As the medical world becomes more aware of issues associated with repetitive working practices, compensation claims for the likes of bursitis and cellulitis are becoming more commonplace. These conditions emerge when constant pressure is placed on various joints which can lead to extreme discomfort and in some circumstances reduced mobility. Bursitis is often referred to by an array of alternative names including:
- Beat knee
- Housemaid’s knee
- Clergyman’s knee
- Beat elbow
- Miners elbow
- Tennis elbow
- Policeman’s heel
- Bricklayer shoulder
While some of these alternative names do seem fairly jovial, there is nothing jovial about the underlying condition itself. If you believe you are suffering from bursitis as a consequence of repetitive working practices you may well have a claim for compensation.
What Is Bursitis?
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa fluid filled sac which is found in various areas of our body, commonly in our joints. It ensures that joints are cushioned and lubricated to avoid bone on bone contact thereby protecting joints and maintaining full mobility. Where a particular joint experiences excessive regular pressure this can lead to inflammation of the bursa sac which is known as known as bursitis. There is also a related condition known as cellulitis which occurs when bacteria is able to penetrate the bursa sac following some kind of trauma or infection in that area.
Inflammation of the bursa sac around an individual joint can have a varied impact upon the life of the individual. In relatively minor cases there will be some pain around the joint with no real impact on an individual’s mobility. In severe cases of bursitis the joint can actually seize up making simple actions such as crawling or simply kneeling down virtually impossible. In more severe cases of bursitis it can actually stop an individual from carrying out their normal working duties.
Common Symptoms Of Bursitis
While the most common symptoms of bursitis revolve around issues of immobility and swelling around specific joints, the list of symptoms which can point to bursitis including:
- Increased joint pain when moving.
Increased joint pain when pressure is placed on the area.
- Tenderness without even moving.
- Varying degrees of loss of movement.
- Swelling around the impacted joint.
It is fair to say that some of these bursitis symptoms can also be connected with other issues such as arthritis so if you believe you are suffering from bursitis, or cellulitis, it is vital that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Occupations Susceptible To Bursitis
There are a number of occupations susceptible to bursitis, and the onset of cellulitis, which are all directly linked to injured joints. While the vast majority of cases tend to revolve around working tasks which require kneeling, bursitis can affect various joints around the body. Occupations more susceptible to bursitis include:
- Carpet fitters
- Utility workers
There are a number of joints in the body which are more susceptible to bursitis which include:
In essence, as bursa sacs are part of each and every joint of the body there is the potential for all joints to be impacted by bursitis and cellulitis.
In years gone by it was not always easy to diagnose bursitis and link this to various repetitive working practices. Thankfully, we have seen significant progress in the world of medicine and bursitis is now easily diagnosed by doctors via a simple physical examination. Aside from a simple examination of the troubled joints it is also possible to drain fluid out of the affected bursa sac for further analysis. This analysis will pinpoint the presence of various crystals and bacteria which are regularly seen in the cellulitis condition – allowing doctors to make an informed diagnosis about the severity of the condition.
If for example an individual carries out an array of repetitive actions in the workplace on a particular joint, which then becomes inflamed and infected, it is not difficult to make the connection. Medical examinations will form the backbone of any bursitis compensation claim allowing the claimant to directly link their condition with working practices, via an unbiased third-party.
Is Your Employer Accountable For Your Bursitis?
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 all employers have a duty of care to protect their employees from conditions such as bursitis by ensuring safe working practices and a safe working environment. This includes regular reviews of all working actions to reduce instances of bursitis and other connected medical conditions. There will be situations where repetitive actions are unavoidable, placing potential strain on joints, but in these situations a suitable working timetable must be put in place. Regular breaks from repetitive actions, safety equipment and appropriate clothing are a vital element of long-term protection from damage to joints.
