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    Can I claim compensation for injuries due to assaults by customers and patients?

    Published on: 08/05/2013

    If, in the course of your work you were injured in a assault by a customer, client or patient, if the likelihood that you would be attacked was known by your employer to exist and if your employer had not taken adequate steps to protect you from exposure to this reasonably foreseeable violence at work, then you might be able to claim compensation.

    Basically, you need to have been assaulted in the course of your work, through no fault of your own. If, after the assault you hire a specialist personal injury solicitor to assess the viability of your proposed claim, they will need to help you demonstrate that:

    1. Your employer had a legal duty of care to you for your health, safety and welfare whilst at work – which he does under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

    2. That your employer failed in this duty of care through negligence or carelessness, e.g. he failed to train you in how to identify early warning signs of aggression or what steps to take to de-escalate a potentially violent situation or even to inform you where the panic button at your counter was.

    3. That an attack by a customer, such as the one you suffered in the course of your work, was the reasonably foreseeable consequence of this failure – which it would have been in the example used in ‘2’ above.

    There were 955 major and 5123 non-major injuries reported as a result of customer/client/patient violence on employees in the year 2010-11. The numbers unfortunately remain relatively stable and majority of injuries consist of minor bruising and black eyes. Some of the injuries sustained are unfortunately much more serious that this and a few are fatal.

    So, if you are assaulted by a customer due to negligence by your employer, you owe it yourself, those who have suffered similar attacks in the past and most importantly to those still at risk in the future to try to make a compensation claim. The very act of making such a claim demonstrates to employers that there is a price to be paid in the modern 21st century UK, over and above the personal one paid by the victim and the loss to the business of an employee’s productivity, to neglecting the health and safety of employees.

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