If you are a care home worker and have been assaulted at work by a resident or patient, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation.
Nursing and care home workers can face many challenges in their work. Care workers work tirelessly to make sure that those under their care stay as healthy as possible. They often supervise their patients’ medication and diet, and in many cases help them with their personal care, hygiene, and everyday chores. While caring for an older person may seem like a relatively straightforward task to some, it isn’t necessarily so.
One challenge care workers should never have to face is being assaulted at work by a resident or patient, but unfortunately, it does happen.
To find out if you could claim after being assaulted at work by a resident, please contact us on 0800 6524 881 today. Alternatively, read on to learn more about when claims might be possible.
Table of contents
- Common Causes Of Assaults At Work By Residents And Patients
- Am I Eligible To Claim Compensation For An Assault At Work By A Resident?
- Types Of Assault At Work By Residents
- What Employers Can Do To Protect Care Workers From Assault By Residents
- Reasons Why You Could Claim For Being Assaulted By A Resident
- How Much Compensation Do I Get For Being Assaulted At Work By A Resident?
- What To Do If You Are Assaulted At Work By A Resident Or Patient
- Time Limits For Claiming Compensation
- Starting A Claim For Being Assaulted At Work By A Resident
From the outside, caring for an elderly or vulnerable person may seem like quite a low-risk job. However, several factors could make the job riskier and increase the risk of assaults on care workers.
For example, an elderly patient who is normally very friendly could become aggressive due to frustration caused by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related illnesses. Other elderly patients may become aggressive because they’re embarrassed about the level of care they require.
These risks are confounded by the fact that care workers carry out tasks in close contact. These include bathing, toileting, administering medication and lifting residents in and out of bed.
If you’ve been assaulted at work by a resident of a care home, nursing home or any other social care setting, we’ll shortly explain why your employer may need to compensate you for your injuries.
Even though there are known risks to care workers, employers still have a legal duty of care to try and keep their staff as safe as possible. This is established in law by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Therefore, one of our personal injury solicitors may be able to help you claim compensation following an assault at work by a resident if:
- Your employer’s negligence meant they breached their duty of care towards you; and
- An assault by a resident happened as a result; and
- You sustained psychological and/or physical injuries.
Establishing that an assault at work took place is usually not too difficult. However, proving that your employer’s negligence allowed it to occur can be much trickier. That’s why we would always suggest seeking legal advice and representation if you do decide to claim. If you work with one of our solicitors, they’ll work hard to find the evidence to secure a compensation settlement on your behalf.
As mentioned above, employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees. This is applicable across all industries and all types of workplaces, including care homes and nursing homes.
What this essentially means is that those who manage or run a care home must conduct their due diligence to assess the potential risks to their employees. Once this risk assessment is completed, the employer is legally required to put measures in place to ensure that the care home is free from hazards that are likely to cause serious harm to their employees. One of these measures involves protection from being assaulted by a resident.
In care settings, assaults on staff by residents are typically either physical or sexual. In both cases, you could be compensated for any harm caused. The types of assault that could lead you to claim for compensation include:
A care home or nursing home resident may have assaulted you physically if they’ve:
- Slapped, punched or kicked you.
- Bitten you.
- Hit you with a weapon such as a walking stick.
- Pulled your hair or scratched you.
- Thrown an object at you to hurt you.
Unfortunately, sexual assaults on care workers do also occur. Sexual assault can cover any of the following:
- Sexual touching above or beneath clothing.
- Forced kissing.
- Flashing or exposure.
- Jokes, innuendo or comments of a sexual nature.
Any type of assault at work by a resident can be upsetting and cause both physical and mental health claim. This can lead to weeks, months or even years of suffering. If you feel you’ve suffered following an assault by a resident and your employer could’ve done more to prevent the incident, please get in touch.
As part of their duty of care, care home employers are expected to:
Training is the single most important thing that employers can do to keep their care workers safe at work. Staff, especially those who interact directly with residents, must be taught how to approach aggressive residents, what signs to look for to avoid getting into any dangerous situation, and how to protect themselves when all else fails.
