By Mark Anderson. Last Updated 8th March 2021. Welcome to our guide which discusses repetitive strain injury claims against an employer. Are you thinking about claiming compensation for RSI at work? If so, this guide provides essential information to help you decide whether you have a valid claim or not.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) happens when an employee undertakes the same tasks over and over again, or when they work with machinery that vibrates heavily over a prolonged period. We can help with RSI injury claims against an employer, and may be able to help you begin a No Win No Fee compensation claim.
If you would like to begin a claim for a repetitive strain injury today, you can contact us on 0800 073 8801 right away.
If you’d rather find out more about how we can help and what you can claim compensation for first, then please carry on reading.
Select A Section
- A Guide To RSI Injury Claims Against An Employer
- What Are RSI Claims Against Your Employer?
- Time Limits To Make An RSI Injury Claim
- Was My RSI Injury Caused By Work?
- Ways Your Work Could Cause RSI
- How Is Workplace RSI Diagnosed?
- What Industries Have Higher RSI Injury Risks?
- What Responsibilities Do Employer Have To Keep Your Free From Harm?
- Changes Your Could Ask An Employer To Make If Returning To Work With RSI
- Personal Injury Claims Calculator For RSI Injury Claims Against Employers
- Elements Of A Personal Injury Claims
- No Win No Fee RSI Injury Claims Against Employers
- How We Could Help Make RSI Injury Claims Against An Employer
- Contact An Accident Claims Specialist
- RSI Accident Claim Resources
A Guide To RSI Injury Claims Against An Employer
An RSI injury at work could be caused by a multitude of different tasks where a repetitive activity takes place. It can also be caused by bad posture for desk-based workers. It is the sort of work injury that typically happens over a long period of time. A repetitive strain injury can affect the neck, shoulders, wrist, elbow, hands and forearms.
RSI covers a number of different injuries which we’ll explain throughout this guide. There are also different grades of RSI, some with physical symptoms and some without, so we’ll explain these too.
Workers who spend a lot of time at a computer, using a keyboard and mouse, are particularly vulnerable and could make RSI injury claims against an employer if they’ve done nothing to try and make the work environment safer to reduce the risk of RSI. We’ll explain what other types of jobs are likely to suffer from an RSI workplace injury throughout this guide.
To make repetitive strain injury claims against an employer, you’ll need to show that your injuries were caused because your employer failed to take steps to try and reduce the risks.
What Are RSI Claims Against Your Employer?
RSI injury claims against an employer could be made where it can be shown that:
- Your employer breached the duty of care that they owe you under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- That breach led to you suffering RSI
This could be because the employer failed to risk assess your job and didn’t make changes to try and reduce the risk of RSI. It could also occur if they failed to act when you highlighted your job was causing you pain.
Repetitive strain injuries make up a portion of the estimation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of there being 693,000 workers suffering non-fatal injuries during 2019/20. Those injuries are equal to 2% of the working population being off due to an injury sustained on-site. And 25% of these people ended up requiring at least a full week away from work as a result.
Time Limits To Make An RSI Injury Claim
Any claim for compensation in the UK needs to be made within the personal injury claims time limit of 3 years. Ordinarily, this would start from the date of an accident but, because repetitive strain injuries are progressive, the time limit is more likely to begin from the date a doctor diagnosed your RSI workplace injury.
That doesn’t mean you should wait until the 3 years are close to ending though as your personal injury lawyer will need as much time as possible to collate evidence and medical records to support your claim. Therefore, if you’re thinking of making repetitive strain injury claims against an employer, you should contact us sooner rather than later.
Was My RSI Injury Caused By Work?
To work out whether you have RSI, the first step is to receive a diagnosis from a GP. They will examine you and go over your medical history and the symptoms. If the doctor suspects RSI they might ask if the symptoms ease when you stop your work task.
While RSI is in its infancy, any pain may subside when you stop doing specific work or only occurs while you’re completing the task. Over time, if the pain is left untreated, it may become permanent and cause swelling which may last for several months.
When your doctor has assessed you, they would be able to advise you if the symptoms are linked to your work, and may offer suggestions about what your employer could do to make the task less painful for you.
When you first begin to suffer from RSI the symptoms might be mild but gradually increase to become more severe over time. Some of the common symptoms of RSI include:
- Numbness and tingling
- Tenderness, pain and aching
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should speak to an occupational health therapist at work or your GP for diagnosis. If you would like to discuss making repetitive strain injury claims against an employer, then please call us to discuss your options. We can assess your claim for free and help you decide whether you have a valid claim or not.
Ways Your Work Could Cause RSI
Even if your job is not strenuous or difficult, any repetitive task could lead to RSI if it’s carried out over a long period. Working conditions that could increase the risk of RSI include:
- Using machines that vibrate a lot for a long period
- Working in cold conditions
- Tasks that require repetitive forceful movement
- Long periods of time using the same muscles in a repetitive fashion
- Carrying heavy items regularly
- Jobs that leave you in the same position over a long period especially where bad posture is required.
