A care worker who sustained injuries to her neck, back and knee after she was assaulted at work has received compensation with the help of UNISON and Thompsons Solicitors. 

The 40-year-old woman, who was working for a care provider in Essex, was assisting three service users on a day trip to a swimming pool when the incidents occurred. She was one of four staff members on the trip. 

As she knelt down to help one user put on her swimming costume, the client pushed her onto the concrete floor. In the fall she twisted her left knee and suffered a whiplash injury to her neck. 

Later that day when travelling back from the pool another service user assaulted the woman by hitting her on the head, which aggravated the earlier injuries she had suffered to her neck and upper back. 

The two service users that attacked the UNISON member were known to have violent outbursts, but insufficient staffing levels meant that she was often left to look after them on her own. 

As a result of the attacks she had to take four months off work and when she returned it was on light duties. However, her pain was such that she found herself unable to provide adequate care and she left her job for a new role in a local hospital. She continues to suffer numbness in her left arm and struggles to walk because of the pain in her knee. 

The incident has also led to the woman developing anxiety issues and depression. 

She contacted her union UNISON and instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation. 

She said: “Almost five years after the incident I still find myself struggling to get about. I used to go swimming and jogging daily but now I have to use a trolley to do my shopping; it makes me feel so old. 

“I’ve had to quit my job and take up a new role because I just can’t do strenuous activity. Knowing I had the backing of my union and Thompsons was a big help for me, it gave me the confidence to pursue a compensation claim against my employer.” 

William Seymour, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Our client should have had support from colleagues when managing a service user that had previously exhibited aggressive behaviour. 

“She has been able to change her career plans, but the physical and mental impact of the assaults may never go away. This personal disaster for a caring employee should act as a reminder to care providers that they must maintain safe working practices including staffing levels, not only for the safety of the users but also the workforce.”