Q&A - Assaulted and injured by a customer! Can my son sue his employer?

Q:    My son is a relief manager at a large supermarket. Since the coronavirus pandemic started, he has suffered verbal abuse from customers and been told he must ‘just get on with it’. A couple of weeks ago he saw a man put two bottles of whiskey in a backpack and make off with them. My son shouted to the security guy who did not appear to hear. As my son was nearer, he ran after the man. As he rounded the corner in the store the man turned and hit my son and broke his jaw. My son fell against a heavy steel plant stacker that went over on him. He is in a bad way, both physically and mentally. Does he have a case for claiming against the store for his injuries?

A:    The law in England and Wales states that all employees have a right to a safe and secure environment and all employers have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to reduce any risk of violence or assault on employees whilst they are at work. If a worker is injured in a workplace assault and their employer was aware of the risks and/or did not take the necessary steps to address these, the worker may be entitled to claim compensation.

Since the first COVID19 lockdown we have seen an increasing number of assaults on shop workers and the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) states that violent and aggressive incidents are now the third largest cause of workplace injuries reported to them. Knowing this to be the case many store owners have been providing additional training and carried out extra risk assessments. Was this the case at your son’s store?

Your son should seek advice from a specialist Personal Injury Lawyer as soon as possible. He may be entitled to compensation, not just for his pain and suffering but also for rehabilitation, lost earnings and out of pocket expenses.

Article 10/05/2021

This question has been answered by Catherine Field, a Solicitor with GHP Legal.  If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients.  In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.

Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call Wrexham 01978 291456 or Oswestry 01691 659194. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry