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Retail violence claims could cost £53M

13 March 2024

VIOLENT INCIDENTS in shops could cost the retail sector around £53million in personal injury claims from staff, according to insurance law experts at Forbes Solicitors.

During the past 12 months (January 2023-December 2023), 28,288 employer liability claims were logged on the national, not-for-profit Claims Portal Ltd, with a review by Forbes Solicitors revealing the average value of settled claims resolved via the Portal was £6,026 per case. 

Retailers and insurers are increasingly at risk of covering such claims. The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) recent Crime Survey shows 41,000 violent incidents towards retail workers, averaging 113 per day, and 8,800 of these incidents resulting in injury. This could leave the retail sector facing claims topping £53m* from injured staff.

Claire Opacic, a partner in the insurance team at Forbes Solicitors comments, “Shop staff are being subjected to violent attacks, which puts their physical wellbeing and mental health at risk. Covering the costs of treatment, rehabilitation and loss of earnings caused by injuries are another consequence for retailers and insurers of a problem plaguing the retail industry.”

The BRC’s Crime Survey shows retailers are spending £1.2bn on crime prevention measures to deter theft and retail violence. Claire is urging retailers to take the same proactive approach to upholding their duty of care as an employer, checking they have updated risk assessments to reflect the increasing dangers faced in this regard, as well as making sure they have the right insurance cover in place to minimise their liabilities for the actions of thugs and criminals.

Claire explains: “Thankfully, not every incident of abuse or violence will leave staff injured. However, the sad reality is that shop staff are at risk from attacks and retailers need to approach this with belts and braces. 

“Alongside physical crime prevention measures in store, retailers are best placed looking at staff training and support, and speaking with their insurers and solicitors to make sure their policies and risk assessments sufficiently protect both the interests of staff and employers in the event of personal injury. 

“The value of employer liability claims via the national Claims Portal Ltd are capped at £25,000 per case. There may well be instances where retail violence leads to serious staff injuries with long-term impacts, meaning claims and settlements are significantly higher than the average of around £6,000 per settlement.”  

*£53M in claims calculated: 8,800 violent incidents leading to injury x £6,026 average claim settlement = £53,028,800.