Assaulted at work by a service user

11 March 2021

If you've suffered a physical or psychological injury because of a physical workplace assault by a service user, you may be entitled to claim compensation. This is particularly true if your employer was aware of the risks and didn't take reasonable steps to address them.

Most workplace assault claims can be dealt with on a no win no fee basis.

Workplace assaults

While it’s possible for a workplace assault to occur in most work environments, some jobs do carry a greater risk than others. For example, health and social care workers who provide care to individuals with complex needs may be exposed to a higher level of risk.

Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of employees and should take reasonable steps to ensure that safety standards are met. If a service user has a history of violence or has exhibited violent and aggressive behaviour, it’s important for employers to assess any risk of physical assault. Comprehensive risk assessments should be carried out and steps should be taken to reduce these risks wherever possible.

For example, if one service user poses a greater risk than others, the employer should consider how many staff should care for that individual. It’s also important for the employer to ensure that these members of staff are properly trained. This might include training in physical restraint techniques and de-escalation methods, with the focus being on the needs of the individual patient or service user.

It may be that the needs of the service user mean that a transfer to a more appropriate care facility is needed. Or a review of their medication might be needed to make sure it's appropriate.

If an employer is aware of potential risks to an employee’s safety and hasn't taken reasonable steps to address these risks, resulting in a workplace assault, the employee may be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation.

To start a workplace assault claim call 0330 606 9587 or contact us and we will call you.

What counts as workplace assault?

Any incidence of physical assault in the workplace constitutes a workplace assault. There tends to be a reluctance within the care industry to report all incidents of violence, with some simply accepting this as part of the job. However, it’s really important to note that this is not part of the job and no one should expect to be assaulted while they’re at work.

Those working in the health and social care sectors tend to be at a higher risk of assault because they may be working with people in challenging circumstances. This can lead to an increased risk of a workplace assault.

Examples of workplace assault by service Users

Examples of workplace assault in the care industry are varied, but some of the most common incidents include:

  • A service user refusing to allow treatment to be administered and becoming voilent
  • A worker being physically assaulted by a service user while they are providing care
  • A worker being physically assaulted by a service user who is afraid or confused

It’s important that all incidents of workplace assault are reported, no matter how minor they may seem. This will help employers to establish areas of risk and recognise steps that can be taken to reduce these risks.

Making a claim for a workplace assault

The first step in making a claim for a workplace assault by a service user is to get legal advice. When you call our personal injury team we will listen to you, we can assess your claim free of charge and advise you on what to do next.

When we have the details of your workplace assault we will be able to tell you if your claim can be dealt with on a no win no fee basis.

As soon as we take on your claim we work quickly to establish who is at fault and gather the evidence to obtain an admission of liability (fault). We will also gather information and evidence required to assess the value of your claim to negotiate a fair compensation settlement for you as quickly as possible.

When calculating how much compensation you're entitled to, we'll take into account your injuries, your lost earnings and any out of pocket expenses you've incurred.

Will claiming for an assault affect my job?

Employers in England and Wales are required by law to have employer's liability insurance, to cover workplace injuries. When work related personal injury compensation is paid out, this is usually paid out by the employer's liability insurance provider and not by the employer.

It is against the law to discriminate against an employee or to terminate their employment because the employee made a personal injury claim.

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