Being assaulted by a colleague at work can be frightening and traumatic and lead to both physical and mental injuries. Not only is an assault at work by a colleague a deplorable act, but it is also illegal. Workplace violence can affect everyone, creating a hostile work environment that is counterproductive.
Importantly, if you have been assaulted at work by a colleague, it may be possible to claim compensation for your injuries. The process you’ll use to do so will vary depending on the nature of the assault. We’ll look at this in more detail throughout this guide.
If you decide to make a claim, you might want to speak to one of our specialists for free legal advice. During a no-obligation consultation, they’ll review what happened and explain if you might be entitled to compensation. If one of our personal injury solicitors decides to work for you, there won’t be any upfront legal fees as you’ll benefit from a No Win No Fee claims process.
To find out if you could claim after being assaulted by a colleague, please contact us on 0800 6524 881 today. Otherwise, please read the rest of this article to find out more.
Table of contents
- Common Forms Of Workplace Assaults
- Consequences Of Being Assaulted At Work By Colleague
- Can I Claim Compensation After Being Assaulted At Work By A Colleague?
- Injuries Commonly Caused By An Assault By A Colleague
- What To Do If You Were Assaulted At Work By A Colleague
- How Much Compensation Do You Get An Assault At Work By A Colleague?
- Evidence To Support A Claim Of Being Assaulted At Work By A Colleague
- Time Limits For Claiming Compensation
- What To Expect From A Personal Injury Solicitor
- Starting A Claim For An Assault At Work By A Colleague
It is important to note that assault at work can be physical, verbal or sexual. All types of assault at work could mean you’re eligible to claim compensation. We’ve listed some examples of the different types that could lead to a claim below:
You may have been physically assaulted by a colleague at work if they:
- Hit you with a weapon.
- Threw something at you with the intent of hurting you.
- Pulled your hair.
- Spat at you
- Slapped, bit, scratched or punched you.
Workplace sexual assault can include:
- Unwanted sexual touching (above or beneath clothing).
- Making sexual comments towards a colleague.
- Forcing somebody to look at pornography.
- Incentivising somebody to have sex in exchange for promotion.
A colleague may have verbally abused or assaulted you if they:
- Threaten to hurt or kill you.
- Used derogatory words linked to your gender, sexuality, race, disability or other characteristics.
Whatever form or assault you’ve suffered at the hands of a colleague, please let us know and we’ll review your options for free.
While being physically attacked results in more obvious injuries, psychological injuries stemming from verbal, emotional and sexual assault are no less damaging.
Any worker who has experienced assault in any form can suffer tremendous psychological distress. Not only can they feel embarrassed and humiliated that it happened, but they may also be afraid to go to work knowing that meeting their tormentor would be unavoidable. This can result in a wide range of consequences, from increased stress to anxiety and depression. If nothing is done to stop the continuous assault, it can also cause long-term mental health injuries.
As you’ll find out shortly, there are various ways you could be compensated if a colleague assaults you at work. While the process for each type of claim is slightly different, in general, you will need to show that:
- The defendant in your claim owed you a legal duty of care; and
- You were assaulted by a colleague; and
- You sustained injuries (mental or physical) as a result of the assault.
If your case meets the criteria set out above, one of our personal injury solicitors may be able to represent you. For free advice on whether you might be eligible to claim, please get in touch.
Now let’s look at the types of claims that are possible
You might think that your employer would not be to blame if your colleague assaults you in the workplace. However, employers have a duty of care to keep staff as safe as possible at work.
That means you might be able to claim against your employer if you were assaulted by a colleague and:
- Your employer had failed to take into account previous violence by your colleague.
- A temperamental colleague was left alone with you without any form of supervision.
- Did nothing if you informed that you felt threatened by your colleague.
If your employer was in no way to blame for an assault against you, it may be possible to sue the colleague who assaulted you in a civil compensation claim. This might be possible if a) they have the means to compensate you or b) they have legal liability cover as part of an insurance policy.
Another option might be to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (or CICA). They operate a scheme funded by the government to compensate victims of violent crimes.
The criteria for making a CICA claim state that:
- You mustn’t have incited the assault in any way; and
- You must have informed the police about the crime; and
- You must’ve suffered an injury as a result of the assault.
Importantly, the CICA could compensate you even if your colleague has never been found guilty or tried for your assault.
Our solicitors could help with a criminal injury claim or for any other type of assault at work by a colleague so please let us know more about what happened by calling our free advice centre.
