A 54-year old prison instructor was attacked by a prisoner who had made previous threats towards him. The prison service admitted that it had failed to act upon the threats and so admitted liability for the attack. The physical impact of the punch to the head caused symptoms which lasted one month.

The psychological injury was more serious

The prison instructor suffered from insomnia, sweating, flashbacks, loss of confidence and felt worthless. The prison instructor was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and though he tried to return to work, he was medically retired. He became a carpenter. The prison instructor sued his employer, the Ministry of Justice.

How much did the court award?

£109,007 calculated as: £17,000 for the post-traumatic stress disorder; £30,217.08 for past loss of earnings; £29,895.99 for future loss of earnings; and £31,893.58 for the pension loss.

Truth Legal’s comments

This is more compensation than the prison instructor would have received through a Criminal Injuries claim. The sum, though large, is only meant to put the prison instructor back in the position as if the assault, which was allowed to happen by his employer, had not happened. This case shows how the mental/psychological element of an injury is often worse than the physical side of it.

See the full case report on Lawtel (subscription only).

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