Employers in the United Kingdom have a legal obligation to ensure that all employees are safe in the workplace. This includes from being injured or harmed while they are at work and it also means that an employer must ensure that you are not placed in a situation which could lead to an assault on you taking place whether you are assaulted by a work colleague, a client or a visitor. If your employer failed to keep you safe from being assaulted at work, you may be able to seek compensation from them.
If you were assaulted at work and would like to know if you could sue your employer, and the evidence you would need to support your claim, please read on.
- Definition of An Assault at Work?
- Assaults in the Workplace Statistics
- What Evidence Do I Need to Prove My Assault at Work Claim?
- Who is Most At Risk of Assault at Work?
- Who is Liable if I Am a Victim of an Assault at Work?
- Who Pays the Assault at Work Compensation?
- My Employer is No Longer Trading, Can I Still Seek Assault at Work Compensation?
- Do I Have to be Physically Assaulted to File an Assault at Work Claim?
- What Procedure Should I Follow if I am Assaulted at Work?
- How Much Assaulted at Work Compensation Could I Get?
- Can an Employer Sack me If I Make an Assault at Work Claim Against Them?
- Should I Sue For Assault at Work Compensation From My Employer?
- What Benefit is There to Working With a Solicitor on an Assault at Work Claim?
- Would a Solicitor Offer Me a No Win No Fee Agreement on My Assault at Work Claim?
- Informative Links
According to the Health and Safety Executive, the definition of an assault in the workplace is:
- A specific situation in which one person is threatened, they are assaulted or abused in relation to the work they are tasked to do
You do not necessarily have to be the victim of a physical assault in the workplace for the event to be deemed an assault on you because being verbally abused in any way also qualifies as an assault on you whether the abuse is sexist, homophobic or racist.
A recent Government report on violence in the workplace showed that about 350,000 workers were subjected to an assault while at work during the years between 2017 and 2018 and established that under half of the workers were attacked physically while over half of the workers were the victims of verbal abuse and/or some kind of threat whilst they were working. It is thought that the actual figures are much higher than revealed in the report with many assaults that take place in the workplace going unreported.
If you were subjected to an assault at work and the incident happened in the last three years, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim and be awarded compensation for the distress you were forced to endure. For your claim to be valid, it would be necessary to show that you were assaulted by a third party and that you did in no way contribute to the attack. Because this type of work-related personal injury claim can be challenging to prove, it is wiser to contact a solicitor at www.accident.claims.co.uk who would assess your case before providing essential legal advice on what evidence you would need to provide to support your claim and who could be held liable
There are certain professions that put you at greater risk of being assaulted when you are at work. If you work alone or your job entails you working late into the night, research has show that you would be more at risk of being assaulted and the same can be said for social workers. With this said, workers who are at greater risk of being subjected to an assault at work would include those who work in the following professions:
- Prison officers
- Security guards
- Building workers
- Those who work with mentally handicapped people
- People whose job it is to deal with valuables and/or cash
- Station attendants (train)
- Those who work in the public transport
If you are subjected to an assault at work, studies have shown that the incident typically involves a fellow employee or another person and not an employer. This means that holding your employer liable for the assault you were subjected to can often be extremely challenging.
However, all employers in the UK are duty bound to ensure that you are safe when you are at work which not only includes being safe from injury and harm but also from being assaulted or abused in the workplace. Your employer must keep the risk of this happening to an acceptable minimum.
If your employer was aware that a work colleague was known to have violent tendencies which they directed at you, they must mitigate the risk of you being subjected to an assault and it would be deemed part of their legal duty to do so. With this said, if your work involves contact with the mentally handicapped or with people who have violent tendencies and you were not given adequate training on how to deal with them which as a result meant you were assaulted during the course of your work, the employer would also be deemed liable.
The reason being that all employers must ensure that extra training as well as support and adequate equipment and tools are provided to reduce the risk of an assault at work occurring. Should you believe that an employer failed in any way which includes providing the right training to handle specific situations and jobs you are tasked to do, you should contact a personal injury solicitor who would assess who could be held responsible for the fact you were subjected to an assault at work.
A personal injury lawyer would also provide you with vital legal advice on whether you should file a claim against your employer. Should your employer not be responsible for the assault on you, a solicitor would recommend contacting the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) so that you could begin legal proceedings against the party who attacked you whether physically or verbally in the workplace.
When you file an assault at work claim against an employer, it would be their insurance provider who deals with your case. In the UK, liability insurance is compulsory and employers are legally obliged to have it in place. The insurer must be an approved provider and the policy must meet the legal threshold of £5 million. As such, it is the insurer who pays the assault compensation you seek.
Should a personal injury solicitor find that your employer cannot be held liable for the attack you were subjected to whether this was a physical attack or verbal abuse, they would recommend you make an application to the CICA – the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the money awarded in a successful application would be paid through the Criminal Injuries Scheme.
If the employer you were working for at the time you were the victim of assault at work has gone out of business, you may still be able to seek compensation from them. This is because although the employer is no longer trading, their liability insurance provider would still be trading. In short, if you know the name of your employer’s insurance provider, you could still claim assault at work compensation. Should you not know the name of the insurer, this information can be found through the Employer’s Liability Trading Office (ELTO).
As previously touched upon, you do not have to be physically assaulted at work for your claim to be valid because even if you are verbally abused or attacked when you are at work, it would be deemed as an assault on you. This includes sexist, homophobic or racist abuse. Should you have been the victim of any sort of assault while you were at work, and you can show that an employer failed in their legal duty to ensure you were kept safe from harm at work, you could be entitled to seek compensation from the employer by filing an assault at work claim against them.
