Can I claim compensation for broken arm at work when, as a nurse, a patient caused my injury?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
You may be able to claim compensation for broken arm at work although you should be aware that as a nurse assaulted by a patient, you would be entering a particularly complicated area of personal injury law. The possible difficulty surrounding such a case would involve the patient, and whether he or she had a diminished mental capacity; and that, if so, may not be legally accountable for their actions. Another issue could arise over the possibility that the patient in question would be unlikely to have a suitable insurance policy or personal assets to pay work broken arm compensation, even it if was possible to claim against the assailant.
However, depending on the circumstance which led to the assault, it may be possible to file your compensation claim for broken arm in the workplace against your employer’s liability insurance policy – rather than attempting to claim against the patient who assaulted you. You should be able to claim compensation for broken arm at work against the health centre which employs you if you can prove that your employer’s lack of attention to the health and safety of health centre staff caused your injury or if he or she breached their lack of care by allowing for you to be exposed to the risk of injury.
It is the responsibility of all employers to provide their employees with a safe working environment and that all threats to staff safety are kept to the minimum possible level. Failure to adhere to these legal obligations and a neglect to properly assess the risks of an assault on employees and to take suitable action to reduce such risks would constitute as negligence, giving reasonable cause to initiate a claim for broken arm in the workplace.
While it may not be entirely possible to prevent patients from trying to attack a nurse, it is possible to decrease the opportunity for such an incident to occur and to reduce the severity of an assault. For example, a nurse should not be placed in a position where they are alone with a patient who is considered violent or has a history of aggression. All opportunities for assault should be restricted and other staff members should be at hand to enable rapid assistance. Additionally, panic buttons should be installed in all rooms, staff should be supplied with personal alarms and – if possible – security screens should have been available to limit contact with potentially violent patients.
It is vital that the exact circumstances of your case is thoroughly investigated and evaluated by a personal injury solicitor before your entitlement to work broken arm compensation can be confirmed. As your employer would likely be who the claim for broken arm in the workplace would be made against, evidence will have to be assembled to establish his or her liability. You will be eligible to recover compensation for broken arm at work with proof that your employer has failed in any of the areas mentioned above.