If you have been injured at work and feel that your employer was to blame, there are very good reasons why you should consult a solicitor immediately. A teacher who failed to take that sensible course after he was assaulted by a group of pupils jeopardised his chance of securing substantial compensation.
The teacher was supervising pupils in the gym at the secure unit where he worked for a local authority when one of them was set upon by others with hockey sticks. He acted as a human shield to protect the boy and was battered for several minutes. The incident was so serious that the unit was placed in lockdown.
The teacher continued to work for the same council following the attack in 2007 and it was not until 2016 that he launched proceedings. He claimed that the council bore legal responsibility for the incident, which had caused psychiatric injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The council, however, argued that his claim had been lodged far outside the three-year limitation period that applies to personal injury claims.
In ruling on that preliminary issue, the court found that, following a consultation with a GP in 2011, the teacher was aware that there might be a link between the assault and his psychiatric symptoms. A reasonable person with that knowledge would have considered the injury sufficiently serious to justify instituting proceedings. All but one aspect of his claim, which related to a further incident in 2015, was thus barred from proceeding further by the expiry of the limitation period.