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Written on 20th April 2023 by Claire Roantree

Boyes Turner’s personal injury solicitors have secured a compensation settlement in a PTSD claim for a teaching assistant who was assaulted by a student.

Our client asked our accidents at work claims specialists to help her claim compensation from the council (her employers) after she was assaulted by a teenager who had learning difficulties and was known to express their anxiety with violent behaviour. The student came from an external college and on the day of the incident was  attending our client’s class for the first time, with two support workers.

Council failed to follow their own risk assessment procedure

The council’s normal procedure for new students included carrying out an interview with the student, followed by a risk assessment arising from their medical needs or violent behaviour to create a ‘learner profile’. The information from the learner profile and risk assessment should have been added to a supported learning database at the start of the new term, which the tutors would access to help them prepare to meet their new students.

In this case, the council employer had failed to follow their own risk assessment procedure. The database had not been updated and our client’s attempt to obtain information in advance from the student and support workers was unsuccessful.  She finally received brief profiles for the entire class of students 15 minutes before the class began, leaving her no time to review them and unaware of the new student’s violent behaviour.

During the class, the student reacted to her questions by hitting her across the face. The force of the assault caused her head to be thrust backwards sharply. She developed swelling to her face, ringing in her ear and blurred vision, and shock with flashbacks, anxiety, disturbed sleep and depression. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD with panic attacks and flashbacks triggered by her working environment. She was unable to return to her job or to teaching as a profession. 

Settlement provides compensation and PTSD treatment

We pursued our client’s PTSD injury claim against her council employers on the basis of multiple failings, including failure to follow their own risk assessment procedures and provide our client with a safe working environment and safe system of work. They denied liability throughout the case and made allegations of contributory negligence against our client. However, in the weeks leading up to trial, we secured an out-of-court settlement for our client which will provide her with compensation and psychological treatment.

Our client kindly allowed us to share her testimonial:

“Thank you so very much for all of your hard work and everything you have done for me. Thanks to you, it’s helped me close a chapter and move on to a new and hopefully exciting one. I’ll never forget how much you helped me.“

If you have suffered serious injury as a result of an accident at work and would like to find out more about rehabilitation and making a claim, you can talk to one of our experienced solicitors, free and confidentially, by contacting us.