All employees have the right to feel safe at their place of work, and all employers have a duty of care to ensure the correct processes are in place to keep everyone safe. If you have suffered an incident in which a person has caused physical or emotional harm whilst you were doing your job, you could be entitled to compensation.
An assault at work claim typically refers to a legal action taken by an individual who has experienced physical or verbal assault in the workplace. It involves seeking compensation and justice for the harm suffered because of the assault.
Victims may still be dealing with the effects of the assault for months and years after; physical, sexual, and verbal abuse can cause both physical injuries and damage to mental well-being. An individual can make an assault at work claim if they were assaulted by a colleague, service user, or any other individual in the work environment.
At Major Trauma Group we understand the lasting effect that traumatic assaults and injuries can have on a victim, and we endeavour to provide a stress-free service to our clients, persistently advocating for your individual needs.
What is a workplace assault?
A workplace assault refers to incidents whereby an employee experiences physical violence, threat, or verbal abuse within the work environment. It can involve actions such as physical attacks, aggressive behaviour, harassment, bullying, or any form of assaultive conduct that compromises an individual’s safety, well-being, or dignity at work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) describes a workplace assault as any ‘incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’.
What are your employer’s duties to keep you safe?
In the UK, employers have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of their employees while they are at work. These duties are outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which sets the foundation for health and safety regulations in the UK.
Some of the key responsibilities employers have to adhere to, to keep employees safe include:
- Risk assessment: Employers must conduct regular risk assessments to identify any potential hazards in the workplace that could cause harm to employees. This includes assessing risks related to physical violence, assault, and other forms of workplace aggression.
- Preventive measures: Employers are responsible for implementing appropriate measures to minimise or eliminate identified risks. This may involve providing adequate training, implementing security measures, establishing clear policies and procedures, and promoting a culture of respect and dignity in the workplace.
- Information and training: Clear information and training on health and safety matters should be facilitated, including the risks associated with specific roles and how to mitigate them. This may include training on conflict resolution, recognising signs of aggression, and reporting procedures.
- Reporting mechanisms: Employers should establish effective reporting mechanisms that allow employees to report incidents, including workplace assaults, without fear of retaliation. They should also investigate reports promptly and take appropriate action to address any identified issues.
- Support and welfare: Appropriate support and assistance should be offered to employees who have experienced workplace assault. This may include access to counselling services, medical support, and accommodations to ensure the employee’s well-being and recovery.
If an employer fails to fulfil their duties, it can result in legal consequences, including potential claims brought by employees who have suffered harm due to the employer’s negligence.
What professions are most at risk of assaults in the workplace?
Several professions are considered to be at a higher risk of workplace assaults due to the nature of their work or the environments. The risk can vary depending on numerous factors, including the specific job tasks, and working conditions.
Employees in healthcare settings, including hospitals, psychiatric facilities, and residential care homes, face a heightened risk of assault due to the potential for dealing with agitated or violent patients, visitors, or clients.
Similarly, teachers and school staff may encounter incidents of assault or aggression from students or parents, particularly in situations where behaviour management and conflict resolution are challenging. This is especially prevalent in special educational needs schools, where the pupils can be more unpredictable in nature.
Police officers, prison officers, security guards, and other law enforcement employees are also exposed to potentially dangerous situations that may involve physical confrontations or assaults whilst maintaining public safety and order. In such roles, violence can perhaps be expected, but there are circumstances in which injuries occur that could have been prevented if appropriate safety measures and procedures were firmly in place.
It should be emphasised that workplace violence and assault can happen in any profession, extending beyond the occupations listed above. Employers in all industries must place a high priority on establishing secure work environments and implementing proactive measures to safeguard their employees against such incidents.
Causes of Assaults at Work
Assaults in the workplace can be exacerbated by a lack of training, inadequate risk assessments, insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), and failure to follow established procedures. These factors can significantly increase the vulnerability of employees to workplace violence and is a failure on the employer’s part leaving them liable for a legal action.
When employees are not provided with adequate training on conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, and recognising signs of potential aggression, they may be ill-prepared to handle volatile situations. This can lead to an increased risk of workplace assaults as employees may inadvertently aggravate confrontations or fail to take appropriate preventive measures.
Conducting thorough risk assessments is also essential in identifying potential hazards and vulnerabilities within the workplace. Failure to assess the risks associated with specific job tasks or the work environment can leave employees exposed to situations where assaults are more likely to occur. Risk assessments help determine appropriate preventive measures and enable employers to implement strategies to mitigate potential violence.
In certain work environments, such as those involving security, law enforcement, or healthcare, the provision of appropriate PPE can play a critical role in minimising the risk of workplace assaults or injury. Lack of necessary protective equipment, such as body armour, protective gloves, or panic alarms, can leave employees more susceptible to harm during confrontational incidents.
Employers should promote a culture of compliance with established policies and procedures. Sadly, many employers fail to follow their own procedures, increasing the likelihood of workplace assaults and the chances of employees claiming against them.
What should you do following an assault at work?
It is important to seek prompt medical treatment as soon as possible after you are assaulted. This is crucial for your health and well-being and is important as evidence of your injuries. You should also make sure to report the assault to your employer and have it appropriately recorded, as well as report the incident to the police, as your case may be progressed to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
If you wish to make a personal injury claim, please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help in your recovery.
If you have been assaulted at work, it is understandable that you may suffer from long-term injuries and effects. Our team of lawyers work with you to advocate for your needs, both in terms of post-discharge rehabilitation and financial compensation, ultimately giving you the best chance of making a full recovery.
Many of our clients who suffer an assault at work go on to suffer from psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder due to the traumatic nature of the incident. This can significantly affect their way of life and can also induce fear of future employment, meaning they will suffer financial disturbances for the foreseeable future.
Our lawyers work tirelessly to obtain a fair settlement for our clients to provide some financial security, alongside the appropriate physical and mental health support to help you get your life back on track.
How much compensation could you receive?
The amount of compensation you might receive for a physical assault at work compensation claim varies greatly, depending on the severity and context of your injuries. Factors considered when it comes to compensation amounts include the severity of the physical and psychological injuries sustained, the impact on the victim’s life, and any financial losses incurred.
Compensation for an assault at work is typically categorised as a personal injury, accident at work claim. It may cover various aspects, such as:
- General Damages: This refers to compensation for the pain, suffering, and loss of amenity resulting from the assault. The severity and long-term impact of the injuries will be considered in determining the appropriate compensation amount.
- Special Damages: These cover quantifiable financial losses resulting from the assault, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
How can Major Trauma Group assist?
MTG comprises of solicitor member firms from across the country who are highly experienced in dealing with a broad range of no-win, no-fee injury claims. Our panel of specialist injury compensation lawyers offer their expert services on a no win no fee agreement, so our clients do not have to worry about the legal costs of making a claim.
More information on the process of making a claim can be found on our website.
If you were assaulted at work and are looking for specialist advice and assistance regarding making a claim against your employer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today to find out more about how we can help you.