An employer must by law ensure that a working environment is safe and that employees are not harmed or injured while in their employment. This includes protecting you from being assaulted at work whether it is an employer, work colleague, client or visitor to the premises who acts in this way towards you. If you can prove that your employer failed in their duty to keep you safe from being assaulted at work, you could be entitled to sue for compensation.
Would My Assault at Work Claim be Valid?
As previously mentioned, if you suffered an assault at work and the incident occurred in the last 3 years, you may be able to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim. However, you would need to have sufficient evidence that the assault happened through no fault of your own for the case to be valid.
A personal injury lawyer would help and advise you on the type of evidence you would need to prove your case against an employer, bearing in mind that there is a very strict time limit associated with this type personal injury claim.
What is the Definition of An Assault at Work?
An assault at work as defined by the Health and Safety Executive which also covers violence in the workplace, is as follows:
- A situation where one person is threatened, assaulted or abused in relation to their work
It is worth noting that an “assault” does not mean you have to be physically attacked, because you can be verbally abused, attacked whether it is racist, sexist or homophobic abuse.
Assault at Work Statistics
According to a report published in the UK, around 350,000 workers were assaulted in the workplace between the years 2015 and 2016 with just under half being physical attacks and over half of the workers being subjected to verbal abuse and/or threats while they were at work. Although the report suggests that close to 1.4% of workers experienced some kind of assault at work during this period of time, it is thought that the figure could be a lot higher due to the fact that many instances of violence and assault in the workplace go unreported.
What Employees Are Most At Risk of Assault at Work?
Studies have shown that employees who work alone or who work late at night as well as social workers are most at risk of experiencing an assault in the workplace. Other professions that put workers and employees more at risk include the following:
- People who work with the mentally handicapped
- People who handle cash and/or valuables
- Prison officers
- Security guards
- People who work in the building trade
- Train station attendants
- People who work in the public transport sector
Would My Employer Be Liable For an Assault at Work?
An assault in the workplace is more typically carried out by a work colleague or other person is responsible rather than an employer. As such, holding an employer responsible if you are assaulted at work can prove challenging. With this said, all employer’s have a duty to ensure that a working environment is safe and that the risk of harm and injury to employees is minimal. This means that an employer must do their best to ensure that the risk of being assaulted at work is also kept to the minimum.
Should your employer know that a member of staff has violent tendencies towards you, mitigating the risk of an assault at work would be part of their duty of care to keep you safe from harm while you are in their employment. Another scenario where an employer could be deemed liable for an assault at work taking place would be because an employee was not given adequate training when working with mentally handicapped people or people who are known to have violent tendencies.
As such, an employer must provide extra training, support and the correct tools/equipment with an end goal being to reduce the risk of any sort of assault at work from happening. If they fail to do this, an employer could be held liable should you have been assaulted in the workplace. If you believe that your employer could have prevented an assault on you from happening, you should seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in assault at work claims.
This type of claim can be complex and as previously mentioned, establishing liability can prove challenging. As such, a personal injury lawyer would help you through the process of determining whether you have a strong case against your employer and they would offer essential legal advice on how best to proceed in filing an assault at work claim against your employer.
Should the solicitor you contact find that your employer could not be deemed liable, they would typically recommend that you contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority otherwise referred to as CICA and to then start legal proceedings against the person who assaulted you at work.
Does My Employer Pay the Compensation Awarded in an Assault at Work Claim?
If you were the victim of an assault at work and are considering filing for compensation, you may be wondering whether it would be your employer who has to pay the amount you could be awarded if your case against them is upheld. Employers must by law hold liability insurance and the cover must meet the legal requirement which is £5 million. A recognised insurance company must issue the policy which not only covers accidents at work that leave employees injured but also workers who develop a work-related medical condition and those who are victims of an assault in the workplace.
In short, it is your employer’s liability insurance provider who would pay your assault at work compensation and it is the insurance company’s legal department that would handle all aspects of your claim against your employer.
Can I Still File an Assault at Work Claim Against An Employer Who is No Longer Trading?
Just because your employer may no longer be in business, does not mean you cannot file an assault at work claim against them. The reason being that although your employer may no longer be trading, but their liability insurance providers would still be in business and as such, providing you know who the insurance company is, you can claim compensation for an assault at work.
If you do not know who your employer’s insurance provider is, an accident at work lawyer would be able to find this out through the Employer’s Liability Trading Office or ELTO.
Does An Assault at Work Have to Involve a Physical Injury?
If you experience any sort of abuse, threats of violence or you are verbally attacked in any way while you are at work, whether the assault is sexist, racist or homophobic, it is deemed to be an assault at work on you. As such, you could be entitled to seek compensation providing you can show that your employer could be held liable for not keeping you safe from harm while you were in their employment.
What Should I Do If I Am Assaulted at Work?
If you are assaulted at work whether the attack is physical or psychological, the first thing to do is remove yourself from any danger and to get to a safe place. If you have been physically attacked and injured, you should seek medical attention straight away as a matter of urgency. The procedure following an assault at work you should follow is as follows:
- Find a work colleague or someone who you can trust and tell them about the assault at work you were subjected to
- Make sure your employer is made aware of the assault on you and what you intend to do which includes seeking medical care for any injuries you sustained
- If you suffered a physical injury, seek medical attention and make sure the doctor who treats you gives you a detailed medical report detailing the extent of the injuries you sustained – this would be needed when calculating the amount of compensation you may receive if your assault at work claim is upheld
- Make sure you note down exactly what happened and do this while everything is still fresh in your mind making sure that you include the smallest of details
- Get the contact details of anyone who witnessed the assault on you
- Make sure you contact the Police and that you complete a “crime report” of the incident – this would be needed when you file your claim for compensation
- Contact a personal injury lawyer who specialises in assault at work claims
If the lawyer you contact feels that your employer cannot be held responsible, you can still pursue an assault at work claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) bearing in mind that an official report of the incident must have been made to the Police as early as possible after the assault at work took place for your claim to be considered by the CICA.
