Going to work every day seems like such a safe thing to do. We don’t expect to be assaulted in the course of our working day, but for some people, this is a reality. Some workplaces have a higher risk of assault, such as clubs, bars, hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, and prisons, but wherever you were assaulted, you can be sure that if it isn’t your fault, you could claim compensation.
Within the sections below, you can find out more about what constitutes an assault at work, why we don’t advocate a personal injury claims calculator to see how much compensation you could recover, as well as information on the personal injury claims time limit for an assault at work in the UK. We also answer questions such as how to start a personal injury claim, the reasons a No Win, No Fee personal injury solicitor is a good choice for many people, ACAS’s stance on the matter, and how Advice.co.uk can support you with this type of claim. If you’re unclear about anything contained within this assault at work guide or would like to proceed with a claim, then you can call us on 0161 696 9685.
Select A Section
- A Guide to Assault at Work Claims
- What Is A Workplace Assault?
- Assault at Work UK Statistics
- Assault at Work Compensation Calculator
- How Is My Workplace Assault Compensation Calculated?
- How Can Physical Violence or Abuse at Work Affect People?
- How Do We Assess the Severity of Your Physical or Psychological Assault?
- Can I Claim for A Verbal Assault at Work?
- Who Can I Make My Assault at Work Claim Against?
- When Is an Employer Liable for Assaults at Work?
- What Are My Rights After A Workplace Assault?
- Can You Be Fired for Making an Assault at Work Claim?
- Common Circumstances Assaults at Work Can Happen
- Can A Bouncer Claim for An Assault at Work?
- Can Teachers Claim for Assaults by A Pupil or Student?
- Assaults by Customers, Who Do You Claim Against?
- Can A Taxi Cab Driver Claim for Assaults at Work?
- Can NHS Staff Claim for Workplace Assaults?
- Can A Healthcare Worker Claim for An Assault by A Patient?
- Can I Claim If Assaulted by Another Employee?
- How Long Do I Have to Claim Compensation for An Assault at Work?
- How Do I Claim Compensation for My Accident?
- No Win, No Fee Assault at Work Claims
- How Our Advisors Can Help You
- Call Our Specialist Team
- Additional Resources for Victims of Workplace Assaults
‘I got assaulted at work by a customer’
‘I was assaulted at work and they fired me’
‘A co-worker hit me at work’
These are all shocking statements, but things we have heard before at Advice.co.uk. While it may seem abhorrent that you could be assaulted at work, to some people, it does happen. When it does, you are likely to be left shocked as well as injured, and perhaps angry that this has been allowed to happen. What is clear is that if it wasn’t your fault, you should be able to claim assault at work compensation, and a personal injury lawyer can assist with this.
While we explain how a lawyer can help later in this guide it is important to answer a few common questions and clear up a few misconceptions about getting assaulted at work by a colleague, assaulted at work by a patient in a hospital setting or GP surgery, or assaulted at work by a resident in a nursing home, to name but a few situations. We hope this guide helps you, and if at any time you have any more questions or would like to proceed with a claim, please call us on the number at the top of this page.
Many people think an assault at work has to be solely physical, but there are many different ways in which you could be assaulted. Here are three main examples of what could constitute an assault at work UK:
- Unprovoked verbal or physical violence by someone connected to the business. This could be an assault by a coworker, family of a co-worker, or someone delivering to the business as a supplier.
- Unprovoked verbal or physical violence by someone using the services provided. This could be a person being assaulted by a service user such as a customer, patient, or resident of a care home.
- Unprovoked verbal or physical violence by someone unconnected to the business, such as a criminal.
Assaults can include:
- Physical attacks (kicking, scratching, biting, punching)
- Physical attacks with a weapon
- Verbal threats
- Menacing approaches
- Sexual assault
- Pressuring an employee into a date or sexual relationship
- Making comments that are sexual about or to another colleague
- Threatening verbally in some way to affect a person’s job
- Setting a dangerous animal on someone
- Spitting at someone
This list isn’t completely exhaustive, and if you’re unsure as to whether you’ve been assaulted at work, then we can help clarify this. Please get in touch if you would like to know more.
According to the HSE, around 642,000 violent incidents were said to have occurred in the workplace in 2016/17, with 374,000 adults said to have experienced this type of violence within work. The above table, taken from the HSE, shows that injuries tend to be minor in most cases, but this is not to say that they don’t have a significant effect on the person concerned. We all want to feel safe at work after all.
It was estimated that a large number of victims (58%) managed to report one violent incident at work, although 16% experienced 2 incidents, and 26%experienced more than this. While strangers to the business were more likely to be offenders, the rest were largely members of the public or clients of the business.
Most people ask, ‘how much can you claim for assault at work’.It’s a difficult question to answer as all claims are unique. This is why we don’t advocate you use an assault at work compensation calculator. The sum you arrive at is likely to be far different from that you actually receive, and this can lead to disappointment. What we have done in the table below is offer a guide of how much certain injuries generally attract in terms of compensation. However, these are guidelines only, so do be aware.