If your work requires you to repeat a task over and over again for a prolonged period, then it could be increasing your risk of suffering from RSI. We can help with repetitive strain claims so please contact an adviser to let us assess your chances of claiming compensation.
How Is Workplace RSI Diagnosed?
As mentioned earlier, to be diagnosed with RSI, you’ll need to be assessed by a GP. They will look at your injuries, discuss your work, what repetitive tasks you carry out and when the pain occurs.
When they’ve finished their assessment, if they diagnose RSI it will be categorised as:
- RSI Type 1: This is RSI where there are very clear and visible symptoms. It’s a musculoskeletal disorder with physical symptoms such as inflammation and swelling of the affected tendons or muscles
- RSI Type 2: Sometimes called non-specific pain syndrome, Type 2 RSI is more likely to be related to nerve damage rather than showing physical symptoms. It will be linked to a particular work activity rather and will be more difficult to diagnose because of the lack of physical symptoms
Examples of RSI Injuries
Here are some of the more common situations which could result in repetitive strain injury claims against an employer:
- Bursitis: Bursae are sacs of fluid around your joints. They are found joints where skin, muscle and tendons meet the bones and their job is to reduce friction during movement. Bursitis is when the bursae become inflamed causing restricted movement because of pain and discomfort when moving
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: There is a nerve on the underside of your palm called the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is excess pressure on the median nerve usually because of inflammation. The inflammation can be made worse with repetitive movement and extending of the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused extended exposure to vibrating power tools, the position of wrists when using a keyboard or any movement which overextends the wrist repeatedly
- Tennis Elbow: Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, is a very painful inflammation of the elbow. It’s caused by overuse and cause pain on the elbow and the back of the forearm. As well as sporting injuries, hence it’s name, tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive use of computers, hammers or screwdrivers
What Industries Have Higher RSI Injury Risks?
As you might expect, personal injury claims for RSI occur more in some industries than others. Here are some jobs which have a higher rate of repetitive strain injury claims against an employer than others:
- Office based jobs, especially those where computers, keyboards and mice are used regularly
- Cooks and kitchen staff
- Cleaners and maintenance staff
- Dental hygienists
- Builders and construction workers who use power tools regularly
- Bus drivers
What Responsibilities Do Employer Have To Keep Your Free From Harm?
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers must make sure staff remain safe while at work. This might mean reducing immediate risks from the workplace but should also take into account any dangers caused by repetitive tasks that could happen over a prolonged period.
The employer should look at each task that is carried out by their staff and make changes where a problem or risk is identified. For computer workers, there are specific regulations surrounding how their workstation is setup to reduce the risk injury from bad posture, so the employer needs to make sure this is enforced.
To reduce the risk of an RSI workplace injury, employers could:
- Ensure staff are fully trained in any health and safety policies
- Consult with employees, possible via an occupational health survey, to identify any risks involved with their work. They should make changes where necessary
- Alter the working day to allow employees time away from any repetitive task
Essentially, even though RSI injuries are not caused by accidents, employers should still try to identify where they might occur and make changes to the workers routine to reduce the risk.
Changes Your Could Ask An Employer To Make If Returning To Work With RSI
When you’ve had time off from work following an RSI injury, you are within your rights to ask your employer make changes when you return to work.
Under The Equality Act 2010, employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments. What’s reasonable for a large multinational company might not be reasonable for a small family firm. It’s, therefore, best to discuss your concerns with your employer and explain what changes you’d like to see.
- If you work with heavy vibrating machinery you could ask for more breaks, protective gloves or for the equipment to be stored in warm places overnight to reduce the risks
- Office workers who use computers could ask for footrests to improve posture, ergonomic keyboards or mice or a wrist rest to improve wrist position
Personal Injury Claims Calculator For RSI Injury Claims Against Employers
To demonstrate how much compensation can be awarded for repetitive strain injury claims against an employer, we’ve included the personal injury claims calculator table below:
|Hand injury||Minor||Up to £4,461|
|Wrist injury||Minor||£3,310 to £4,450|
|Arm injury||Minor||£18,020 to £36,770|
|Finger injury||Minor||Up to £4,461|
|Back injury||Minor||Up to £2,300|
It’s important that your solicitor can demonstrate the exact impact of your injuries, with medical evidence, as the amount of compensation paid is adjusted accordingly. If a doctor diagnosed your RSI, then the medical records they produced can be used as evidence. In conjunction with these records, your personal injury solicitor will arrange for an independent medical assessment to demonstrate how your injuries will affect you in the future (if at all).
Elements Of A Personal Injury Claims
When you make RSI injury claims against an employer, your solicitor can include a number of different elements to build your claim when it comes to the level of compensation you may be awarded. Not every claim will include every element as it will depend on how you were affected. We’ve listed the different heads of loss (elements) that a solicitor might use below:
This compensation is awarded to the claimant for the pain and suffering caused by their injuries. The table in the previous guide showed amounts paid out under the general damages section of a claim.