If you believe that your employer has breached their legally binding duty of care towards you then you may well have a valid claim for compensation if you develop the likes of bursitis or cellulitis. In some circumstances, where repetitive working practices are unavoidable, if the employer is able to show they fulfilled their duty of care to the best of their ability they may well avoid a potential bursitis compensation claim. However, where working practices do not offer appropriate levels of protection to employees, or protective clothing/equipment is not made available, this could form the basis of a strong bursitis compensation claim.
Pursuing A Claim For Bursitis Compensation
As with all bursitis injury claims, there is a three-year window of opportunity from when bursitis is either diagnosed or directly linked to inappropriate working practices. We have seen cases were swollen joints and problems with mobility have been linked with working practices from many years ago. The starting point for the three-year window of opportunity ensures that those receiving a diagnosis further down the line still have the option of pursuing bursitis compensation.
In order to pursue a bursitis compensation claim, negligence needs to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. Where medical conditions such as bursitis and cellulitis are concerned, the first port of call should be your doctor who will undertake a physical examination and question you about your employment, working practices and your history of painful joints. The idea that bursitis and cellulitis are in some way an acceptable consequence of a specific employment role is simply wrong. So, if you’re able to prove that your employer in some way breached their duty of care to their employees then this is an acceptable basis to pursue your bursitis claim.
Gathering Evidence In Bursitis Injury Claims
Where issues such as bursitis and cellulitis are involved it is fair to say that medical evidence will prove to be a central part of any case. However, it is also imperative that photographic evidence, witness statements, copies of company accident books as well as a timeline of a developing case of bursitis/cellulitis are also included in your report. Even though there is a three-year window of opportunity, time can blur the details of historic working practices, dates and times when joint pains began to emerge, therefore it is advisable to pursue a claim as soon as possible.
Once you have collated as much evidence as possible to support your bursitis injury claim, you should approach a personal injury solicitor to review your case. Where required, a personal injury solicitor will arrange a free medical assessment by experts in various fields such as joint damage which should add further support to your case. If they believe you have a good case for bursitis compensation you will likely be offered a No Win No Fee arrangement and your case will be placed before the courts – with a copy of all evidence made available to the defendant.
Out-Of-Court Bursitis Settlements
As the medical profession is now able to directly link various working practices to medical conditions such as bursitis and cellulitis, an out-of-court settlement will likely be offered where negligence has been proven. This ensures that not only does the defendant limit their financial liabilities going forward but the claimant will also receive speedy settlement once an agreement has been reached.
There are sometimes claims for bursitis compensation where negligence is disputed or perhaps more than one party may have played a negligent role in the onset of bursitis and cellulitis. In these situations the case will likely go before the courts where the judge will make an informed decision after taking into account evidence from the claimant and defendant.
What Compensation Can Be Claimed For Bursitis
Many people may not be aware but there are two specific types of compensation available when pursuing a bursitis injury claim through the courts. The first one is general damages which includes compensation for issues such as:
- Mental trauma from the bursitis injury
- Pain and suffering
- Injuries of a life changing nature
The degree of general damages will vary according to the severity of the bursitis injury and the impact on a person’s life. The Judicial College issues regular guidance in relation to historic compensation payments for specific types and severity of injury. This guidance has no legal standing but it is recognised by the courts and insurance companies as a basis from which to calculate any bursitis compensation awards. There is a degree of discretion/variation available to the courts and insurance companies to reflect the specific nature of individual bursitis claims.
Special damages are very different to general damages in that they are simply a repayment of expenses (and future expenses) incurred directly as a result of the bursitis medical condition. This takes in issues such as:
- Loss of earnings because of bursitis
- Future loss of earnings
- Adaptions to the home
- Additional transport expenses
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
As a consequence, there is no variation allowed when it comes to special damages in bursitis injury claims although when forecasting future funding requirements this would require guidance from appropriately experienced medical professionals.
If you have bursitis and believe the condition was caused by an employers negligence please call today and a solicitor can advise on what level of bursitis compensation you could claim for.