Specified injury Assault at work compensation bracket Notes
Mental Anguish Up to £4,380 Fear of impending death/reduction in expectation of life.
Less Severe Psychological Damage £1,440 to £5,500 The level of the award will take into consideration the length of the period of disability and the extent to which daily activities and sleep were affected.
Moderate Psychological Damage £5,500 to £17,900 Cases of work-related stress may fall within this category if symptoms are not prolonged.
PTSD – Less Severe £3,710 to £7,680 Almost full recovery within 12-24 months
Facial bone fractures (Le fort) £22,350 to £34,480 Le fort fractures
Multiple Fractures of Facial Bones £13,970 to £22,470 Involving some facial deformity of a permanent nature.
Nose £1,600 to £2,370 Simple undisplaced fracture with full recovery.
Cheekbone fracture (i) £9,570 to £14,810 Serious fractures requiring surgery but with lasting consequences such as paraesthesia in the cheeks or the lips or some element of disfigurement.
Cheekbone fracture (iii) £2,180 to £2,810 Simple fracture of cheekbone for which no surgery is required and where a complete recovery is effected.
The figures contained in this table above are taken from the Judicial College Guidelines, a legal publication used by solicitors and the courts to value claims.
The figures above cover only one aspect of your claim known as general damages. General damages are designed to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity inflicted by your injuries.
It’s also possible to recover the cost of any expenses or losses that you have incurred as a result of your injury. The aspect of compensation is referred to as special damages. Some of the things you can claim for include:
Care costs – If you required care at home because of your injury/ies.
Travel costs – To appointments pertaining to your injury/ies or your claim.
Medical costs – Adaptation to your home, physical aids, prescriptions and so forth.
Earning loss – Immediate and future losses in income.
An assault at your workplace can not only have a physical effect, but you may also be left feeling extremely unsafe and worried. This can not only affect you while in the workplace but at home, out and about and in fact, can have a ripple effect on the rest of your life.
These feelings are normal after an assault, and while they go away for some people, others may need support and assistance. You may suffer anxiety or depression or even post-traumatic stress. It is important to try and get help if you recognise any symptoms that may point to mental health problems, as there is treatment out there to help you.
It is also important to note that these effects can be claimed for as a part of an assault at work claim.
When it comes to an assessment of physical and mental injuries, it takes a trained professional to diagnose the harm inflicted, which is why, as a part of an assault at work claim, you’ll usually be required to have a consultation with a medic. They will assess the injuries you’ve had, the effect it has had on you physically, and also the effect on your mental health. This is nothing to be nervous about – your medical expert (who your solicitor will usually arrange for you to see – locally to you if possible) is completely independent, so they will assess you just as any other doctor would.
Verbal assaults, while often thought of as being less serious than physical, can leave lasting mental scars, and can often lead to anxiety and depression and feelings of worthlessness. People sometimes think this isn’t something they can put a workplace assault claim in for, as there is no physical proof, such as scarring, but UK law says otherwise.
Whether you’ve suffered verbal abuse that was sexually inappropriate, racially motivated, or simply threatening or abusive, then a personal injury solicitor will be able to review what’s happened and see if you have cause to claim. In many cases, the answer will be yes.
Establishing liability in assault at work cases comes down to who caused the incident, or whether someone could have prevented it from happening. If you were physically assaulted as you were not adequately protected from foreseeable risk, then your employer may be held liable. If it is a criminal incident, then you can make a claim via the criminal injuries compensation authority (CICA), which is a government-backed association that compensates victims of crime.
We touched on this in the section above, but if your employer has failed to provide a safe workplace, then you could be able to claim against them for an assault at work. For example, if you are working in a place where money is kept and you were not protected from the risk of possible robbery as far as was reasonably possible, such as your employer providing inadequate security measures, then an employer might be held liable.
Other examples would include a lack of training as to how to deal with potentially risky situations, lack of personal protective gear such as stab vest for police when entering risky places, or even ignoring the fact that a colleague had been displaying violent behaviour before your assault. Simply call us and we’ll advise you on how to proceed.
By law, you are entitled to have a workplace that is safe. There should be steps taken by your employer to recognise foreseeable risks and minimise them. If this is not done, then you could make a claim if your employer’s breach of duty caused you harm.
As per HSE guidelines, your risk of an assault should be assessed and there should be a clear plan in place to minimise this risk. While there are risks of assaults at any workplace, jobs that come with perhaps an added risk would be those in which:
- You work alone
- You work late in the night or early in the morning
- You travel in the community is involved
- You handle cash or medication
- You are in a position of authority
- You work with anxious or stressed people
- You work where people have access to alcohol
- You work with people that could be prone to aggressive behaviours such as dementia patients, emotionally unstable people, people with learning disabilities etc.
Should you find yourself assaulted at work because your employer did not reasonably minimise your risk, you could be able to claim compensation.
