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Injury at work... Do I have a potential compensation case?

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Injury at work... Do I have a potential compensation case?

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Hello, just looking for some advice, particularly off anyone who may be familiar with the care/support worker roles. I became a support worker 3 weeks ago, it's my first time in this type of work. I had completed a week induction which consisted of reading care plans and a tour of the building. In the time, I didn't meet or have proper contact with any residents other than in passing. I then worked 2 long shadow shifts in which I was just watching how others did the job. I was then left to my own devices with a totally new team on nights. On my second night shift, I was placed with an extremely volatile and violent individual who had just moved to the home. I ended up being assaulted by her, sustaining whiplash and PTS, diagnosed by my GP and the walk in centre. While it is to be expected in that type of work, I don't believe enough measures were put in place for prevention. I had only done 1 shift on my own, given the service users history, I don't think a new starter with no previous experience should have been placed with her on a 1:1 basis. I raised concerns on the handover to her, regarding my limits of ability as a new starter, these were ignored. I buzzed several times for assistance as the behaviours were becoming more frequent and escalating, and I didn't feel supported. The first warning sign was when the service user grabbed my leg violently. The second time was when a full assault took place. She tried to grab my alarm off me while I was assisting her with dressing. When she didn't succeed she got into a rage throwing things at me and pushing me, this included throwing a heavy wooden chair at me. Unfortunately I was cornered and furniture was scattered all over the floor hindering any escape. She began to hit me and got me in a hair pull in which she jolted my head to the floor and twisted my neck. By the time the staff had answered my alarm, I had manager to get out of the hair pull, but she persisted to throw things at me. Once staff saw I was out of the hair pull they went to exit and leave me alone with her again. At this point I stated I was not prepared to be left on my own with her. She persisted to throw things at me and continue assaulting me in different ways for 2 hours. She pretended to want to make a mends only to grab my clothes to bring me to her proximity and she put her hand around my neck, luckily I had a small necklace on and it broke with the force thus distracting her so I was able to move away. There was one witness to this, but he seemed to not have seen that she grabbed my neck. To this point I have had no restraint training or de-escalation techniques training. I've not been shown how to defend myself. I noted all of this down in her care notes including all the times. There was no de brief at the end of my shift. I asked if I had to fill anything in regarding the assault specifically and I was told no. It was only about an hour or so after I got home that I started to feel the effects of whiplash and attended a walk in centre. I am currently off work and on diazapam. No one has asked how I am or anything regarding my injuries. I've told them I have been diagnosed with whiplash and on medication but it has just been met with a wall of silence. Do I have a case? Has anyone out there claimed for their injuries in care and won? 
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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I do hope you're in a union. This sounds appalling, but you may need some support as you haven't been there long.
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  • aliabebedollaliabebedoll Forumite
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    Savvy_Sue said:
    I do hope you're in a union. This sounds appalling, but you may need some support as you haven't been there long.
    Thank you Sue. I'm still a member of a union through my old employer, I will be contacting them tomorrow. I used to work in transport so not sure if they can assist, but worth a try. In my old job we were actively encouraged to join a union, not a word mentioned in this place. 
  • edited 21 July at 7:19AM
    JamoLewJamoLew Forumite
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    edited 21 July at 7:19AM
    You need to report the incident immediately.
    As it is, it never happened -- there should be an accident/incident book in the workplace and from your description it needs reporting to the Police as an assault (at least)
    For future reference - you don't need deescalation training to tell you to just walk away and remove yourself from a violent/potentially violent situation
    You don't remain in the dangerous environment and accept being attacked for 2 hours -- this will not look good on any potential claim, you obviously weren't that afraid/fearful/hurt to not extract yourself from the environment after the first incident
  • Comms69Comms69 Forumite
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    JamoLew said:
    You need to report the incident immediately.
    As it is, it never happened -- there should be an accident/incident book in the workplace and from your description it needs reporting to the Police as an assault (at least)
    For future reference - you don't need deescalation training to tell you to just walk away and remove yourself from a violent/potentially violent situation
    You don't remain in the dangerous environment and accept being attacked for 2 hours -- this will not look good on any potential claim, you obviously weren't that afraid/fearful/hurt to not extract yourself from the environment after the first incident
    My thoughts exactly. 