If you believe you were assaulted at work by a resident due to inadequate training at work, you may wish to refer to our guide here.
Some elderly residents may have a tendency to be physically or verbally abusive. Care homes must have some kind of procedure in place to deal with such individuals, whether it means assigning more than one worker to care for them at any given time or have them placed in a mental health unit that is better equipped to handle such individuals.
If your employer failed in their duty of care and you were assaulted at work by a resident and injured as a result, you must explore your legal options for claiming compensation. You have a right to be safe in the workplace and your employer must ensure that this right is upheld at all times.
As we mentioned earlier, your employer has a duty of care towards your well-being at work. Therefore, any form of negligence that leads to you being assaulted by a patient or resident of a care home, could entitle you to compensation. Some examples of negligence by employers that might allow you to claim include:
- Inadequate safety training by your employer.
- A lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or inadequate PPE.
- Failure to adopt or enforce a no-bullying policy.
- Being asked to deal with a previously aggressive resident on your own.
- Being asked to lift residents that you’re physically not strong enough to deal with.
- Failure to carry out regular risk assessments.
- Failure to react to safety concerns raised by care workers.
Remember, to be compensated for these types of negligence in care homes, you must have sustained some form of injury as a result.
If you make a successful claim, you could be compensated for:
- Physical pain and suffering at the time of the assault and while you recovered.
- Distress, anxiety and other forms of mental harm.
- Loss of income.
- Any negative impact on your normal social activities or hobbies.
- The cost of a carer if needed.
- Medical expenses including physiotherapy or medication costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Long-term reduction in earnings.
- Mobility aids and home modifications to help you deal with any ongoing form of disability.
As part of their service, our No Win No Fee solicitors will establish exactly how much compensation you should get for being assaulted at work by a resident.
Our compensation calculator gives some idea of how much your injuries could be worth if you’ve been assaulted at work by a resident.
These figures are guidelines only as each claim is unique. During your claim, you’ll need to attend an independent medical assessment to try and establish exactly how you’ve suffered. This usually happens locally with a specialist who’ll examine your injuries and find out from you how they have affected you.
The first and most important thing to do is to file a formal report of the assault along with photographs of your injuries. This establishes a record of the incident, which your employer cannot deny at a later stage.
Other steps you should take (particularly if you intend you suing for compensation) include:
- Seek treatment. Importantly, you should visit your GP or a hospital to have your injuries properly diagnosed and treated. Later on, you could ask for a copy of any x-rays or medical records relating to the incident.
- Keep records. To show any costs linked to your injuries caused by the resident or patient, keep any relevant receipts, pay slips or bank statements.
- Speak to witnesses. If anybody else saw the assault by the resident, ask for their contact details. If necessary, your solicitor may collect witness statements to support your claim.
- Request CCTV footage. You are entitled to a copy of any relevant footage from the care home if your assault was recorded. Request the footage quickly though as it’s not usually stored for too long.
As you may know, there is a 3-year limitation period for all personal injury claims processed in the UK. Usually, if you’ve been assaulted by a resident in a care setting, the time limit will start on the date you were injured.
We would suggest that you seek legal advice about being assaulted at work sooner rather than later. That’s because it’s generally much easier to secure supporting evidence asap.
Where your employer accepts liability for the assault by their resident/patient and your injuries right away, you might expect to be compensated in around 9 months. However, for more complex cases or where the extent of your injuries isn’t yet understood, claims can take longer.
If you’re a care worker and have been assaulted at work by a resident or patient and would like to seek damages for your injuries, call us today on 0800 6524 881 to start the claims process.
There’s no obligation to proceed but we’ll offer free legal advice and could connect you with one of our specialist solicitors. Remember, if they take on your claim, you won’t pay legal fees unless you’re compensated.
For further advice on claiming if you’ve been assaulted at work by a resident, please connect to our live chat team.