No matter what job you have, you are entitled to a safe working environment and adequate procedures to be protected from assault at work. Employers have a duty of care and should conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential dangers and provide relevant training, information and equipment.
Additionally, employers must take appropriate action if an assault occurs, including reporting it to the authorities, providing support to the victim, and reviewing and updating their risk assessment and control measures to prevent future incidents.
If you were assaulted at work due to a lack of proper safety measures, you might be eligible to seek compensation from your employer. Your claim could include damages for pain and suffering, as well as any financial losses incurred due to the assault, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
To find out if you have a valid assault at work claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If they believe your case has merit, they will offer you a no win no fee service, so you will not lose a single penny if you don’t win your compensation claim.
What counts as an assault at work?
Several types of assault can occur in the workplace. Some of the most common types that may lead to an assault at work claim include:
- Physical assault refers to any physical contact that results in harm or injury, such as hitting, kicking, biting, pushing, or any other form of physical contact.
- Verbal assault may involve threatening, abusive or intimidating language, such as shouting, swearing, or derogatory remarks.
- Sexual assault is any unwanted physical or sexual conduct, such as touching, groping, or sexual comments.
- Psychological or emotional assault includes any behaviour that causes fear, distress, or emotional harm, such as bullying, harassment, or threats.
- Assault with a weapon involves using a weapon to cause harm or injury, such as a knife, gun, or any other object that can be used as a weapon, such as a chair or broken glass.
It is important to note that any type of assault can have severe physical and emotional consequences for the victim and may result in a compensation claim. Based on how the attack occurred, you may have a few different options for making an assault at work claim:
- From your employer, if they breached their duty of care towards you;
- Directly from your assaulter, which is very rare;
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is a governmental organisation that operates a compensation scheme for blameless victims of violent crimes.
What to do if someone assaults you at work
If you were unfortunate enough to have been assaulted at work, there are several steps you should take if you decide to seek compensation at a later date:
Report the incident
Notify your employer, supervisor or manager immediately after the assault. They will have to register the incident in the company’s logbook, and you are entitled to ask for a signed copy of the report to support your claim.
Seek medical attention
Even if your injuries seem minor, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and seeking medical attention will ensure your situation will not worsen. A copy of your medical notes will also prove the type and extent of the trauma you suffered.
Collect as much evidence as possible, including witness statements, photographs of the scene, and any physical evidence of injuries or property damage, such as torn clothing. You should also ask your employer for any CCTV footage of the assault at work captured by their security cameras.
Contact the police
If you have been physically or sexually assaulted, it is crucial to speak to the police as soon as possible. This will ensure the perpetrator is dealt with appropriately, and a police reference number is needed for CICA claims.
Keep a record
Keep a detailed record of the incident, including any injuries you sustained, the time you had to take off work, and any expenses you incurred as a result of the assault.
Seek legal advice
If you are considering seeking assaulted at work compensation, you should get legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can guide you on your legal options and help you navigate the claims process.
If you are eligible to make a claim for an assault in the workplace, your solicitor will help you build a strong case and will contact your employer to inform them of your intentions to seek damages. If they admit liability for your injuries, your solicitor will work to negotiate the best settlement on your behalf. If your employer denies any responsibility, your solicitor can help you argue your claim in court.
Can I claim compensation if I was assaulted at work by a customer?
If a customer assaulted you at work, you should have grounds for making a personal injury claim. Your employer has a legal duty to provide a safe working environment, which includes protecting you from harm caused by customers or clients. If they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the assault or did not provide adequate training or support to help you deal with aggressive customers, you might be able to claim compensation from them.
However, if all necessary precautions were taken and you were still assaulted at work, your employer cannot be held liable for your injuries. Instead, you might be able to claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You can still make a CICA claim even if the assaulter was not identified, caught or convicted.
Can I claim if I was assaulted by a patient?
If you work in a care home, hospital or another healthcare setting and were assaulted at work by a patient, you might be able to claim compensation. Your employer must provide a safe working environment for you, which includes taking reasonable steps to prevent being injured in an assault from patients.
