If you’ve suffered a repetitive strain injury (RSI) at work, you could be entitled to compensation if your employer’s negligence caused your injury. Whatever your role, your employer has a duty of care to try and make your workplace as safe as possible. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent repetitive strain injuries. If your employer has failed in their legal duty, this article on repetitive strain injury compensation claims will explain your options. We’ll look at what forms of negligence might allow you to claim and what any compensation payment could cover.
One of our specially trained advisors can help you at the start of the RSI claims process by reviewing your case during a no-obligation consultation and providing free legal advice. Where your claim appears to be viable, they’ll connect you with one of our personal injury solicitors to discuss the claim further. If they agree to represent you, they’ll manage the claim on a No Win, No Fee basis meaning you don’t need to pay any legal fees upfront.
To learn more about RSI compensation claims, please read on. Alternatively, to discuss your claim with an expert straight away, please call us on 0800 652 1345 today.
What are repetitive strain injuries?
Repetitive strain injuries occur when overuse and continuous movements lead to nerve, muscle and tendon pain. RSI is often referred to as work-related upper limb disorder or non-specific upper limb pain.
RSI usually affects the neck, shoulders, wrists, hands, fingers, forearms and elbows.
Some of the most common job roles at risk of repetitive strain injuries include those that involve:
- Assembly line work.
- Computer work.
- Working with heavy machinery.
- Typing and writing.
- Painting and decorating.
- Delivering parcels.
Essentially, any role where the same body parts are used over and over again for prolonged periods could potentially lead to repetitive strain injuries if precautions aren’t taken.
Common RSI symptoms
As with any other injury, you should get a repetitive strain injury diagnosed by a doctor so that appropriate treatment can be arranged. Some of the most common symptoms of RSI include:
- Throbbing, aching or burning pain.
- Muscle cramps.
- Weakness and stiffness.
- Swelling and tenderness.
- Numbness, tingling or pins and needles.
The symptoms of repetitive strain injuries can occur gradually over some time.
Common causes of RSI claims
Some of the main causes of repetitive strain injuries include:
- Repetitive movements for prolonged periods.
- Being asked to carry out high-intensity, strenuous or repetitive tasks without proper rest breaks.
- Working with an awkward posture for long periods.
- Working with vibrating tools (saws, drills, jackhammers etc) in cold or wet conditions.
- Overuse of specific muscles over prolonged periods.
- Using a laptop or computer that has not been set up specifically for you.
- Repeatedly having to carry heavy loads.
Working conditions affect people differently so even if one person can adapt to a certain working environment without contracting an RSI injury, another member of staff might struggle. It is therefore up to the employer to carry out regular risk assessments to check on staff welfare and make changes where necessary. If your employer has neglected to do so, you may be entitled to RSI compensation.
Can I claim compensation for RSI?
If you decide to speak to us about a repetitive strain injury compensation claim, your solicitor will need to check whether you’ve got a decent chance of being compensated. To do this, they’ll check whether:
- Your employer breached their duty of care towards your well-being as set out by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (or other laws); and
- You suffered a repetitive strain injury as a direct result of your employer’s negligence.
If the solicitor agrees to take on your RSI claim, they’ll need to supply proof to show what went wrong, why your employer was to blame and how your repetitive strain injury has caused you to suffer. A little later on in this article, we’ll look at what proof could help them to do so.
Will I be disciplined for claiming repetitive strain injury compensation?
Many claimants are concerned about the potential repercussions of claiming compensation from their employer but we say you needn’t be concerned. Firstly, employers have insurance policies in place to cover them for any such RSI claim and secondly, it is illegal for any type of disciplinary action to be taken against you because you’ve started legal action against your employer.
If you were to be demoted, sacked, disciplined, prevented from training opportunities or singled out based on an honest claim, you could seek further damages for unfair/constructive dismissal in addition to your personal injury claim.
To check whether you could claim compensation for RSI, please call our team today.
Common types of repetitive strain injury claims
If you are struggling with any of the RSI symptoms set out earlier, it’s important to visit your GP to receive a proper diagnosis and medical advice on how to treat your injuries. However, your doctor may refer to an RSI injury by another name. Some of the most common claims for repetitive strain injuries include:
- Bursitis claims.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome claims.