Generally, any injury that you’ve sustained after a colleague assaulted you could allow you to claim compensation. Some of the most common injury claims include:
- Black eyes, a broken jaw and skull fractures.
- Stabbing wounds.
- Burns from a hot drink being thrown.
- Muscle, ligament or tendon injuries.
- Lacerations and permanent scars.
- Psychological injuries.
You should not feel afraid to seek compensation for any injury. The award, if your claim is successful, could go some way to making it easier for you to move on and recover from the incident.
The first step you should take after being assaulted by anybody would depend on the nature of the assault. If you are physically assaulted, your first priority should be to assess your injuries and seek immediate medical attention if you are badly injured.
If the assault was non-physical, here are some things you should do to protect your rights and lend support to a workplace assault compensation claim should you decide to pursue one.
Regardless of the type of assault, you must put some distance between yourself and your attacker to protect yourself from further danger.
- Inform your boss, supervisor or manager about the incident.
- Write a detailed account of what happened in the accident book.
- Make a note of other colleagues who witnessed the attack.
- File a crime report at the nearest police station.
Also, make a note of everything that happened before, during and after the assault. Write down every little detail you can think of. This will help when putting together your claim for compensation. Try and do this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to overlook some details that may be important.
Whatever type of compensation claim you make, generally, you could claim for the suffering endured after you were assaulted and some out-of-pocket costs linked to your injuries. Therefore, if your claim is won, it could cover:
- Any physical pain you suffered at the time of the assault (and in the future).
- Anxiety, fear, depression and other types of mental harm.
- Lost income.
- Medical costs including psychotherapy or physiotherapy.
- Care costs.
- Fuel, parking or public transport costs linked to hospital visits.
- Replacement costs for clothing, jewellery or other personal items damaged during the assault.
- Future income losses if your ability to work is reduced in the long term.
- Changes to improve your quality of life at home if your injuries result in a long-term disability.
Our solicitors always try to ensure that claimants receive the correct amount of compensation by learning exactly how they have suffered before filing the claim.
The level of compensation for an assault varies from case to case and the type of claim. Therefore, we can’t say what level of award you might expect but we can provide a compensation calculator to give you some idea.
These figures are based on personal injury claims. The amounts awarded for criminal injury claims may differ.
It is important to prove that your assault took place and why the defendant was to blame. The types of evidence you could use include:
- Incident report forms. These can be obtained from your employer to prove when and where the incident happened.
- CCTV footage. If your workplace has security cameras, video footage of the assault could be a useful tool in your claim.
- Police reports. Your solicitor or the CICA may ask the police for their report on what happened to try and confirm how you were injured.
- Medical evidence. If your injuries were treated in a hospital or by your GP, your x-rays and medical records might be requested to prove the extent of your suffering.
- Photographs. It’s a good idea to take pictures of any visible injuries throughout your recovery.
- Correspondence with your employer. Any emails, text messages or letters relating to the incident or your concerns could also be helpful.
Call our experienced claims advisors and set up a free consultation at the earliest possible date. One of our personal injury solicitors can give you the best advice about how to proceed if you have a strong claim.
Any type of compensation claim has a time limit in the UK as set out by the Limitation Act 1980. If you claim following an assault at work by a colleague, you’ll have:
- 3 years from the date of the assault for a personal injury claim.
- 2 years from the date of the assault for criminal injury claims.
As there is a fair bit of work required before the claim is filed (evidence gathering, medical reports etc), it’s often easier to take action as soon as possible.
Most personal injury solicitors offer a first free consultation. During the consultation (typically by phone) they will want to hear details of what transpired. They will also want to know about any evidence that you may already have. If they find that you don’t have a strong enough case, they may advise you to refrain from pursuing a claim. However, if you have a strong claim, they will help you understand your right to compensation and the best way to proceed.
They will also offer to file your claim using a No Win No Fee agreement. With our solicitors, this works exactly the way it sounds – if you don’t win compensation, you don’t pay any fees. If you win compensation, only then would you need to pay a fee which is calculated as an agreed percentage of the compensation awarded. The fee would simply be taken directly from the compensation so you are not out of pocket at any point.
To begin a claim or to discuss your options, contact our team on 0800 6524 881 today. When you get in touch, they’ll review your claim for free and could connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors.
Remember, if you are represented by one of our solicitors, they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis so you don’t need to worry about upfront legal fees.
For more information about the process of claiming for an assault at work by a colleague, please connect to our live chat service.