If your employer has failed to take appropriate measures to protect you, such as providing adequate training or supervision, you might be able to start an assault at work claim. That could include providing you with training programs such as Managing Violence & Aggression (MVA) or Management of Actual or Potential Aggression (MAPA) to help you handle violent and aggressive patients.
Additionally, they are responsible for ensuring that the care plans of the patients you are responsible for are up-to-date. They must also inform you if any patient under your care has a history of violence or aggression.
If you were assaulted at work by a patient, it is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible to determine your eligibility and understand your rights and options. For a free consultation, call 0800 678 1410 today or enter your details to receive a call back.
Common injuries from workplace assaults
An assault at work can cause a range of physical and psychological injuries, depending on the nature of the job and the severity of the attack. If your employer is found to be liable for the incident, you could claim compensation for any injuries you sustained, including:
Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
Cuts, bruises, and lacerations can occur in many ways during an assault at work. For example, an assailant may use a weapon, such as a knife, or they may punch, kick, or hit the victim with an object. Additionally, the victim may fall or be pushed to the ground, resulting in cuts and bruises. These types of injuries can range in severity from minor cuts and bruises to more severe lacerations that require medical attention.
An assault at work can result in broken bones if the victim is hit with a blunt object, punched, kicked or thrown to the ground. The force of the impact can cause a fracture, especially in the arms, legs, ribs, and spine. The severity of the injury can vary depending on the type and force of the assault. In some cases, the victim may require surgery or extended medical treatment, which could impact their ability to work and perform daily activities. Claiming compensation for a broken jaw is one of the most common claims related to attacks in both the workplace and out in the public.
Head and brain injuries
Head and brain injuries can be due to a direct blow or being pushed or knocked over during the assault. Head injuries can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries, which can have long-term consequences. Head injury symptoms can include headache, dizziness, confusion, loss of consciousness, and memory problems.
Neck and back injuries
An assault that involves being punched, kicked or hit can cause trauma to the neck and back, resulting in injuries such as sprains, strains or fractures. The force of the impact can also cause the head and neck to jolt, leading to whiplash or even spinal cord trauma, with severe and permanent consequences, such as paralysis or loss of bodily functions.
Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains
Sprains and strains are soft tissue injuries that occur when a ligament, tendon or muscle is twisted or subjected to sudden force. These injuries can happen when a person is hit, kicked or otherwise struck by an assailant or if they fall to the ground during an assault. They can range from minor to severe and cause pain, swelling and limited mobility.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Experiencing an assault at work can be a traumatic event that may lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive memories or flashbacks of the assault, avoidance of reminders of the event and negative thoughts or feelings. These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s daily life, including their ability to work.
Anxiety and depression
The fear and stress of being assaulted can lead to a range of emotional responses, including feelings of helplessness, anger, and sadness. Employees who have been attacked at work may also experience a sense of vulnerability, making them feel anxious or depressed. That can be particularly true for employees who work in high-risk environments or who have experienced multiple assaults.
The type and severity of your injuries will not affect your eligibility to claim compensation for an assault. However, this will determine how much compensation you will receive if your case is successful.
Which workers are more at risk of an assault at work?
Workers in many different job roles face the risk of being physically attacked at work on a daily basis. Some of the occupations that are most commonly involved in workplace attacks that could lead to personal injury claims include:
Assaults on emergency workers, such as police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and healthcare workers, have become a growing concern in recent years. These workers are often called to situations that are potentially volatile or dangerous, and unfortunately, they can become the targets of violence or aggression.
In the UK, the Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act 2018 was introduced to provide higher protection for emergency workers and to impose more severe sentences on those who assault them. The Act makes it an aggravated offence to assault an emergency worker, meaning that a perpetrator could face a higher penalty.
It is essential to recognise and address the risks that emergency workers face in their line of work and to take steps to prevent or mitigate the harm caused by assaults on these workers.
Retail and shop workers
Assaults on retail and shop workers are unfortunately not uncommon in the UK. According to a 2020 survey by the British Retail Consortium, there were, on average, 424 incidents of violence or abuse against retail workers per day. These can happen during robberies, thefts or confrontations with customers. Workers in some industries, such as convenience stores, petrol stations, and off-licences, are particularly vulnerable.
