Have You Been Assaulted at Work? You Could Claim Compensation

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Assaulted in the work place

Are you one of many people in the UK who have suffered violence in the workplace? Have you been assaulted and injured by a colleague? Perhaps a client or supplier has become violent in the course of your daily work?

There is no excuse for violence in the workplace, and your employer has a duty of care to look after your physical and mental well-being.

So, if you have been assaulted at work, then you may be eligible for compensation.

Can I Claim Compensation for Being Assaulted at Work?

You can claim compensation if you are physically or verbally assaulted at work, or if you are away from the premises but undertaking work for your employer. Compensation levels vary depending on any injury caused.

We know from reports by the Health and Safety Executive that violence in the workplace is far too common.

In the financial year 2015/16, there was 150,000 cases of physical assault and 210,000 cases of verbal abuse.

It is worth noting that physical and mental injuries are considered in the same light by the courts.

We will now take a look at some of the more frequently asked questions regarding assault/violence in the workplace.

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Should I Report Physical and Verbal Abuse in the Workplace?

Yes, yes, yes! Unless you report physical/verbal abuse in the workplace, there will be no record on file and nothing that your employer can do. So, if you have been a victim of violence in the workplace, it is important that you inform your employer as soon as possible.

Can I Defend Myself From Assault in the Workplace?

In a perfect world, if you find yourself in a difficult situation at work if possible, you should leave the area of conflict. Notify your employer as soon as possible, seek medical attention and make a formal complaint to your employer.

There will be situations where it may be difficult to immediately vacate the vicinity, and unfortunately, you may be forced to defend yourself. Under the law, everybody has the right to self-defence but removing yourself from the situation is by far and away from the best course of action, where possible.

Which Professions Seem to Attract More Violence in the Workplace?

In reality, there are few working environments that do not attract a degree of friction, frustration and sometimes violence.

However, research shows that there are a number of professions more at risk of assault and abuse which include:-

  • Social services
  • Community workers
  • Mental health services
  • Carers - private and care home
  • Medical practitioners
  • Emergency services
  • Law enforcement

While some of the assaults at work may involve patients who are physically/mentally ill, this does not remove the employer’s duty of care to all of their employees. There may be situations where everything has been done to protect employees. On the flip side of the coin, sometimes employees are given little or no protection.

Is Physical/Verbal Abuse Not Part of Some Employment Positions?

Many people have this bizarre assumption that those who work in certain areas of the employment market should expect physical/verbal abuse as part of their role. As a consequence, we can only estimate the number of perfectly legitimate compensation claims which have not been pursued.

Unfortunately, if instances of physical/verbal abuse in the workplace are not reported then potentially negligent, third parties are not held to account. Therefore, procedures and protection for employees are unlikely to change.

What Environments Are More Susceptible to Physical Abuse?

Recent research has shown that there are a number of scenarios that are more likely to attract violence than others.

These include:-

  • Dangerously low staffing levels can lead to friction, frustration and anger
  • A lack of training for those in the caring industry can leave carers exposed to unstable/violent individuals
  • Failure to supply safety equipment or physical barriers to protect employees from potentially violent individuals
  • Pubs and clubs

There may be occasions where employers take disciplinary action against aggressive/violent employees, but they may be lacking the evidence to terminate their employment. In these scenarios, it could be argued that employers have done as much as possible to mitigate the dangers.

Is My Employer Potentially Liable for Assaults off Work Premises?

If you are undertaking work on behalf of your employer, and you are subjected to violence, then your employer may still be found negligent. It matters not where the assault to place but whether or not you were undertaking work activities.

If we take a hypothetical situation of delivering goods to a customer who has been aggressive and unpredictable in the future, it may be sensible to send two employees. This is a perfectly reasonable action to reduce the chances of aggression, violence and even assault.

Matching the Role With the Experience of the Employee

There will be certain situations where there may be friction, disagreement and potential aggression from colleagues or customers. An employer could be found negligent if they placed an inexperienced employee in a particularly challenging role for which they were plainly unprepared.

This is the type of employer negligence that is again often overlooked by employees who suffer assaults at work.

How Do I Claim Compensation for Injuries Received in the Workplace?

If you have been abused, either verbally or physically, in the workplace, then you have every right to seek compensation. It is very important to put together as much evidence as possible as quickly as possible after the incident.

This may include:-

  • Medical diagnosis
  • Witness statements
  • Timeline of events
  • Assistance offered by the employer
  • Historic patterns of violence
  • Photographic evidence

Basically, the more evidence you can provide, the greater your chance of securing a negligence ruling and subsequent compensation.

Appointing a Claims Management Representative

Once you have put together your evidence, it is time to approach a claims management company to review your case. They will give an independent opinion on your chances of success, and where there is a minimum 60% chance of any compensation, they may offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement to take on your case.

This basically means that you are relieved of liability regarding your claims management representative’s expenses when pursuing your claim. In turn, they will negotiate a “success fee” which is traditionally around 25% of any compensation awarded.

Do I Need Assistance Pursuing My Claim?

Even though the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, there is still a procedure go through and legal technicalities. Even the strongest of claims can be dismissed if procedures are not followed and legal deadlines not respected.

So, while on the surface, it may seem relatively simple to pursue compensation, it is not as easy as many people think.

Summary

There is no excuse for physical violence/verbal abuse in the workplace either from colleagues, customers or visitors to your premises. Your employer has a legal obligation to protect the physical and mental well-being of their employees. Failure to do so, resulting in violence and injuries, could lead to a negligence claim and compensation payment.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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