You may be concerned about making a claim against your employer for fear of losing your job. It may ease your mind to know that an employer cannot take action against you for pursuing a claim that they were at fault for. All employers are required by law to have employers’ liability insurance in place to protect both themselves and their employees in the event somebody gets injured at work. If your employer did decide to fire you for making a claim, then you could pursue a second claim against them for unfair dismissal. This is something that we can help with.
Lots of workplaces carry a risk of assault, but some are more common than others. Below, we discuss the more common types, but it’s important you know that if your circumstances don’t appear here, this does not mean you cannot claim. If you’d like advice specific to your circumstances, then give us a call any time.
Bouncers are at risk of assault for many reasons. Firstly, they are in a position of authority, and they are also likely to be dealing with people under the influence. This doesn’t mean you can’t make a bouncer assault claim though. Depending on whether your employer had taken the right steps to protect you as much as possible, your claim might be against the CICA for the assault or your employer. You will likely be required to try and provide proof that you did not incite the offender in order to make a successful claim.
Unfortunately, school assaults against teachers do happen. If a school was aware of the violent temperament of a student but didn’t act to protect you, your claim might be against the school. Otherwise, it might be made via the CICA.
Again, the question that needs to be asked is whether your employer minimised your risk of assault enough. If they did, then you can still claim assault via the CICA if it was a criminal act that was not your fault. If they didn’t, then you might claim against your employer.
Sadly, taxi drivers are also at risk when it comes to assaults. Whether you are familiar with the offender or not, you should be able to file a claim with the CICA for an assault, but may be asked to provide evidence that you were not inciting the violence against you. If your cab firm didn’t train you correctly in how to deal with non-paying customers or potential flashpoints, then you might also have a claim against the firm.
Whether at a medical centre or a hospital, all NHS staff have a right to be able to get on with their work without the threat of assault. While the NHS is trying to crack down on this, if they haven’t taken steps to lower risks as much as reasonably possible, then you might be claiming against them. If they have done, and the assault still happened, then the CICA would likely be the people dealing with the claim.
As per the above paragraph, healthcare workers also have the right to do their job without the threat of or being assaulted. Often dealing with vulnerable and emotional people, healthcare workers should also have foreseeable risks taken into account by their employer and a management plan to minimise risk could be put in place to ensure this is the case. If this is not done, then the employer might be liable, otherwise, the CICA might be the party to settle this type of assault at work claim.
In short, yes you can if the incident was not your fault. Either you’d be claiming against the CICA for an assault or an employer if they failed to recognise and lower the risk. This would be in the case that the employee was known to be violent or unstable and you were left alone with them when not appropriate, for example.
There are always limits in place for compensation claims. Below, you can see them laid out in the table. Should you have a query about whether you’re in time to claim, then we can help – just get in touch and we’ll provide free advice.
Incident Limit in years from incident date
Work accident 3 years from the date of the accident
Illness (Industrial) 3 years from the diagnosis of an illness or injury
RTA 3 years from the date of the accident
Medical Negligence 3 years from discovery of an injury or illness
CICA 2 years from the date of the criminal incident
Going ahead with a claim can be a little daunting, so to help, we’ve broken down the actions you need to take below:
- Report the incident to the police and your employer
- Get medical attention
- Obtain evidence (photos, witness details, your own notes)
- Get advice on getting a lawyer
We can help with advice on making your assault claim, as well as help you with obtaining a solicitor.
Our panel of solicitors can give you the option of entering into a No Win, No Fee Agreement, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA is designed to offer claimants financial protection and the confidence to pursue justice. If you sign a CFA with a solicitor from our panel, you will not have to pay any fees upfront, nor will you have to pay any fees during your claim either. And if your claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay any of the fees your solicitor has incurred in pursuing your case.
If your claim is successful, your solicitor may seek a small contribution towards their costs. This is known as a ‘success fee’ and would be deducted from the compensation awarded at the end of the claim. Don’t worry, the success fee is legally capped and will be set out in clear terms within the CFA.
Our advisors have received specialist training that enables them to know what can and can’t lead to a successful claim. When you call us, you’ll receive free, no strings attached advice you can depend on. We’ll talk to you about the incident and advise you on your options. Once we’ve determined whether your assault at work claim is viable, we’ll tell you and help you connect with a solicitor to launch your claim for you.
Contact our team by email, phone, or post. Our team will assess your claim. Once you are ready, we can then start your claim.
Whenever you’re ready to talk about your assault at work, we’re ready to hear from you. Simply ring 0161 696 9685 and we can help you take steps to be financially compensated for your assault at work, so you can start to move on from what can only be a traumatic experience. We’re here to help.
Harassment/Violence in the workplace – An HSE guide
Workplace bullying – Resources from bullying.co.uk
Work Place Rights – a guide by Advice.co.uk
No Win, No Fee Claims – a guide by Advice.co.uk
Guide by OS
Edited by DEG