If a work assault has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Work Assaults can result in both physical injuries, such as bruises or fractures, and psychological trauma.

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a work assault, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.


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.

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 376 1001 and we will tell you where you stand.

Alternatively book your free online consultation here.

With nearly 1 in 10 wok injuries due to assault, you're not alone

HSE data shows that assaults and other acts of physical violence account for 8% of injuries in the workplace (hse.gov.uk).

In 2019/20, approximately 307,000 workers experienced one or more assaults at work, with 688,000 individual incidents of violence. 38% of these were physical assaults at work that resulted in injury.

These figures suggest that over 1% of all UK employees have been victims of an assault. In fact the number is likely to be significantly higher as workplace assaults are typically underreported (usdaw.org.uk).

If you decide to make a work assault claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you need to move forward.

What constitutes an assault at work?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the government 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.

Read more:

Violence and aggression at work (hse.gov.uk)

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
  • Police
  • Security guards
  • Carers, social and psychiatric workers
  • Nurses
  • Bus drivers, station attendants and other public transport staff

Is my employer liable to pay assault compensation?

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 assault compensation 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: Is the employer responsible for paying 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.

How were you injured?

The compensation process will depend on the circumstances of your injury. Click the icons below to learn more:

No win, no fee work assault compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim work assault compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

Get expert advice now

Interested in talking to an injury specialist about your claim?

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Call 0800 376 1001

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Source: (reviewed: 12/12/2023)

Source: (reviewed: 10/12/2023)

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher