Assault at Work & Employee Negligence Claims
While at our place of work, we all expect to be kept safe from dangerous or hazardous events and return home to our loved ones unharmed.
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Your employer has a duty of care to you to ensure that you are protected from any potential injuries. This includes all accidents at work but also, in certain circumstances deliberate acts of violence, such as an attack and/or assault from a co-worker, customer or patient.
If your employer has failed to protect you, resulting in an assault or attack, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation against your employer’s insurance policy.
At Tilly Bailey & Irvine, our personal injury solicitors are part of a full-service law firm. Our personal injury team is led by John Hall. As well as having years of experience running personal injury claims, John is a panel member of AvMA and a Senior Litigator with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
We understand how traumatising being a victim of violence at work can be. Our solicitors will work diligently to get you compensation for the assault you have suffered. When instructing us, you can be assured of receiving legal advice and representation of the highest quality, delivered in a sensitive, caring manner.
What is considered an assault at work?
Many people who come to us are unsure whether what they have experienced is an actual assault. We are quickly able to clarify our clients’ situations, a factor that provides a lot of comfort to some, who are traumatised, scared and confused.
The Government Agency responsible for health and safety is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE says that work-related violence is;
“Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work. This can include verbal abuse or threats as well as physical attacks. These pages explain what HSE is doing to address the issue of work-related violence and provide access to a range of information.”
For example, if you are a nurse and a violent patient hits you, you may be a victim of a workplace assault.
To be the victim of an assault at work by a colleague, customer or patient, physical harm does not have to feature. For example, if you and another employee enter into an argument and they act in a manner that causes you to believe they are about to harm you physically, you may be able to claim compensation for being assaulted at work.
Who is responsible if I am assaulted by a co-worker?
When an employee suffers an assault or attack while at work there are many different circumstances in which an employer might be held responsible.
Some of the most common causes of assault at work are:
- working alone or being understaffed, especially during ‘graveyard’ shifts
- ignoring previous violent behaviour or threats of violent behaviour from an employee, customer or patient
- lack of training and or personal protective equipment (PPE) being provided to staff
If you work in a job that carries a high risk of an assault occurring, for example in a nursing home for dementia patients or an A&E department, your employer must assess the risks to their employees and have policies and procedures in place to adequately protect against them. Failure to do so may result in your employer being found negligent in their duty to keep you safe at work.
What should I do if I am assaulted at work?
If you are assaulted at work, you should take the following steps:
- report the incident to your manager immediately
- ensure medical attention is sought and get a doctor’s report of your injuries
- write down what happened, try to include all the details, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time
- make a note of any witnesses to the incident
- report the incident to the police
- contact our personal injury law team who will advise you on whether you have a claim for compensation following your assault at work
Your employer is responsible for ensuring your safety at work. If they have not taken appropriate action to do so, they may be found to have acted negligently and so be responsible for your injury. Employers are responsible for the actions of other employees, including criminal actions. Therefore if for example, another employee assaults you at work, your employer will be liable to compensate you for any injury suffered.
Can I claim compensation following being assaulted at work?
To claim compensation from your employer for an assault at work, our experienced team of personal injury solicitors will need to prove that your employer breached their duty of care to you and that breach caused you to suffer an assault.
To achieve this, we will examine your employer's risk assessment documents, health and safety policies and procedures and the details of your incident.
Even if the employer is not held responsible for the act of the person that assaulted you, you may still have recourse via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, subject to certain criteria being met. We will provide you with full advice on how the scheme works and apply on your behalf if required.
You can be confident that when instructing us to manage your assault at work claim, our solicitors will act in a calm, professional manner; returning your phone calls and emails promptly and always keeping you up-to-date with how your case is progressing.
We offer a no win, no fee arrangement for personal injury claims. This means that if we are unsuccessful in winning compensation for you, you will not pay us any legal fees.
To find out more about how we can advise you on a workplace negligence claim, please call us on 0333 3232718 to talk to one of our solicitors.