Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation Claims

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Repetitive Strain Injuries are commonly known as an RSI. Usually the injury relates to someone’s working conditions and the type of work that they are doing. We can help you identify whether your RSI is something that you can pursue a compensation claim for.

Table of contents

What is a repetitive strain injury?

‘Repetitive strain’ is a general term that is used to describe injuries and pain caused to the muscles, tendons, joints and nerves by way of repeated use of certain machinery or muscular movements. Most commonly, RSIs affect the upper body, forearms, wrists and hands. In severe cases, the symptoms can lead to people being in great pain and unable to work, often requiring surgery.

Symptoms can range from mild to extremely severe, but in most cases develop gradually over a period of time as a result of repetitive use of machinery or working position. They include:

  • Pain and cramping in the forearm or wrist
  • Tenderness in the area affected by the RSI
  • Numbness and tingling in the tendons
  • Intense throbbing pain
  • Weakness (loss of dexterity and grip strength)

The most common types of RSI that lead to claims for compensation include:

What causes an RSI?

A repetitive strain injury can be caused by the repeated and regular use of certain machinery, or because of a working position. Nature did not prepare the human body for the work practices, tools and muscle use that modern life demands of us. As such, we are prone to suffering from an RSI when we do not take the appropriate precautions to minimise the risks of such injuries.

A common job for those who suffer with an RSI is one that involves a lot of typing. However, RSI’s are not limited to office environments, with people working in heavy engineering, manufacturing, construction and highways maintenance also likely to be at risk.

Repetitive strain injuries will be sustained if someone spends too long or too often doing the same thing, whether that be typing at a keyboard or using a pneumatic drill.

Employer responsibilities to prevent RSI

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they take every step possible to minimise the risk of workers suffering from a repetitive strain injury.

In an office, they need to make sure that workstations are properly set up to satisfy occupational health requirements that minimise the stress placed on the nerves and tendons in the forearms. For example, keyboard workers should be provided with the correct support for their wrists and sit at the correct height and distance from their monitors.

Employers that require staff to use heavy vibratory equipment such as drills, pneumatic equipment and whacking plates, must ensure that staff are given adequate personal protective equipment, training and guidance with the use of such machines. They also need to factor in regular breaks and job rotations to reduce the risk of RSI symptoms affecting workers.

Who can claim RSI compensation?

Any person who has been diagnosed with an RSI as a result of their working life has a right to seek compensation for their injuries. This will include a settlement for the pain and discomfort of the injury and also for any loss of income or expenses as a result of the RSI.

A claim will succeed if it can be proven that an employer has been negligent and failed to provide adequate protection and minimisation of the risks faced by workers.

Who pays for it?

If you succeed with your claim, it will be your employer’s insurance provider who eventually makes any agreed settlement payments to you. Remember, you will not pay a penny if your claim fails. If you win, you contribute up to 25% of your settlement value towards the costs of the claim. This deduction is a requirement of the LASPO Act 2012 and can be taken from the claim value total. There can be no deduction applied to any element of a settlement award that is made for future loss of income or future medical costs.

What if an RSI worsens a pre-existing health condition?

As with any claim, if you have a pre-existing health condition that has been worsened because of a repetitive strain injury, you can still proceed with a claim for compensation. In such cases, medical experts will be able to identify what the pre-existing condition was and what the extent of the worsening of any symptoms can be attributed to the RSI situation.

In such matters, when it comes to agreeing the level of damages that should be paid, the value of the claim will rest on the agreed additional pain and discomfort caused to the pre-existing condition by the RSI.

What to do if you think you have an RSI

Your first port of call should be your GP. If you are diagnosed with an RSI, we can then very quickly identify whether or not you have a viable claim for compensation against your employer.

Claiming compensation can never fully repair the damage done by an injury, but receiving a settlement value that properly accounts for the level of pain and discomfort (alongside a special damages claim for loss of income) can greatly help with the pressures of day-to-day life. At Direct2Compensation, our solicitors will work extremely hard to ensure that your claim is settled as quickly as possible and for the fullest amount available.

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Questions & Answers

  1. Steve

    I have been working for the council for the last 27 years and I have been using machinery. I have been flagging and digging etc, but now I have arthritis in my left wrist and was told it was work related but did not claim because 3 years had passed. However, now my right wrist has the same problems. Can I put a claim for this?

    • Ian Morris

      If your right wrist injury/symptoms have only developed recently (within the last 3 years) you could certainly make a claim for compensation. Whether or not the claim would succeed will depend on what defence the employer can present. The employer has a responsibility to ensure that all staff are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment, training on safe use of machinery and sufficient rest periods and job rotations. If your employer has failed in these areas, you could succeed with a claim.

  2. D

    I previously was employed to work in a pair by my employer. However in June I was put on as a lone worker. My work includes brushing and mopping blocks of flats and when I worked in a pair, we alternated the work but now working alone the constant repetitiveness of the work has caused me to suffer tennis elbow in both arms, for which I am having physiotherapy. Would I be entitled to make a claim? I have recently just left the company.

    • Ian Morris

      There is certainly sufficient in your description to warrant presenting further details of your enquiry to our specialist Solicitor partners for a more detailed consideration. Of course, we need to know a little more about what was put on record with your former employers regarding your injuries and some other issues such as training and risk assessments before we can offer a qualified view on this matter for you.

  3. faysal

    I am working for a hotel for over 20 years, my injury occurred on 2011 – carpal tunnel injury. But at that time went i had the operation at the hospital i have been told by the NHS surgeons that was only an insect bite, and then i came back to work using 70% of my strength on my hand. In 2017 the same symptoms came back with a very swollen wrist and severe pain, i went to A&E then i was told that my injury was tenosynovitis. i’m dealing with rheumatologists. i was off sick for long time and i came back working as part time because of my injury and i can feel that my work are trying to terminate my contract. My question is would i be able to claim repetitive strain injury now because i got to know about the case only after 2017, not before?

    • Ian Morris

      Our concern in this case is that you could be held outside of the maximum claim limitation period of 3-years from the date of your injury as you presented to a GP in 2011.

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