Q&A I was assaulted at work; do I qualify for compensation?

Q:      I work for the prison service. As we were short staffed, I was working alone, when an inmate assaulted me. I was held at knifepoint and beaten. My physical injuries have resolved, but since the incident I have struggled with severe anxiety and depression.  My GP has also suggested I may have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as I am having flashbacks, intrusive thoughts and I am afraid to leave the house. I am still signed off work and currently cannot face going back. I had not received any training to deal with violence or threats of violence, which left me feeling completely helpless. Can I get compensation from the prison?  

A:       Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are kept safe at work and must take reasonable steps to avoid you suffering harm. Two key issues spring to mind; you were working alone in a potentially high-risk environment, and, you had not received adequate training to arm you with the necessary skills to confidently deal with the situation.

Employers have a duty to ensure that lone workers are provided with additional support, management and training, as lone workers have an increased vulnerability to physical assault.

Further, when working in a profession where you are likely to encounter those who are angry, violent or difficult, it is important that you receive training on how to diffuse potentially dangerous situations and what you should do if they occur.

Psychological injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries, sometimes even more so, and it seems that reasonable and obvious steps were not taken by your employer to minimize the risk of harm to you.

You should speak to a local Solicitor about making a claim against your employer, as well as the potential to apply for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

This question has been answered by Claire Parfitt, 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.  Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194 

Claire Parfitt

Claire Parfitt

Senior Solicitor

Senior Solicitor within our Civil Litigation team in Wrexham and Oswestry