Retail and shop workers are also at risk of verbal abuse, threats and intimidation, which can have a serious impact on their physical and mental well-being. Many employees report feeling unsafe at work, which can lead to high levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
Security staff often work in environments where people may become aggressive or violent, such as at events, clubs, or public spaces. Additionally, they may be responsible for enforcing rules and regulations, which can lead to confrontations with individuals who refuse to comply. In some cases, security workers may also be targeted by criminals who seek to steal from the premises they are guarding or to otherwise cause harm.
Taxi drivers often work alone and at night, making them vulnerable to attacks from passengers or individuals attempting to rob them. Factors such as carrying cash, working in high-crime areas, dealing with drunk people and accepting fares from unknown passengers can increase the risk of assault.
Additionally, the nature of the job can lead to conflict or disagreements between drivers and passengers, which can escalate into violence. Many taxi drivers have called for increased safety measures, such as CCTV cameras, safety training and protective shields to reduce the risk of assault.
Healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, are at risk of being assaulted by patients, their family members, or visitors to healthcare facilities. The reasons for these assaults can vary, including mental health issues, substance abuse, frustration with healthcare services, and other factors.
To prevent these incidents, healthcare facilities should implement appropriate measures, such as providing training to staff on how to identify and manage potentially violent situations, implementing adequate security measures, and having a clear policy in place for reporting and addressing incidents of violence.
Verbal and physical aggression towards teachers from students or parents can result in severe physical and emotional harm and can also impact the learning environment for other students. Teachers may be particularly vulnerable to assault in certain situations, such as when they are alone with a student, when dealing with a student who has a history of violence, or when addressing sensitive or controversial issues in the classroom.
Schools and education systems need to have policies and procedures in place to prevent and address assaults on teachers and provide support for affected staff members.
What is the legislation regarding workplace assaults and safety?
In the UK, the primary legislation governing workplace safety is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This Act places a duty on employers to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all their employees. That includes preventing workplace violence and ensuring that employees are not subject to any form of physical or verbal abuse, harassment or bullying.
There are also specific regulations, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which require employers to undertake a risk assessment to identify any potential risks to employee safety and take steps to control those risks. Additionally, criminal laws may be used to prosecute individuals who engage in violent or abusive behaviour in the workplace, such as assault or harassment.
Some examples of scenarios where an employer might be liable in a workplace assault claim include:
- Leaving employees to work alone or in understaffed conditions, putting them at higher risk of being attacked or assaulted. That is especially true for security guards, prison officers, and carers for people with challenging behaviour;
- Being aware of previous violent conduct from another staff member, patient, or client but failing to take appropriate action to prevent another assault at work;
- If a workplace has been subject to a series of robberies in the past but no extra security measures are taken, and a member of staff is injured in a subsequent robbery;
- If a bar worker was assaulted in a nightclub due to a lack of security guards;
- Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) when working in a profession where you are likely to encounter angry, violent or challenging clients;
- Lack of proper training on how to diffuse potentially dangerous situations.
If you were the victim of an assault at work due to a breach of duty on your employer’s part, you might be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and related financial losses.
Will I lose my job if I claim compensation from my employer?
No, your employer cannot sack you or take any other unfavourable actions against you for making a compensation claim following a work-related assault, as this would be considered unfair dismissal. Unfair dismissal violates employment law and may entitle you to seek legal recourse, such as compensation or reinstatement to your former position.
Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure that you are safe, and it is your right to claim if you have suffered an injury at work. Furthermore, they should have liability insurance against the risk of personal injury to employees. In the event of a claim, their insurer would pay your settlement, and your employer’s finances would not be affected.
What if my employer was not at fault that I was assaulted at work?
If your employer followed all the health and safety regulations dictated by the UK legislation and you were still assaulted at work, they cannot be held liable for negligence. In such instances, however, you could be eligible to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The CICA is a government-funded organisation in the UK that provides financial compensation to victims of violent crimes, including physical and sexual assault. The CICA aims to help victims recover and move forward by providing financial support for injuries, loss of earnings, and other expenses related to the crime.