What Level of Assault at Work Compensation Could I Be Awarded?
The level of assault at work compensation you may be awarded in a successful case against your employer would depend on several factors. However, you would be awarded “general damages” for any injuries you sustained which includes the following:
- Physical pain and suffering – this includes physical disfigurement, impairment
- Mental anguish
- Any loss of companionship you may have had to endure
- How much your quality of life has been negatively impacted
The level of general damages you may receive would depend on the extent of your injuries and whether there are any long-term effects that you would have to cope with as a direct result of having been the victim of an assault at work.
You would be also awarded “special damages” which would be to compensation you for the following:
- Any loss of wages you incurred
- The loss of any future earnings and capacity to work again
- The cost of replacing or repairing any damaged property
- The loss of any irreplaceable items and belongings
- Your medical expenses
- The travel expenses you incurred to seek treatment
To be awarded “special damages” in a successful assault at work claim against your employer, you would need to provide receipts of all the expenditures you paid out which relate directly to the injuries you sustained.
Could I Lose My Job If I File an Assault at Work Claim?
You cannot lose your job because you seek compensation by filing an assault at work claim. Your employer would be acting unlawfully should they threaten you with the sack or redundancy because your worker’s rights are highly protected and this includes when you are injured, harmed or assaulted in the workplace.
If your employer objects to you making a claim, you should contact a lawyer who would offer essential legal advice on whether you would be entitled to file further legal action against your employer because they acted in this way towards you.
Should I Sue My Employer If Am Assaulted at Work?
As previously mentioned, your rights as an employee are protected which means that you have the right to seek compensation for any injuries and harm you suffer while working for an employer. As such, you would be entitled to file an assault at work claim providing you can prove that your employer could be held responsible. The incident must also have occurred in the last 3 years through no fault of your own.
Once you file an assault at work claim, your employer’s liability insurance provider would deal with all aspects of the case and this includes settling the compensation you may be awarded when your claim is upheld, whether in a court or in an out of court settlement. It is worth noting that 95% of all personal injury claims which includes work-related cases, are settled by an insurance provider before they go before a judge.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on an Assault at Work Claim?
If you were assaulted in the workplace and are considering filing for compensation, there are a lot of advantages and benefits to having a lawyer go over your case. If it is found that your have a strong claim against an employer, an experienced solicitor would typically represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. Other benefits of working with a personal injury lawyer includes the following:
- A personal injury lawyer would offer you an initial consultation for which there is no charge. Depending on the complexity of your case, this can either be done over the phone or in a face-to-face meeting. The consultation does not oblige you to continue with an assault at work claim and you only have to move forward with your case if you feel comfortable doing so
- As previously mentioned, once it has been established that you have a strong case, a solicitor would work on your assault at work claim by signing a No Win No Fee agreement which in short, means you would not have to pay for the legal representation you receive until you are awarded compensation whether your case is settled by your employer’s liability insurers out of court or by a judge should your assault at work claim be disputed and therefore goes before a judge in court
- A solicitor would respect the time limits associated with assault at work claims and would make sure that all pre-action protocols are followed
- Personal injury solicitors can access legal libraries when needed and can base your claim on cases that have been won by employees in the past
- A lawyer who works on your case would let you know how much compensation you may be entitled to receive as early as possible
- A solicitor would work hard to ensure you receive the level of assault at work compensation you would be entitled to and if necessary, the solicitor would ensure you receive interim payments if a final settlement takes longer to reach
- A lawyer would ensure that you are examined by an independent medical professional who would provide an invaluable report on the extent of the injuries you sustained in an assault at work. The level of general damages you receive would be based on this medical report
- A lawyer would also ensure that you receive ongoing treatment and therapy should you injuries be such that you require long-term medical care
Is There a Time Limit to Filing an Assault at Work Claim?
An assault at work claim has a strict time limit that must be adhered to. This is 3 years from when the incident took place. However, if you can prove that you developed a medical health issue as a direct result of having been assaulted at work, the 3 year time limit starts from the day you were diagnosed as suffering from a condition and the diagnosis must be carried out by a recognised medical professional. If you were assaulted at work prior to your 18th birthday, the 3 year time limit begins from the day you turn 18 years of age.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Assault at Work Claim?
If it is found that your case against an employer, work colleague or other person who assaulted you while at work, a solicitor would agree to work on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. You would not have to pay a retainer for the lawyer to begin their investigations and working on your assault at work claim. There would be no ongoing fees to find as your claim progresses either. The only time you would have to pay for the services the firm of solicitors provided, is when you are awarded the assault at work compensation you sued your employer for.
The No Win No Fee agreement is called a Conditional Fee Agreement and it lays out the Terms and Conditions of the contract which is a legally binding document. It also sets out the agree percentage you would have to pay the firm of solicitors who represent you, but the fee is only payable if you win your assault at work claim. The maximum percentage that can be charged is 25% and this would be deducted directly from the assault at work compensation you are awarded.
Should you lose your case, you would not have to pay the agreed fee to the firm of solicitors that provided the legal services on you assault at work claim. The reason being that when entering into a No Win No Fee agreement with you, the lawyers agreed to waive their charges if you did not win your case which is one of the many advantages of having an personal injury solicitor represent you when filing an assault at work claim.
To find out more about violence in the workplace, the link below provides a lot of valuable information on the subject:
If you were the victim of violence in the workplace, it is important to know it is not part of the job. The following link provides essential reading on the topic: