Woman Assaulted by a Co-worker Receives £225,000 in Compensation

February 2 2024,

February 2 2024,

For one woman, a normal day at work turned into a life-changing nightmare when one of her colleagues attacked her in a savage assault. Truth Legal helped her to claim £225,000 in compensation for her ordeal.

Our client’s story

Rosie* was a manager, and had been working for her employers (the Company*) for over a year. She had responsibility over several members of staff, one of whom was a young woman called Jessica.*

Several staff members, including Rosie, found Jessica difficult to work with and weren’t keen to work with her as she often became verbally abusive and confrontational when she was told something she didn’t like. Although Rosie was Jessica’s line manager, Jessica did not like taking instructions from her and had sent Rosie abusive text messages.

Rosie reported the texts to her bosses and told them of her concerns regarding Jessica’s behaviour. She explained she was finding it difficult to work with her but no action was taken.

A few days later, however, Rosie and Jessica were working together and Rosie asked Jessica to carry out some of her normal duties, which Jessica refused to do.

Rosie sought guidance from her line manager and was instructed to send Jessica home.  After Rosie communicated this to her, Jessica became extremely aggressive and attacked Rosie, punching and hitting her repeatedly. She also bit Rosie, leaving several gaping wounds in her skin. The intensity and ferocity of the attack was such that Rosie feared that she may be killed.

Eventually a colleague managed to pull Jessica off Rosie and Jessica ran away. The police were called and Jessica was arrested.

The aftermath

Rosie was taken to hospital where she spent the next two nights. Her wounds were cleaned out and stitched and she also had blood tests to check if she had contracted any infections such as HIV and Hepatitis B or C. These blood tests eventually came back clear, but it took 6 months for them to do so and this was another source of anxiety for Rosie following the attack.

She also suffered various other physical injuries including an injury to her neck and jaw.

However, it was the psychological impact which would have the most profound effect on her life. In the days and weeks that followed, Rosie became extremely anxious around other people and experienced flashbacks and nightmares about the attack.

Rosie tried to return to work the following month, but being there was too traumatic. She resigned after her first day back.

Angry and upset about how the assault had affected her life, Rosie contacted Truth Legal for advice on her rights.

Her right to compensation

Truth Legal carried out some investigations and advised Rosie that she may be able to claim compensation from her employers – or perhaps more accurately, from her employers’ liability insurers.

This would be on the basis of holding the Company ‘vicariously liable’ for Jessica’s attack. Employers can often be held responsible for the actions of their employees during the course of their work. Although Jessica’s assault was clearly not in any way part of her work, the connection between the attack and her job (such as the location, and ‘reason’ behind it) was believed to be sufficiently close to allow for vicarious liability.

Rosie started a personal injury claim for an assault at work against her employers.

She had also explored making a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) – although ultimately she did not take this further as her claim against her employers progressed.

The claim

Catherine Reynolds, Truth Legal’s Head of Personal Injury who handled the case, put forward Rosie’s claim. After some argument, the insurers admitted that the Company was vicariously liable for Jessica’s actions.

Medical evidence was obtained to prove the extent of Rosie’s injuries. These included:

  • A plastic surgeon’s report on the wounds to her arm and hands and the residual scarring
  • A maxillofacial surgeon’s report on the ongoing pain and discomfort she experienced in her jaw
  • An orthopaedic surgeon’s report on problems she developed in her shoulder

A psychiatrist’s report was also obtained which diagnosed Rosie with PTSD following the assault and set out the many ways in which her life had been affected by her psychological symptoms. In particular, it covered the considerable effect these symptoms had had on her ability to work.

Evidence was also gathered to prove how much Rosie had lost financially due to the assault and her injuries. This was extensive and included:

  • Lost earnings – which comprised the earnings she lost from her job and future lost earnings due to the way the assault affected her ability to work
  • Lost pension contributions
  • Dental treatment – in connection with her jaw
  • Other treatment expenses – for her other physical and psychological injuries
  • Care and assistance she received from her partner
  • Travel expenses
  • Future treatment costs.

Following strenuous negotiations, and with a trial date approaching, solicitors for the other side offered to settle Rosie’s claim for a total of £225,000 and Rosie accepted.

What happened to her attacker?

Jessica, who had caused so much harm to Rosie through her attack, was convicted of unlawful wounding and given a suspended prison sentence.

Have you been assaulted at work?

If you have been injured in an assault at work – whether this was by a colleague, a customer, or a service-user – you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you are unsure, you can always get in touch with Truth Legal for advice on your situation.

Contact us today for a chat about your circumstances, at no cost, and with no obligation to proceed further.

*All names have been changed to maintain the confidentiality of our client

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Catherine Reynolds
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