The CICA evaluates each case based on its own merits and decides upon the amount of compensation to award based on the evidence provided. You could still be entitled to compensation even if the aggressor was not identified, charged or prosecuted. To be eligible for an assault at work claim with the CICA, you must show that:
- You reported the incident to the police and have a police reference number
- You sustained physical injuries or psychological trauma as a result
- You did not cause the assault or aggravate the situation
If you seek criminal injury compensation, you must cooperate with any police investigation and provide any information requested by the CICA during the claims process. To find out more about how to start a CICA claim, call 0800 678 1410 today for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How much compensation can I claim for an assault at work?
If you make a successful assaulted at work compensation claim, the amount of money you could receive will largely depend on the injuries you sustained and how these have affected your work and personal life. Your solicitor will ensure you are fully compensated for all your losses. Two types of damages can be awarded to you:
- Special damages are intended to compensate the victim for specific monetary losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of care and assistance during recovery. These damages are more straightforward to calculate as they can be proven with receipts, invoices, and other documents.
- General damages refer to compensation for non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship or consortium. These damages are more difficult to quantify and are typically based on the severity of the injury and its impact on your life.
Together, general and special damages aim to compensate the claimant for their losses and restore them to their position before the injury occurred. Below are a few examples of compensation awards you could receive according to the guidelines provided by the Judicial College:
- £5,630 to £36,770 for moderate arm injuries with substantial recovery
- £12,900 to £23,460 for a neck injury resulting in limitation of mobility, long-time pain and a recovery period exceeding five years
- £1,760 to £32,210 for a head injury such as a skull fracture that does not affect brain function
- £1,880 to £379,100 for brain injuries, depending on the severity and long-term consequences
- £15,320 to £46,780 for moderate leg injuries with partial recovery or near certainty of arthritis or mobility issues
- £23,150 to £59,860 for moderately severe PTSD that causes significant disability, but treatment may lead to some recovery in the future
Is there a time limit to seek assaulted at work compensation?
If you have been assaulted at work, how much time you have to claim compensation will depend on the circumstances of the incident:
- If you seek criminal injury compensation, the CICA imposes a two-year time limit to start legal proceedings from when you reported the crime to the police.
- Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have three years from the date of the assault to make a negligence claim against your employer.
If you do not start an assault at work claim within the limitation date, your case will usually become statute-barred. The court may allow an extension of the time limit but only in exceptional circumstances where it is fair and reasonable to do so.
How long you have to claim may be different if:
- Your injuries were not immediately apparent. If your injuries did not become immediately visible after a physical assault at work or you suffered psychological trauma, the time starts to run on the date of knowledge. This is the date you knew, or should have known, that you suffered a significant injury due to the assault.
- The injured party is under 18 years old. In this case, the claim limitation date begins on their 18 birthday and a parent or legal guardian could start a claim on their behalf at any time before that.
- The claimant lacks the mental capacity to handle their case. If the injured person is incapacitated and cannot conduct legal proceedings, a litigation friend could represent them and seek compensation without being bound by a limitation period.
- You were working abroad. Claims related to an assault at work abroad can have very different time limits, depending on which country the attack happened in.
While it may seem like you have a lot of time to start your claim, it is better to contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. That will give them plenty of time to arrange for medical reports, gather evidence to support your case and ensure you do not miss any crucial deadlines.
Can my assault at work claim be made using a No Win No Fee agreement?
If another party was responsible for your injuries, it is possible to make an assaulted at work compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay any solicitor fees upfront and will only need to pay them if they win your case. This agreement gives everybody the chance to seek compensation for a personal injury, regardless of their financial situation.
The No Win No Fee service also involves taking out After the Event (ATE) before starting legal proceedings. This is a legal expenses insurance that will cover all your costs and disbursement in the event of a loss, including the other party’s solicitor fees, court expenses, and police and medical reports.
If your claim for a physical assault at work is successful, the defendant will have to pay for most of your legal expenses. You will keep the total compensation awarded minus a success fee that you will pay your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a No Win No Fee agreement. The success fee is agreed upon from the beginning and is capped at 25% of your compensation for general damages and past financial losses.