Oakwood Solicitors

Assault at Work

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What is an Assault?

An assault is defined as ‘An intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.’

An assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm, coupled with an apparent and present ability to cause that harm. No actual contact needs to be made in order for an assault to occur, for example where the wrongdoer is restrained after a threat has been made.

Where an actual infliction of unlawful force has been made, this is called a battery. Physical injury does not need to occur for you to have been subjected to a battery.

In addition to an assault being a criminal offence, it can also result in civil liability.

Assaults can include: 

  • Assault with a weapon.
  • Physical assault – such as punching or sexual assault, including inappropriate touching.

An assault at work may not result in any, or any significant, physical injuries, but victims can be left with psychological injuries which may require treatment and an ongoing fear for their own safety.

Here at Oakwood Solicitors, we specialise in cases of assaults at work which cause psychiatric injury.



What Do I Do if I’ve Been Assaulted at Work?

Accidents at work are usually reported in an accident book and are a scenario which an employer is much more used to dealing with.

If you’ve been assaulted at work, your employer should deal with such in a similar way to an accident but it is advisable to report the incident as soon as possible, particularly if you are concerned that you may be in further danger and/or a fellow employee may be in danger.

  • On reporting the incident, your employer should undertake an investigation and make any appropriate adjustment for your working day, often employers suspend both parties on pay subject to an investigation whilst they determine what has happened.
  • If you feel unable to report the incident yourself, it is advisable to try and confide in a trusted colleague who can report the issue on your behalf.
  • If you need to seek medical attention for both physical and mental health injuries, do feel encouraged to do so in order to access any treatment you need.
  • You may also want to consider reporting the matter to the Police. There is no time limit on when you can do this and can call 101 or attending your local station.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.

Is my Employer Responsible?

It is an unfortunate reality that assaults do occur in the workplace and assaults in the workplace are unlawful. Employees have a right to expect a safe and secure working environment and your employer has a legal duty to keep you safe at work.

If you have been subjected to an assault at work, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer or their insurers. An employer may be liable for an assault where it can be established that:

  • There is a relationship between the wrongdoer and the employer.
  • The connection between the employment and the assault is so close that it would be just and reasonable to impose liability against that employer.

There have been many cases recently go through the Courts which are favourable to employees looking to hold their employer responsible for an assault at work and we have seen the majority of cases succeed under these legal arguments.

You could also consider making a claim against the individual who has assaulted you but in most cases, the practicality of doing so makes such a less viable option. For example, does that person have the monetary means to satisfy any Court Judgment against them?

If following reporting an assault, your employer fails to investigate and address the issue adequately, you may have a further claim against them for the breaches of duty of care. Please see our page for further information about this type of claim.



How Do I Make a Claim?

Before deciding on whether making a claim is the best option for you, it’s important to seek some initial legal advice. Here at Oakwood Solicitors we offer a free assessment and would be happy to look over any documents you have and discuss with you whether we thought there were merits to a possible action.

If you find a Solicitor who is of the view that your claim does have merits, then it is important to also consider the impact to your health taking a claim forward may have.

Litigation can be a stressful process and may have an adverse impact on your health. We are not doctors so cannot give you medical advice, but are under a duty to advise you that pursuing a claim will be a reminder of the stress that led to your psychiatric condition whilst the claim is ongoing.

Please also note that the only outcome to a successful claim is financial compensation. You may see the litigation as a mechanism for obtaining answers but the majority of cases settle out of Court which may result in many of your questions remaining unanswered.

You may be advised by your doctors that you will only be able to make a good recovery from your illness once you are able to move on from the issues in question. The litigation may, therefore, delay your recovery. The decision to proceed must be your own in conjunction with your medical advisors.

If you agree to proceed forward with a claim, then our team will be happy to explain the process in further detail with you.



How Long Will My Assault at Work Case Take to Run?

In theory, the case could settle any day from day one, but on average, cases are usually resolved within 12-18 months from when we are first instructed.

Would I Have to Go to Court?

If the case did not settle, then ultimately the matter would proceed to Court where a Judge would make a determination. Most cases, however, do settle out of Court, so although this is an unlikely eventuality, we cannot rule it out as an impossibility.

If you do have any concerns about this during the process of your claim, we would be happy to discuss this with you and address any concerns you may have.



How is My Case Funded?

There can be a number of ways to fund your legal fees. Subject to individual assessment, the most common method to fund a claim of this nature is by way of a Conditional Fee Agreement which is often referred to as a ‘No-Win, No-Fee Agreement.’

This means that if the claim is unsuccessful, you will not have to pay us anything towards our costs subject to compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreement in place.

Other Claims Options

Claims of violence can also be made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). Please click here to be redirected to our dedicated page for further information.

If you are not sure which type of claim is best for you, please feel free to speak to us as we will consider both options and provide you with our advice.


For initial advice, or to escalate your assault at work claim – get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.

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Quick Facts

  • No Win, No Fee Available
  • Dedicated and highly skilled Employment Law team
  • All Personal claims undertaken
  • Free initial advice from a qualified solicitor
  • We deal with all claim sensitively
  • High success rate for clients
  • National coverage

Meet the Head of Department

Jessica Rowson

Director and Head of Psychiatric Injury

0113 200 9779

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