Working as a prison officer can be a tough job both emotionally and physically. Not only do you often have to deal with violent offenders and difficult situations, there is also the risk of assault, as well as the potential to be injured whilst working in an old, poorly-maintained prison. If you’ve been injured in an accident at work, then you could find yourself eligible to make a claim for personal injury compensation. Whether or not your claim is successful will depend on who is liable for your accident, and if you’ve been injured whilst working as a prison officer, it could be that Her Majesty’s Prison Service (or another employer) could be held responsible and ordered to pay you personal injury compensation.
Why might a prison officer want to claim personal injury compensation?
There are plenty of different reasons why you may want to claim personal injury compensation whilst working as a prison officer – the job has a variety of different risks. Firstly, you may be assaulted at work, either by an individual or after a prison riot, which could leave you seriously injured. Then there is the potential to be injured due to working in poorly maintained surroundings – many prisons are old and in serious need of maintenance. You could even be injured due to the negligence of other staff; for example if cleaning staff don’t use a wet floor sign when mopping floors then you could slip and suffer a minor or serious injury.
Working as a prison officer comes with its risks and everyone who takes on the job accepts some responsibility for their own safety. However, there is a difference between an accident which was nobody’s fault and one which could have been foreseen and avoided. According to an annual report by the Chief Prisons Inspector in 2013, prisons in England and Wales are ‘in their worst state for 10 years.’ Assaults in prisons are on the rise too, with assaults on prison staff rising to 3,637 in 2014, a 28% increase from figures reported in 2010.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers must take steps to minimise the risk of assault to employees in the workplace, and nowhere is this more important than in a prison. In fact prison officers have expressed concern over health and safety at work in recent months, with protests and strikes taking place across England and Wales in November 2016 – up to 10,000 prison staff participated in strikes. With assaults in prisons at an all-time high, the government announced the provision of 2,500 additional frontline prison officers, in a bid to reduce violence in prisons. According to the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales’ Annual Report 2015-16, over 20,000 assaults took place in prisons in 2015, with the number of serious assaults rising by 31% on the previous year’s figures to almost 3,000.
Common prison officer injuries
So what are the most common prison officer injuries and should you make a personal injury claim if you have been injured whilst working in a prison? Since 2000, Accident Advice Helpline has helped prison officers and support staff to claim compensation for a variety of different types of injuries, from those sustained after a slip, trip or fall to more serious injuries suffered due to an assault at work. Here are a few examples of the most common prison officer injuries we have handled claims for:
- Head injuries including concussion, skull fractures and brain injuries
- Facial or eye injuries
- Loss of teeth or damage to teeth
- Lacerations which could lead to permanent scarring
- Strains and sprains
- Psychological trauma
People often don’t realise that it is possible to make a claim for psychological trauma after an accident. Being assaulted at work can be a terrifying, traumatic experience that can leave you suffering from post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety and depression. You may need counselling or support in order to be able to return to work, or an extended period of time off to recover after the incident. If you are suffering psychologically after an assault whilst working as a prison officer, Accident Advice Helpline could help you to make a personal injury claim, provided it has been three years or less since you were injured. Assaults in prisons are on the rise – figures released by the Prison Officers Association showed assaults on staff (and inmates) rose from 13,804 in 2011 to 14,858 in 2012, with an average of around eight assaults a day on prison officers, and with budget cuts and job losses, it’s predicted things will only get worse.
Of course you can claim for injuries sustained in other types of accidents too – claiming after a slip and fall (on a wet floor, for example) could result in a more substantial personal injury settlement than you might expect, depending on your injuries.
Claiming compensation after an accident working at a prison
The amount of compensation you could get after being injured whilst working in a prison depends on the severity of your injuries and what has happened. If you have sustained life-changing injuries, such as loss of vision or a brain injury after an assault, you’re likely to receive more compensation than somebody who has sprained their ankle after tripping on damaged flooring whilst working as a prison officer. The best way to find out how much compensation you could be entitled to is to take the 30-second test on our website, then call our freephone helpline on 0800 689 0500, or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile, to see if you could make a claim.
We have been endorsed by our patron, TV personality Dame Esther Rantzen, for our excellent customer service, and we provide a 100% no-win, no-fee service, so claiming is affordable no matter what your circumstances. Don’t forget that there is a three-year time limit in place to make a personal injury claim, so if you have been injured at work it is a good idea to contact us as soon as possible after your accident, to explore your options and get things moving with your claim.
Date Published: January 26, 2017
Author: Rob Steen