Other than general damages, special damages can be claimed for things that leave you out of pocket. We’ve listed these below. Remember to keep receipts to prove any expenses you’re going to claim.
Loss of Earnings
When you need time off work because you need to undergo RSI injury treatment, you may lose money if your employer doesn’t pay full sick pay. If this is the case, you could seek the loss back as part of your claim.
With more serious RSI claims, which result in you losing the ability to work at all or having to change jobs because of your injury, you could claim compensation for loss of future income as well. This amount could be quite significant as it can be based on your age, current salary and your job prospects.
Although your treatment for RSI will probably be provided by the NHS, which is free, you could still end up out of pocket because of the cost of prescriptions and other medication. In this case, you could add the medication costs to your claim.
Some injuries require a lot of recovery time and may mean that you require professional care to help you back on your feet. If this is the case, you could hire a carer and claim the cost back. You should check though with your solicitor to make sure they think you have a chance of claiming the cost back.
If you’re unable to drive because of your RSI injury and need to make alternate travel arrangements, you could claim back any additional costs you incur. This could also be the case if you need to travel to and from doctor’s appointments in which case you could claim back the cost of fuel.
No Win No Fee RSI Injury Claims Against Employers
One thing you might worry about when making repetitive strain injury claims against an employer is the cost of hiring a legal team. That’s why our panel of solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service for all claims they take on.
No Win No Fee, is actually called a Conditional Fee Agreement, and it means that you won’t pay your solicitor anything at all if they fail to win your case.
If you do receive compensation, then the solicitor will retain a success fee to pay for their services. This is deducted automatically which means you won’t need to find the funds to pay the solicitor yourself. Should your case be unsuccessful, there would be nothing to pay for the services a personal injury solicitor provided.
Because of the risks involved for the solicitor, our accident claims solicitor have to be selective about what claims they take on using a no win no fee service. The best way to find out if they can help, is by speaking to one of our advisers who’ll assess your claim for free and let you know if you’re eligible to claim.
How We Could Help Make RSI Injury Claims Against An Employer
Here at Accident Claims UK, we have a team of specialists who dedicated to trying to ensure our clients receive the correct amount of compensation for their injuries. We can provide free legal advice about whether you should claim or not and, if we believe you have a strong case, could connect you with a personal injury solicitor to handle your case.
Contact An Accident Claims Specialist
If you’re ready to begin discussing repetitive strain injury claims against an employer, then you can get in touch with us by any of the following methods:
- Calling our advisers for free on 0800 073 8801
- By using our online claim form. We’ll call you back when it’s convenient for you.
- You can use our live chat facility 7 days a week.
- Or you could send us a message to email@example.com.
Remember that one of our advisers will assess your claim, for free and without obligation, and help you decide whether you could seek compensation or not. If you have any questions about your claim, we’ll happily answer them and let you know if you need to do anything else prior to claiming.
RSI Accident Claim Resources
You’ve now reached the end of this guide about making RSI injury claims against an employer. To assist you further, we’ve provided some useful links and resources below:
RSI Action – Information from an RSI charity about what workers with RSI need from employers.
NHS RSI – A useful website from the NHS explaining the symptoms and treatment options for those suffering various types of RSI.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – The government body that manages health and safety policies for employers and enforces the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Accident at Work Claim – This useful guide explains when you could seek compensation for any type of workplace accident, not just RSI.
Accident at Work – Your Rights – This guide also covers accidents in the workplace but concentrates on your legal rights.
Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation – This page goes into further detail about compensation payouts for repetitive strain injury claims against an employer.
Repetitive Strain Injury Claims Against An Employer FAQs
Could I claim compensation for a repetitive strain injury?
Yes. If a repetitive strain injury doesn’t receive adequate treatment and is allowed to become progressively worse, it could be life-altering. This means that the injury may greatly impact the victim’s mobility in some form, which could disrupt their day-to-day living. It could also prevent them from carrying out their job, which is significant if the injury first happened at work.
How can I prove a repetitive strain injury?
Receiving a medical assessment from a doctor allows you to have confirmation about whether or not you’ve suffered such an injury. It’s best to get checked by a doctor sooner rather than later if the symptoms begin to fade. That’s because your opportunity to make a claim could reduce if you wait too long.
What could cause a repetitive strain injury at work?
There are several activities that might result in you suffering a repetitive strain injury. Lifting heavy objects and repeatedly performing the same physical task are primary examples. Having poor posture for an extended period could also be a factor. As could stressing the same muscles for hours on end on a regular basis.
How can I tell if I have suffered a repetitive strain injury?
There are a number of common symptoms of a repetitive strain injury. Throbbing and numbness within the affected area are clear signs. But so is dull pain and tenderness. Other symptoms include the muscle feeling stiff, cramped and generally unstable with minimal strength.
Article by BH (Brett)
Thank you for reading our guide about repetitive strain injury claims against an employer.