Prison officers operate in a volatile environment that exposes them to hazards at all times. Unfortunately, despite measures put in place to prevent such incidents, they do still happen.
As a prison officer, your employer has a duty of care to ensure you are safe from harm. When this does not happen, the law gives you the right to file for compensation.
If you have ever been assaulted in the course of your job as a prison officer, read on to learn more about these incidents and how to make a claim.
What Are The Injuries Common With Prison Officer Assault?
Prisons are obviously dangerous places and, sadly, the assault of a prison officer can result in one or more of an extensive list of injuries. Out of this vast list, the most common injuries are:
- Stab wounds
- Scalds and burns
- Grazes and cuts
- Bite wounds
- Broken bones or fractures
- Broken teeth
- Spinal, neck, and back injuries
- Sexual assault
- Internal injuries
- Muscular sprains and strains
If any of the above has happened to you or someone you know, you could be eligible to claim compensation. In the remainder of this guide, we’ll explain the steps you should take to claim compensation.
How Do I Make A Claim For Compensation For Prison Officer Assault?
As with any kind of personal injury claim, there are some important steps you should take to start your compensation claim and they include:
Get Medical Treatment
The first thing you should do after any type of assault is to visit your GP or local hospital for treatment, as soon as possible.
During the medical examination, your doctor may recommend additional treatment that is required as a knock-on consequence of your main injury. In addition, the extent of your injury and its long-term effect on your life will be ascertained. These reports, including that of your treatment, will go into your medical file.
The law considers a valid medical report to be an undeniable piece of evidence. Not only this, but a complete and detailed medical file proving you sustained injuries can increase your chances of winning your case. So don’t skip this step, even if you initially feel fine.
Notify Your Employer
You should ensure that the prison authority has a record of the assault and the injuries you sustained from it. These details should be entered in the prison accident report book and will be used as evidence in your case.
In addition to the medical report, you will need further evidence to demonstrate when, where and how the assault occurred.
Get eyewitness reports from people who were present at the scene of the criminal assault. Ask them to give you their version of the incident. Also, get their contact details in case they will be needed in court to corroborate your story.
Lastly, you should take photographs and/or a video of where the assault occurred and your injuries. If possible, save the clothes you were wearing the day you were assaulted. Don’t wash or repair any damage to these clothes, as they can also be submitted as evidence.
Prove Your Employer’s Negligence
As part of your claim for compensation, you will need to prove that your employer acted negligently towards you, which lead to the assault. To do this, you will have to show that your employer failed to do the following:
- Carry out a risk assessment in your workplace
- Implement the findings of the risk assessment
- Knew there was an inmate with past history of violence
- Ignored past violent behaviour from inmates and did nothing to avert future assaults
- Provide you with proper protective equipment or adequate training to handle such incidents
Contact A Claims Expert Or Solicitor
Your final step should be getting in touch with a claims expert or solicitor for advice. They will peruse your evidence and assess if you have a reasonable chance of winning.
At which point, you can proceed to the court. If you have a strong case, your employer may decide to offer an out-of-court settlement instead. Either way, having a legal professional on your side will help to navigate the process.
What Can I Make A Claim For?
When filing for compensation, your claim will be made up of two types of damages which are:
This is a type of damages given for the injury itself and its effect on your daily life. It aims to compensate you for the pain and suffering you experienced when the injury happened, both physically and mentally.
It also covers any long-term effects that the injury is expected to have on you in the future. As part of your general damages, you can include compensation for trauma, stress or other mental/social disorders caused by the injury.
This type of compensation covers non-injury related consequences that you suffered as a result of the injury. It compensates you for the financial losses and expenses you accrued because of the injury. Special damages that you can claim for include:
- Medical expenses (such as prescription costs, medical aids, clinic costs etc)
- Loss of income (both present and future)
- Travel expenses
- Caregiver expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Car or home adaptation expenses
So, keep all receipts and invoices along the way, so that you can prove what you have spent.
How Much Compensation Should I Expect?
It is difficult to provide a definitive amount you can expect, because every case has distinguishing factors that make them unique.
That said, as you would no doubt imagine, the more severe the injuries the higher the compensation amount awarded.
Minor injuries may only lead to compensation of a few hundred pounds, but severe injuries with long-lasting or permanent damage could receive a pay-out of several hundred thousand.
There is, of course, a huge middle ground. Mild to moderate injuries, depending on where the injury occurs and treatment needed can easily result in compensation in the thousands and tens of thousands.
The bottom line is, if you have suffered an injury that someone else is responsible for, you are entitled to seek compensation. A financial settlement, regardless of the amount, can go some way to help you recover and may just lead to changes in procedure that prevent someone else suffering as you have.
Will I Be Dismissed From Work If I Make A Claim Against My Employer?
Your employer will be breaking the law if this happens. But, if they still go-ahead and do so, you can file an unfair dismissal claim in addition to your assault claim.
Why You Should Start Your Prison Officer Assault Claim
You should never feel guilty about making a compensation claim if you have been assaulted as a prison officer. Moreover, apart from the financial aid you personally get, your claim could encourage prisons to further ensure their employees are provided with a safe working environment.
To help get your claim started you can arrange a free, no-obligation call with an experienced claims advisor here. Call today and help us point you in the right direction.