    OP you are obligated to take reasonably necessary steps to preserve your own safety. 
  • wilfred30wilfred30 Forumite
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    JamoLew said:
    For future reference - you don't need deescalation training to tell you to just walk away and remove yourself from a violent/potentially violent situation
    You don't remain in the dangerous environment and accept being attacked for 2 hours -- this will not look good on any potential claim, you obviously weren't that afraid/fearful/hurt to not extract yourself from the environment after the first incident
    Totally agree with this.  To be honest, I find it hard to believe.
  • edited 21 July at 10:51AM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 21 July at 10:51AM
    Were you shown and did you read/sign any risk assessments and positive behavioural support plans relating to this person and their behaviour? These would have been referenced in the care plan, even if stored somewhere else so did you see them? Did you ask about them? 
     If they weren't there, and you weren't shown them, you should have been. In this respect I would say that your induction was inadequate and unsafe. 
    However the Health and Safety Act also puts some responsibility on you to raise concerns. Who told you you didn't need to record the incidents - when I was a manager (things may have changed) we would have completed an incident form, reported to CQC and potentially also a RIDDOR form if you have been off work for more than 7 days due to injury. 
    Who have you been speaking to in the organisation - your manager? If they are ignoring you then go higher. 
    What type of setting is it - care home or supported living? My guess is supported living, which is less regulated but the above records and reporting should still apply. 
    I would also say this is  a safeguarding due to the risk to the person from you trying to defend yourself using techniques which may be not appropriate and could cause them harm. They have the right to a decent level of support to protect themselves as well as the staff working with them and to have staff who have the training to be able to deal with their issues.
    It's not nice being attacked (been there) but you can leave the situation. The person can't. They need the correct measures in place to alleviate their distress and to support in the least restrictive way possible. 
    Does this person have a learning disability/autism. Because I think you would benefit from more training around that as well. Behaviour isn't personal. It's a means of communication. It helps to understand what is being communicated and why in order to de-escalate. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • MarconMarcon Forumite
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    You allowed it to continue for two hours? Why?
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Also to add, what was the other staff member who stayed with you doing these 2 hours while you say you were being assaulted - presumably not just sitting there watching it happen?
    You may find that there are two different versions of events if you do plan to try to take things forwards. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    To be able to claim compensation, you need to be able to show:
    1. That the person/organisation you are suing had a duty of care towards you
    2. That they were negligent (usually this means being able to show that the type of harm or injury you suffered, or the kind of incident which caused it,  was reasonably foreseeable and that they failed to take steps to reduce or eliminate that type of risk) 
    3. That your injury was as a result of their action / inaction.

    In this case,
    1 - as your employer they definitely have a duty of care to you
    2 - this is the hard one - I would expect there to be policies and processes about assessing new residents to consider their care needs, any risks to them or any risks they (or the care needed) might pose, so a lot of that is about what was documented or assessed, what was known about this person and should your employer have known that they might pose a risk. 
    3. Here again there may be issues - it does sound as though you were hurt by the resident and that that injury may well have been in part as a result of them not having appropriate assessments and safety measures in place BUT there may also be an element of contributory negligence on your part - that it may be that there were things which you could reasonably have done to prevent it escalating to the point you were hurt - for instance, by requesting / insisting on help as soon as she assaulted you the first time,. That would not stop you making a claim but might reduce the amount of any compensation you may be entitled to. 

    Speak to you union, in the mean time, make sure that the incident has been recorded and make your own notes of what happened, including where possible times (e.g. when she assaulted you, when (if at all) you first asked anyone else for help or raised any concern, what you were told about her needs or behavior at the outset etc. 
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • aliabebedollaliabebedoll Forumite
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    Thank you for the comments here. Some were very useful. 
    For those doubting it happened please let me clarify. 
    1. I raised concerns about my limits of ability with this particular service user before I was told to go and work with her alone. I received no reassurance and my concerns were not listened to and I was told 'it's fine. She's asleep'

    2. On swapping with the other staff I voiced concerns again. Saying I was not confident to work with her alone. I was just told to buzz when she was awake. 

    3. The resident woke and I buzzed for assistance. On seeing that the resident and myself were OK, the extra staff member left. 
    4. I buzzed for assistance every time I felt like the situation was changing. Everytime I did so, the person who came seemed less bothered about listening to my concerns that led up to the attack. 

    5. At the time of the attack I was alone with the service user. I used the alarm. 3 staff members came saw that I had gotten out of the hair pull, didn't even enter the vencinity of the flat, and proceeded to leave. 

    6. I had to make it clear at that point that I was not willing to work with this woman alone and that I was removing myself from her accommodation. This was met by, well someone will stay with you instead. I noted every detail down in the notes including times and who attended and what happened. 
    7. At the time of second attack, tl who was with me in the flat encouraged me to go back and sit with service user as she was asking for me. I was reluctant but I sat near her, which is when she grabbed me again. TL did not intervene. I removed myself from flat again and refused to re-enter. This was in all the space of 2 hours. TL sent someone else to cover him with me as he had to do the handover. When it was time to leave, I was asking if this had to be recorded elsewhere etc etc and he said no, got into his car and drove away. When I rang up following my examination I was told no management were available to speak to me. A lot of it is inexperience on my part in this field of work. However I voiced plenty of concerns and did indeed remove myself from the situation as well as I felt I could. Reading from similar events online, it says that I have to have had restraint training which I have not received. I had read the little that was available of her care plan, but I wasn't made to sign anything to say I had. She has a history of this behaviour and takes anti phsycotic meds. I am not the first or last staff she has done this type of thing to. She smashed a TV and threw a microwave at someone before my incident, so I believe no staff should have been placed with her 1:1. I te-iterate, my concerns were not listened to. I buzzed several times in those 2 hours voicing concerns and wanting to be removed from the situation and telling them I was not comfortable or experienced enough for this service user. I do not believe it was good practice. I have spoken to my GP and told him exactly the same as I have here in this thread. At no point did he try to proportion the blame on me like some have here. He said he thought it was terrible practice and wanted me to give him the details of the home. He was also shocked that I wasn't sent home straightaway and that they wanted me to carry on and finish my shift 1:1 with this woman. Hope that clears things up for everyone and once again, thank you to those of you who have genuinely assisted. I am not experienced in this field and have no previous care experience 
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