The first thing you must do if you are assaulted in the workplace is get away from the dangers you are faced with by going somewhere you know you would be safe. Should the attack be physical and you suffer any sort of injury, you should immediately seek medical attention from either a designated first aid officer in the workplace, your own GP or at the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital.
- Tell someone you trust that you were the victim of an assault in the workplace. This can be a fellow employee or somebody you know is trustworthy
- Tell your employer of the incident and of your intentions which includes seeking medical attention
- Should you have been the victim of a physical assault at work, you must make sure that the medical professional who treats you provides a detailed report of the injuries you suffered in the attack as this would be used to calculate the level of compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim
- You should record the circumstances that led up to the assault on you as soon as possible when everything is fresh in your mind
- Gather witness statements from all the people who saw the assault on you remembering to get their contact details too
- Contact the Police and get a crime reference number – this would be required if you submit an application for compensation through the CICA scheme
- Seek legal advice from a personal injury solicitor who has the necessary legal expertise to deal with assault at work claims
If it is found that your employer cannot be held liable for the assault at work on you, a personal injury solicitor would assess whether you should pursue your claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority which would require that you provide a crime report for your case to be accepted.
When it comes to the amount of assault at work compensation you may be awarded, this would depend on several things which are explained below:
- The extent of the injuries you suffered both physical or psychological – you would be awarded “general damages” for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity
- Loss of companionship
- Whether the qualify of your life has been negatively impacted by the assault you experienced
It is worth noting that the amount of compensation you may be awarded in general damages, another factor that would be taken into consideration is if the assault you experienced leaves you with any long-term damage whether physical or psychological.
On top of general damages, you would also be awarded “special damages” which would cover any out of pocket expenses related to the injuries you sustained. As such, you must be able to provide relevant receipts to support any special damages you want to claim. Special damages that you may be entitled to receive would cover the following:
- Loss of earnings during the time it takes you to recover and go back to work
- Loss of future earnings, should the assault at work you were subjected to leave you unable to work again and leave you unable to seek alternative employment
- The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property
- Loss of irreplaceable belongings and personal items
- Medical expenses
- Travel expenses
- All other expenses you incurred as a direct result of the assault you experienced at work
Your employer would be acting unlawfully if they sack you because you seek compensation following an assault at work you were subjected to. Employers must respect your worker’s rights and this includes the right to file a work-related personal injury claim against them if it can be proved they failed in their duty to make sure you were safe from harm in the workplace.
Should you feel or believe that your employer is threatening you in any way which includes implying you could be made redundant or sacked because you file an assault claim against them, you should contact a personal injury solicitor at www.accidentclaims.co.uk who would provide you with essential legal advice on whether you could seek further compensation by filing an unfair dismissal or detriment claim against your employer for acting this way towards you.
You have the right to file an assault at work claim against your employer providing you can show they were negligent in their legal duty to ensure the work environment was safe and that you were not put at risk of being assaulted at work. A personal injury solicitor would determine whether your employer could be deemed responsible and if this is the case, it would your employer’s insurance provider who would deal with your case.
If the solicitor finds your employer is not liable, they would then typically recommend that you pursue your claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority providing the solicitor believes your case meets the strict criteria required by the authority.
There are many benefits and advantages to working with a personal injury solicitor when filing an assault at work claim because proving liability can often prove very challenging. The solicitor you contact would need to establish that you have a strong case either against your employer or the party who assaulted you in the workplace. They would do this by offering you an initial consultation which is typically free of charge and should you not wish to pursue your claim, you would be under no obligation to do so.
Other benefits and advantages of having legal representation when filing an assault at work claim would include the following:
- The initial consultation you have with a personal injury solicitor would be free of charge
- Once happy that your case against an employer or third party is strong, a personal injury solicitor would offer to represent you by offering No Win No Fee terms which means you can seek compensation whether from an employer or through the Criminal Injuries Scheme without any financial risk
- The solicitor would arrange for you to be examined by an independent specialist and the detailed report produced would be key to calculating the level of assault at work compensation you may be entitled to receive whether through the courts or through the CICA scheme
- Personal injury solicitors can reference legal libraries and can use “precedents” when representing you in an assault at work claim
- Solicitors are aware of the pre-action protocols and time limits associated with both personal injury claims and applications for compensation through the CICA scheme
- The solicitor who represents you, would let you know at the earliest opportunity of the amount of assault at work compensation you may be entitled to
- If your case is very complex and therefore a final settlement may take longer to reach, the solicitor would negotiate “interim payments” for you to avoid any financial hardship
As previously mentioned, as long as a personal injury lawyer believes you have a strong assault claim either against an employer or a third party, they would offer to work on your case on a No Win No Fee basis. As such, you would not have to pay the personal injury solicitor an upfront fee or any ongoing fees either. You would need to provide sufficient evidence that the assault on you could have been avoided had your employer taken the necessary steps to protect you from being harmed in the workplace.
If the solicitor finds that another person would be held liable for the assault on you in the workplace, they would recommend that you pursue your case through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and would still offer you No Win No Fee terms when representing you, should this be the case.
A Conditional Fee Agreement is a legal contract between you and the solicitor who represents you and it lays out the legal work that would be carried out on your behalf. The agreement also sets out the “success fee” that would only be payable when you are awarded the compensation you seek whether this is in an out of court settlement, through a court ruling, or through the CICA scheme. The amount due to the solicitor would be deducted from the amount of compensation you are awarded. However, should you lose your case, the “success fee” would not be payable because the personal injury lawyer who represented you signed a No Fee No Win agreement.
For more information regarding assault at work statistics, please click on the link provided below:
If you were involved in an assault at work and you would like more information regarding violence in the workplace, please follow the link below: