A Guide On How To Claim Compensation For A Repetitive Strain Injury

Repetitive strain injury compensation claims guide

Repetitive strain injury compensation claims guide

Did you know that, in some circumstances, you could claim compensation for a repetitive strain injury using a no win no fee solicitor? Well, if it can be shown that your injury was caused by employer negligence, then you could be eligible to begin a claim. In this guide we’re going to look at RSI symptoms, causes and reasons why you might be able to make a claim. We’ll also look at how much compensation could be paid for a work-related repetitive strain injury.

Accident Claims UK specialise in handling personal injury claims. Our team of advisors provide a free, no obligation assessment of your claim. They’ll also provide free advice even if you’re not ready to begin your claim. To discuss your claim right away, why not call 0800 073 8801 to see if you have a chance of being compensated. If you do, our advisors could introduce you to one of our no win no fee solicitors.

However, for more information about claiming for repetitive strain injuries, please continue reading this helpful guide.

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A Guide To Repetitive Strain Injury Claims

In a working environment, if you complete the same tasks over and over again, day after day, over a long period, you could be at risk of sustaining a repetitive strain injury. As employers have a duty of care towards staff, if they fail to reduce the risk of RSI or fail to act if you highlight a concern to them, you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.

In this guide, we’re going to try and answer some common questions regarding RSI such as:

  • What are the five symptoms of RSI?
  • Can I claim compensation for repetitive strain injury?
  • How long does it take for repetitive strain injury to heal?
  • What is the RSI time limit?

We’ll also explain when you could be eligible to claim and how much compensation you could be entitled to. As mentioned, an employer has a duty of care to try and keep staff safe while at work. Therefore, you might be able to claim against your employer if you can show that:

  • Your working conditions led to RSI.
  • Your employer’s negligence was responsible for the injury occurring.
  • Finally, you are claiming within the personal injury claims time limit.

Generally, time limits apply from the date of an accident. With repetitive strain injuries, the time limit is more likely to apply from the date a doctor diagnosed your condition. Our advice would be to start your claim as soon as possible. That’s because your solicitor will need to gather evidence, arrange a medical assessment and complete other tasks which all take time to arrange.

If, when you’ve read this guide, you’d like to make a claim for a repetitive strain injury, please call an advisor for a free assessment of your case.

What Are Repetitive Strain Injuries?

The phrase ‘repetitive strain injury’ actually refers to a number of conditions which can affect the nerves, tendons muscles and soft tissues usually in the upper body. The condition can be caused when the limbs or joints through overuse, vibration, cold, twisting, poor posture or stress over a prolonged period of time become injured.

Some common forms of repetitive strain injury that you may have heard of are:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Tenosynovitis.
  • Epicondylitis (tennis or golfer’s elbow).

The types of job that could lead to RSI vary quite a lot. For instance, an office worker who uses a computer regularly could be at risk as well as a construction workers who use vibrating machines, in wet and cold conditions, over a long period of time.

In the following sections we’ll look at different types of RSI and associated conditions that could lead to a compensation claim.

What Is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or TOS is a term that describes symptoms that are caused when the blood vessels or nerves in the thoracic outlet (between the bottom of the neck and the armpit) are compressed.

The condition is caused when the muscles, bones and tissues surrounding the thoracic outlet becomes enlarged. When swollen, the tissues can compress the nerves between the shoulders and neck.

Thoracic outlet syndrome can be triggered by jobs which require reaching above shoulder level, carrying heavy loads on the shoulder or pulling shoulders back and down over a prolonged period.

The symptoms of TOS are pain, tingling, weakness and numbness in the neck, shoulder or arm area. So, what can be done for thoracic outlet syndrome? In general, a period of rest is required before you’ll be advised to return to work. In this period, you may be advised to take anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the swelling. An exercise plan to loosen and stretch the muscle may be advised. Also, in rarer cases, any abnormality in the bones which causes pressure on the thoracic outlet might be treated with surgery.

What Is A Diffuse Repetitive Strain Injury?

Some forms of RSI can be called industrial illnesses because they’re linked to a particular type of work such as vibration white finger which is caused by using vibrating machinery or equipment over a long period of time. However, with diffuse RSI doctors can’t see any physical signs of an injury with no pathology, psychogenic, ‘all-in-the-mind’ theories have flourished.

Type 2 RSI, non specific pain syndrome is common in an office worker and is commonly linked to the continued use of a keyboard and mouse to operate a computer or machinery. While the sufferer may complain of pain in the wrists, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck and back, a doctor may not be able to find any physical signs like tenderness or swelling linked with other RSI conditions such as tenosynovitis. This can make obtaining a diagnosis difficult.

Whereas other conditions have defined treatment methods, diffuse RSI isn’t usually treatable by medication or surgery. Instead, many doctors will recommend physiotherapy, massage or pain management techniques.

If you’ve been diagnosed with diffuse RSI and you’d like to discuss beginning a claim, please call an advisor today.

Symptoms Of Repetitive Strain Injuries And Overuse

Depending on the type of repetitive strain injury you’re suffering from the symptoms and their severity can vary. However, some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Stiffness in the area affected by RSI.
  • Numbness, cramps and tingling sensations.
  • Pain, aching and tenderness.
  • A throbbing sensation.
  • Weakness of the muscles.

To start with, you may experience any single symptom listed above. However, as the injury worsens, you may find you’re suffering with multiple symptoms. Pain levels may be fairly mild to start with but if the same repetitive action continues, it can increase and become more constant. Depending on the extent of your repetitive strain injury, the recovery time can be anywhere from a matter of weeks to a number of years.

You could discuss your concerns with your employer if you start to feel the early signs of RSI. They may carry out an occupational health assessment and changes to your working practices could be recommended. If they fail to do so, and you continue to develop RSI which is diagnosed by a doctor, you could be entitled to seek workers compensation for a repetitive strain injury.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Repetitive Strain Injuries

When you visit your GP because you’re concerned about a repetitive strain injury, they’ll try to work out whether the pain is worse when you’re carrying out a certain task and reduces when the task is stopped.

If they find swelling or inflamed tissue, or suspect you have, they could diagnose conditions such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture, epicondylitis, rotor cuff syndrome, tendonitis, trigger finger, Raynaud’s phenomenon, thoracic outlet syndrome or dystonia (writer’s cramp). They could also refer you for x-rays to try and eliminate conditions such as arthritis.

The first step in treatment is to try and alter your working conditions. If that fails to resolve the issue, a number of treatment options are available. These include:

  • Medication such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and sometimes antidepressants.
  • Splints, cold packs or elasticated bandages.
  • Steroid injections.
  • Surgery to repair nerve or tendon damage.

Your GP may also refer you for other treatment such as massage, physiotherapy and osteopathy. Yoga and acupuncture are often used to help relieve the symptoms of RSI too.

What Are The Main Causes Of Repetitive Strain Injuries?

As already discussed, RSI is caused by repetitive actions over a prolonged period of time. Here are some of the main factors which can lead to the condition:

  • Constant use of vibrating equipment or machinery.
  • Working in cold conditions.
  • Tasks which require repetitive, forceful movement.
  • Carrying of heavy objects repeatedly.
  • Holding the same posture for a long period of time.
  • Direct pressure or a blow to the same part of the body regularly.
  • Using the same muscles continuously and repetitively.
  • Stress can also increase the risk of RSI.

The types of task which lead to RSI don’t need to be difficult or strenuous. It is the fact that they are repetitive which will ultimately be the cause of the condition. Therefore, employers could take steps such as rotating staff responsibilities to help reduce the risk of RSI in the workplace or allow staff to take regular breaks from such repetitive tasks.

Repetitive Strain Injury Regulations

There are a number of repetitive strain injury regulations for employers that are taken from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and also the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992.

As part of an employer’s duty of care towards staff, they are supposed to undertake regular risk assessments of the workplace. This is so that any dangers can be removed to try and maintain staffs well being as much as possible.

Therefore, if a risk of RSI is identified, the employer could:

  • Arrange for a workstation assessment and provide aids such as wrist rests, footrests and ergonomic keyboards.
  • Use low vibrating equipment where possible.
  • Swap staffs regular duties to limit the amount of time carrying out a specific task.
  • Provide somewhere warm for rests when working in cold conditions.
  • Provide protective and warm clothing for staff working outside in the cold or wet.

If you’ve suffered RSI because your employer didn’t take steps to reduce the risks, please contact an advisor for an assessment of your options.

Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation Claims Calculator

If you’re considering making a repetitive strain injury claim, you’re probably also interested in how much compensation can be paid. In truth, it’s not possible to provide a true estimate until your claim has been assessed. Only when we know the true impact of your injuries can we work out how much compensation to ask for.

However, we can provide the personal injuries claims calculator table below. It shows different compensation amounts that could be awarded for specific injuries. Please bear in mind though that this is just one part of the claim. We’ll cover other elements of your claim in the next section.

Injury TypeSeverityPayment RangeComments
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders£2,070 to £3,310RSI injuries which are resolved fully within a matter of weeks or a few months.
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders£8,110 to £10,090RSI injuries that are resolved within 3 years.
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders£13,970 to £15,330RSI injuries that have continuing but fluctuating unilateral symptoms.
Work-Related Upper Limb Disorders£20,560 to £21,700RSI injuries that cause a bilateral disability, require surgery and cause the loss of employment.
NeckMinor£2,300 to £4,080Soft tissue damage to the neck which is resolved between 3 months and a year.
ShoulderMinorUp to £2,300Soft tissue injuries to the shoulders which are resolved within 3 months.
Back Minor£2,300 to £7,410Soft tissue injuries, sprains and strains that are resolved, without surgery, between 3 months and 2 years.

It’s important to be able to prove the extent of your injuries as compensation is awarded based on the severity of your injuries. That’s why our solicitors use independent doctors to assess your injuries. The report they provide, along with other evidence, can be used to try and ensure that you receive the correct level of compensation.

The compensation calculator table contains a sample of injuries you could claim for. Therefore, don’t worry if yours isn’t listed. We could still help you claim so long as your RSI can be shown to have been caused by somebody else’s negligence.

Special Damages In A Repetitive Strain Injury Claim

When handling any personal injury case, your solicitor can claim for a number of different elements. The two main elements are:

  • General damages: Compensation paid for pain and suffering caused by your injuries. The table in the previous section contained general damage figures.
  • Special damages: This is compensation that’s awarded to ensure you don’t lose out financially because of your injuries.

Some of the different special damages that can be claimed for include:

  • Travel Costs.
    If your repetitive strain injury means you’re unable to drive, you could claim for the costs associated with alternative travel arrangements. Also, you could include the fuel and parking costs linked to medical appointments.
  • Medical Expenses.
    The cost of prescription medicines, over the counter treatments and possibly non-NHS services can soon build up while recovering from RSI. Therefore, the costs of these could be claimed back.
  • Care Costs.
    Should your injuries mean that you require a carer to aid your recovery, you could claim the costs back. If the care you receive is from a family member or friend, you could make a claim for their time.
  • Lost Income.
    While you’re recovering from RSI, if you lose income because of time off from work, you could include these losses in your claim. It’s also possible to claim for future lost income if it becomes apparent that you’ll be affected in the longer-term.

When claiming for special damages, your solicitor will need evidence to demonstrate your losses. Therefore, we’d advise that you keep hold of any receipts linked to the claim. Bank statements, wage slips or a P60 could also be used to verify income loss.

Another thing we’d recommend is that you keep a diary of spending. This will make it easier to remember why you spent money and how it was linked to your injuries.

No Win No Fee Repetitive Strain Injury Claims

When considering beginning a repetitive strain injury compensation claim, a common worry is the amount it will cost to hire a personal injury lawyer. You needn’t worry though because, if you use Accident Claims UK, our solicitors work on a no win no fee basis for any claim they agree to take on.

If you decide to begin your case, and the solicitor agrees to take it on, you’ll both sign a contract. This is known as a conditional fee agreement or CFA. Having a CFA protects you as it states that you don’t need to pay the solicitor’s fees unless you receive compensation. It also makes it clear the level of ‘success fee’ that’s payable should your case be won.

Success fees are the method by which the solicitor’s fees are paid in successful claims. However, you don’t need to have the money available to pay the fee as it’s actually deducted from your compensation before it’s paid to you. By law, the success fee can’t be higher than 25% of your settlement figure.

Knowing the level of success fee from the start means there are no surprises when your claim is finalised. We believe that using no win no fee means that claims are less stressful and there’s less financial risk. In turn, we believe, more people are able to make a claim.

Why Select Us To Handle Your Repetitive Strain Injury Claim?

Now that you’ve read this guide, we hope you are considering using Accident Claims UK to help you make your claim. Here are some reasons why we think that you should use our services:

  • Our solicitors always try to ensure that claims are settled as quickly as possible.
  • They also try to ensure that you receive the correct level of compensation for your injuries.
  • Our advisors offer free advice and a no obligation assessment of your claim.
  • The claims line is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week so you can call whenever it’s convenient for you.
  • We have loads of positive feedback from previous clients.
  • Our team of solicitors have been dealing with personal injury claims for up to 30-years.

If you would like to know anything else about how we could help you or the claims process, please call an advisor today.

Start Your Repetitive Strain Injury Claim

If you’re ready to discuss your claim for a repetitive strain injury, there are a number of ways to contact us. These include:

  • Speaking with an advisor directly by calling 0800 073 8801.
  • Emailing details of your claim to office@accidentclaims.co.uk.
  • Using our live chat facility to discuss your claim with an advisor online.
  • Finally, you could complete our online claims form to arrange for a member of the team to call you back.

When you contact us, an advisor will go through the details of your claim with you. They’ll review the evidence and provide free advice about how you should proceed. There’s no obligation to continue, so you’ve got nothing to lose by calling. If the claim is deemed to have a good chance of being won, you could be introduced to a personal injury solicitor who could handle your claim on a no win no fee basis.

Essential References

Now that you’ve reached the end of this guide about claiming for a repetitive strain injury, we thought it’d be useful to link to some more relevant guides and resources.

RSI Guide – This is an NHS resource that explains the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of repetitive strain injuries.

The Health And Safety At Work Act 1974 – The piece of legislation that could be used to bring a personal injury claim against an employer if their negligence led to a repetitive strain injury.

How To Prevent Computer Based RSI – Another guide from the NHS. This one explains steps you could take to reduce the risk of RSI if you use computers regularly.

Vibration White Finger Claims – A guide about the causes of vibration white finger and when you could seek compensation for it.

Medical Negligence Claims – This guide is all about claiming for negligence by a medical professional. It could be used to claim for a misdiagnosis that caused you further suffering.

Article by BH

Edited by MM.