A Guide to Claiming Work Assault Compensation
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a work assault we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a work assault and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
If you have been assaulted in the workplace you may be entitled to claim financial compensation. Whether the assault was committed by another employee, a client or even a visitor, if the employer was negligent in their duty of care then a claim may be possible.
Quittance have a team of specialist solicitors who focus solely on assault, bullying and stress in the workplace. The complexities of assault claims mean that most solicitors don't handle assault claims. For a free consultation with an expert call us on 0800 612 7456 and we will tell you where you stand.
Alternatively book your free online consultation here.
Do I have a work assault claim?
It should be possible to make a work assault claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years and;
- someone else was to blame.
Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.
To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
The amount of money you could claim for your work assault will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your work assault has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a work assault? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?
If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.
The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.
General damages for a serious head injury can be £30,000
For a more minor arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.
However, if you have a serious head injury and a more minor arm injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.
Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.Read more about multiple injury claims
What is the average injury compensation for a work assault claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a work assault will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your work assault compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
See the injury table above for some examples.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a work assault injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
Work assault compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a work assault injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your work assault claim could be worth now:
How long does a work assault claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for a work assault can vary significantly.
A simple liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. If liability is denied, however, a claim can take substantially longer. Normally an injury claim takes 4 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see:How long will my claim take?
Will I still be able to claim for a work assault after the law changes in April 2020?
The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.
You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).
In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your work assault claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
Will I get advice on treatment options?
As part of the work assault claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc
What constitutes an assault at work?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the government body responsible for overseeing health and safety in the workplace.
An assault or violence at work is defined by the HSE as 'Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.'
An assault does not necessarily have to be physical. An assault may also be a verbal attack such as sexist, homophobic or racist verbal abuse,
How common is workplace assault?
In the year 2015/16 there were approximately 350,000 workers who experienced one or more assaults at work. 158,000 of these we physical assaults at work and 210,000 were on the receiving end of threats or verbal abuse.
These figures suggest that nearly 1.4% of employees were victims of an assault. In fact the number is likely to be significantly higher as workplace assaults are typically underreported.
Who is most at risk?
People who work late and/or alone or people who work in the community, such as social workers or those working with mentally unstable patients, are particularly at risk. People who handle money (cash) or valuables are also common targets.
Quittance's solicitors routinely help people from all careers and levels of seniority, including:
- Building trades
- Prison officers
- Security guards
- Carers, social and psychiatric workers
- Bus drivers, station attendants and other public transport staff
Is my employer laible?
Sometimes it can be clear when an employer is directly responsible for an assault. Your employer may even have initiated the assault or been directly involved in it.
More commonly assaults are committed by another worker or visitor and the employer's responsibility is less obvious.
Employers have a 'duty of care' to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This means that all reasonable steps must be taken by the employer to ensure that the working environment is safe. This includes making best endeavours to reduce the risk of assault.
There are a number of work scenarios that are correlated with a higher incidence of assault.
For example if your employer puts you in a position where a lack of staffing levels places you in danger, the employer may be held accountable.
Insufficient training can also put employees at risk especially if the employee will be working with mentally unstable people or people with violent tendencies.
If your employer is aware of the violent tendencies of another worker or person you will, come into contact with, they must take steps to mitigate the risk. If they do not provide the necessary extra support, training and equipment to reduce this risk they may be liable for any assault.
What to do if your employer is responsible
If you think that your employer is liable for the accident, the first step is to get a professional opinion.
A Quittance work assault specialist solicitor will start with a no obligation consultation. During the consultation the solicitor will advise you as to whether you have a claim, how much compensation you could receive and how likely your case is to succeed. Consultations can be conducted over phone or by video call on Skype.
What to do if your employer is not responsible?
If you think that your employer is not responsible you should still speak to a solicitor in the first instance. Establishing liability for assaults at work can be complex and it may be that an employer is responsible despite you thinking otherwise.
A solicitor will listen to your account of the incident and advise you of the best course of action. If the solicitor thinks that the employer is not liable he will recommend contacting the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Making a claim through the CICA
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) is a government agency that has the authority to pay compensation to the innocent victims of crime England, Wales or Scotland. CICA is funded by public money. The agency pays out compensation claims regardless of whether the person who committed the crime is caught, prosecuted or convicted.
If you are the victim of an assault at work, you may be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, even if the offender is not convicted of the crime.
Who pays my compensation?
Sometimes people are reluctant to initiate a claim against their employer as they have a good working relationship with them - they may even be friends. It is an easier narrative to blame the individual assailant and overlook the nuances of the employer's failure on meeting their duty of care.
We often speak to employees who worry that their employer will not be able to afford to pay the compensation and the victim is consequently reluctant to make a claim.
Compensation settlements are almost always pad by the employers liability insurance, which they are obligated to have.
Further reading: https://www.quittance.co.uk/help-article/is-it-the-employer-that-pays-work-injury-compensation
What if the employer is no longer trading?
A common misconception about making any personal injury claim is that a claim is not possible if the employer has gone bankrupt or closed the business. In fact a claim is still possible as the employers liability insurance will still be in place. A claim can therefore be made against the insurance policy regardless of whether the company is still trading.
Solicitors are able to identify the relevant insurance policy through the Employers Liability Tracing Office (ELTO).
Does there have to be physical injury?
No. An assault may be a verbal attack such as sexist, homophobic or racist verbal abuse,
What if the assault happened off the premises?
If you are injured during work hours whilst carrying out your duties, your employer has a duty of care eve if you are offsite.
Employers liability insurance will provide cover for employees, whether injured on the employer's premises or offsite.
The first things to do if you are assaulted
If you are assaulted your priority should be removing yourself from any further danger and seeking medical attention if required. There are a number of other things you can do to put yourself in a more commanding position once the dust has settled. The following is a checklist of what to do if assaulted:
- Get out of harm's way - leave the room or even the premises and find someone you know and trust to talk to.
- Notify your employer - typically this will be your line manager of HR Officer. Tell them what happened, where you are and what you are doing e.g. seeking medical attention.
- If you are physically injured go immediately to A&E or your GP, as appropriate. Ask the doctor to provide you with a written record of your visit and their diagnosis of the injury.
- Write an account of what happened - do this while the incident is fresh in your mind. Include all of the details you can think of - you never know what might turn out to be relevant. Included details of what happened in the lead up to the assault.
- Make a list of any witnesses.
- Contact the police and complete a crime report. In many cases this may seem excessive. However if you intend to pursue compensation and it s not possible to prove that the employer is liable, you can still pursue your claim through the CICA. However the CICA will only consider claims where the incident was reported to the police as soon as possible after the incident.
No win, no fee, no risk
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a work assault claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
No win, no fee guarantee
If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your work assault injury.
What do I pay if I win my work assault claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my work assault claim?
If your work assault claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Work assault FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long do I have to make a work assault claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the work assault to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your work assault claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a work assault after 3 years?
Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.
However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.
There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim work assault compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a work assault claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert