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Home > News > Assaulted at work by violent resident

20th April 2009

Assaulted at work by violent resident

Working with people who need special care because of long-term mental health conditions, or others recovering from head or brain injuries, can be particularly rewarding. However, when those responsible for the safety of those careworkers fail to protect them in their working environment, the consequences can be traumatic.

Our client asked for our personal injury claim advice when she was the victim of an assault at work, which should have been prevented.

Providing a safe working environment

On the night that she was attacked at work, our client was asked to provide cover at a home she had worked at only a few times before, and so it was not her normal place of work. This home was understaffed and when the second member of staff went to bed, referred to as a sleep-in, she found herself the lone worker. The correct practice was to have 2 awake member’s of staff and 1 sleep–in. The employers' failure to do this meant that our client was essentially left as one careworker to work alone.

Assaulted at work by resident known to be violent

The home provided mixed-sex care and accommodation and on the evening that she was assaulted at work, after most of the other residents had gone to bed, our client was confronted by a young man. Without warning, she was physically attacked and he subjected her to a prolonged and violent assault.

She was dragged around by the hair, thrown against walls and furniture, and received many blows to the head and other parts of her body. At one point during this violent attack, she feared for her life and that he was about to throw her over a wall into the stairwell.

Training in calming techniques for violent residents

Trained in low arousal and other calming techniques, our client attempted to calm her attacker, but such was his agitated state, she was unable to do this. Eventually, she was able to raise the sleep-in colleague who called the police and the young man was arrested.

Assault at work injuries

Our client was naturally extremely traumatised by this violence in the workplace, which was estimated to have lasted about 20 minutes. Her immediate injuries were severe bruising and bites to several parts of her body, and one of her teeth was later found to be permanently damaged, for which she required dental work.

In the aftermath of the assault at work, our client suffered sleep disturbance and flashbacks of the attack, and was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from severe post traumatic stress, and depression. This violent attack had a profound effect on our client’s personal life and has left her struggling to regain her previous outgoing personality, which has affected her relationship with all those around her.

She was unable to continue in her job with her employers and eventually left the defendant’s employ. She has since been able to obtain alternative employment but is only able to work part time and accordingly suffers an ongoing loss of earnings.

Known history of violent and sexual attacks on staff

Her attacker had been a resident of this home for some time, having been removed from previous homes following sexual advances to staff. He was also known to have violently attacked another care worker at this home, so a lone female worker should not have been allowed.

The defendants, her employers, admitted liability for the assault at work.

Since the attack at work on our client, the home has introduced a policy of having two staff on duty during the night, as well as the sleep-in colleague for additional support, as was already the practice in our client’s usual place of work.

They have also installed a system of attack alarms around the home that allow night staff to alert the sleep-in colleague in the event of need.

Issuing court proceedings for assault at work compensation

Although the defendants had admitted liability for this violence at work, their insurers refused to negotiate an acceptable level of assault compensation. Our specialist personal injury lawyers, who have vast experience in fighting for the rights of healthcare employees assaulted at work, were forced to issue court proceedings.

However, prior to the trial, they were able to agree satisfactory settlement terms and our client was awarded a six-figure sum in assault at work compensation. This sum was for the physical and mental injuries that our client sustained and the ongoing impact that it had on her working life and earning capacity .

Assault at work compensation claim

Clear Answers’ lawyers have teams of experts waiting to help you, should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your claim. We specialise in all types of personal injury claims, especially accidents at work and assaults at work.

If you or a family member has been injured in these circumstances, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete one of our online compensation claim forms and one of our representatives will contact you.

Our advisers will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice, talk you through the claims process in plain English and answer any questions you may have regarding your accident claim.

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