important that you request this so that you can review the contents carefully and ensure the account is properly documented and accurately portrayed. If there are any inaccuracies and of course you will need to bring them the attention of the relevant officers at your company.
What if I make a Claim Against My Employer – Will I lose My Job?
You may have a fear of losing your job if you are thinking about making a claim against your employer for a workplace assault.
However it is important to understand that there are workers compensation laws in place which protect employees who wish to claim compensation. The law provides protection against unfair dismissal and you cannot lose your job simply for the legal right you have for bringing a claim for an assault at work.
It is also worth bearing in mind that your employer will have a liability insurance policy in place which will pay out in the event of a successful work claim. This means that it will not be your employer having to find the compensation themselves.
It’s important to remember that the law is designed to ensure that you receive fair and reasonable treatment while pursuing the assault compensation that is owed to you. If the employer actually goes on to dismiss the employee simply for bringing a claim then there could well be grounds for an unfair dismissal.
Which Jobs Carry the Highest Risks of Assaults?
Assaults at work can happen in any working environment but there are certain occupations which pose a higher risk for employees. The following list of occupations involve a higher risk of workplace assaults:
Healthcare and Social Services Workers
Having to deal with patients or clients who are suffering with mental health issues or are emotionally distressed leaves healthcare and social services workers at an increased risk of assault.
In this type of working environment the employer should be even more alive to the risk of being physically attacked and physically assaulted and should have well thought out measures in place to deal with these risks.
If a patient is known as being violent or having violent tendencies then there needs to be a system in place to warn healthcare professionals of the risks so that these can be properly managed.
Assaults on Emergency Services Personnel
The Police, Fire Service and NHS emergency service are all environments which deal with high pressure and high stress situations where there is a real and ongoing risk of violence.
Perhaps not surprisingly statistics suggest that it’s police officers and security guards that suffer the highest amount of violence when at work. It is reported that one in 10 of these workers have experienced violence while on duty.
The health and social care professionals are in the second group that face the most risk of violence it work.
In fact the sheer size of the problem of assaults on emergency workers led in 2018 to legislation being implemented in the form of the “Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018”.
Just because violence may be expected in a particular job or role does not mean that it should be tolerated. The onus is on the employer to make sure safety is at the top of their agenda and has in place all necessary procedures in place to guard against all the anticipated risks.
Teachers and School Staff
It’s clear to see that our teachers and teaching staff are increasingly subject to violent behaviour from students and even parents. Years ago this was never really an issue but in today’s society aggression and unpredictable behaviour seems to be the norm.
Again it is for the management to have a well thought through health and safety policy which serves to protect all the staff from any aggressive or violent behaviour. Risk assessment and management is all-important in this context and there can be no room for complacency. A lack of training or inadequate risk assessments can increase the vulnerability of the employees in the context of a workplace assault.
There will be certain circumstances where an assault cannot be avoided but there still needs to be proactive measures in place to ensure school staff are protected as far as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What happens if I didn’t report the assault straight away can I still Claim Compensation?
Absolutely, it’s still possible to proceed with a workplace assault compensation claim even if you failed to report the incident immediately. It’s always best to report an incident of this nature at the time but there are on occasions good reasons why this might not be possible.
For instance many victims are shocked and may need time to process things before coming forward. So any delay in reporting the incident doesn’t automatically make you ineligible to claim, but when reporting matters it may be helpful to provide a reason for coming forward late.
What about if the incident took place outside the office premises? Can I still Claim?
That’s right, you may still be in a position to claim workplace assault compensation even if the incident occurred outside the office premises.
Eligibility for compensation extends to any work-based activities so that includes business conventions, work events, or any situation where the assault is connected to your employment.
It’s a good idea to make sure you have sufficient evidence for linking the assault to your work context, such as witnesses or communication records.
What happens if the Company denies My Workplace Assault Compensation Claim?
Denials are common in this context but if your workplace assault compensation claim is denied, that shouldn’t be the end of matters.
Your chosen solicitor will need to obtain your instructions dealing with the reasons for the the denial and then look at all the evidence to establish the prospects of success.
If you solicitor considers that the denial is unjustified then it will be a case of proceeding with your work claim and if necessary issuing proceedings with a view to reaching a final court hearing.
In the vast majority of claims matters are settled before reaching court when the Defendant’s insurers realise that the Claimant’s solicitors are serious about pursuing the claim no matter what.
Is it possible to Claim Compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority?
Yes, the Criminal injuries Compensation Authority is a government body set up to compensate victims for physical injuries and psychological injuries arising out of violent crime.
It is important to understand there are strict eligibility requirements such as formally reporting such incidents to the police as well as strict time limits for claiming compensation. Seek legal advice straight away.
Meet the Author
Chris Carter is the founder and Director of Carter & Carter Solicitors, a leading personal injury law firm based in the UK.
With over 25 years of experience in the field of personal injury litigation Chris has become a trusted expert in his industry.
Throughout his career, Chris has remained dedicated to helping injury victims recover compensation and has a long and proven track record of success using all his experience to win claims and secure compensation on the best terms.
Chris’s passion for helping others is evident in every claim he and C&C Solicitors handle. He and his team go above and beyond to ensure their clients receive the support and guidance they need during what can be a difficult time.
To learn more about Chris and the team at C&C Solicitors, and the legal services they offer, please visit www.candcsolicitors.co.uk/about-us/ or call the team on 01663 761890
Carter & Carter Solicitors
“We acted for Igors after he was injured at work and no-one else would take his case on. We successfully secured compensation for him and he said “Great company, nice to work with, no headaches, not much paperwork to fill in, recommend!!!”
Mr Igors Kolusz from Wolverhampton