- Tennis elbow claims.
- Vibration White Finger (VWF claims).
RSI complaints are usually classified as:
- Type 1 – musculoskeletal injuries linked to inflammation and swelling linked to specific muscles or tendons.
- Type 2 – this is often referred to as non-specific pain syndrome as it refers to general symptoms that are not linked to a specific muscle or joint.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any type of repetitive strain injury and it can be linked back to your working environment, please get in touch and let us review your options for free.
What to do if you’re concerned about repetitive strain injuries
If you’re worried that you are likely to struggle physically because of your role at work, the first thing to do is to contact your supervisor or manager. Ideally, this should be in writing so there is an audit trail.
You should set out your concerns in the email and suggest any changes you think might help. In some cases, your employer might agree to the changes or ask a professional occupational health specialist to carry out a risk assessment. If that happens, they might suggest other actions that could reduce your risk of injury.
If your employer refuses or fails to act upon your suggestions or those of the specialist, you may have grounds to claim compensation for RSI if it develops in the future.
How much compensation for a repetitive strain injury can I claim?
If you ask a personal injury lawyer to make a repetitive strain injury compensation claim, they’ll look at how the injury has caused you to suffer and any associated financial losses.
As a result, if you make a successful claim, you could receive damages to cover:
- The physical pain caused by your RSI.
- Any stress, anxiety or depression related to your injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of your normal activities or hobbies.
- Care costs if your injuries meant somebody else needed to support you.
- Lost earnings (even if you received Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) while off work).
- Medical expenses such as physiotherapy or prescription costs.
- Fuel, parking or other transport costs linked to your treatment (for example).
- Future loss of earnings if your RSI will reduce your ability to work in the long term.
Your solicitor will always try to secure as much compensation for RSI as possible to cover the full impact of your injuries. As part of the RSI claims process, they’ll need to prove how you’ve suffered. As such, you’ll need an independent medical assessment.
Your appointment will usually be with a local specialist who’ll examine your repetitive strain injury and talk with you about how they have affected you. They’ll then produce a report (for all parties involved in the claim) that will list your injuries and explain your prognosis.
RSI compensation amounts
Although no two RSI claims are the same, it is worth reviewing the general damages guidelines issued by the Judicial College. While these are not legally binding levels of compensation they are routinely referred to by the courts and insurance companies when looking to address compensation in relation to work-related upper limb disorders such as RSI. The guidelines state that:
- Short-term repetitive strain injuries where symptoms disappear within a few months of treatment can receive compensation of up to £3,530.
- The compensation amount for a repetitive strain injury that resolves in up to 3 years is on average £10,750.
- Where the RSI pain is continuous, claims can rise up to £16,340.
- Some RSI injuries will require surgery and impact the claimant’s ability to work, attracting compensation payments of up to £23,130.
Providing proof for an RSI claim
Your employer will more than likely pass any RSI claim straight to their insurance company. Usually, they will refuse to pay any compensation at the start of the claim and your solicitor will need to present a strong case to prove how you were injured, why the defendant was to blame and how your injuries have affected you.
The types of proof your solicitor may use to do this include:
- Documentary proof. This could include any emails you’ve sent or received relating to concerns about working practices. It could also include any occupational health reports about your working environment.
- Medical proof. Records from your GP relating to your diagnosis and any recommended treatment could be obtained to help prove how you’ve suffered.
- Photographic proof. It may be helpful to take pictures of your workplace to show the conditions that led to your repetitive strain injury. This could include photos of specific pieces of equipment or locations.
- Witness statements. Your solicitor could ask your colleagues to confirm your working conditions in a witness statement. As such, it’s a good idea to provide their contact details to your solicitor at the start of the claims process.
- Personal statement. Your solicitor will help you to prepare a statement to explain how your RSI has affected you. So it’s a good idea to keep a record of any expenses you’ve incurred as well as the dates that you couldn’t work or attend events because of your injuries.
If you have any proof to support your RSI already, please let us know about it when you call for your free initial consultation.
Time limits for claiming RSI compensation
In most personal injury claims, a 3-year time limit applies that usually begins on the date the claimant was injured. However, with RSI claims, because your injuries are likely to have developed over time, the limitation period will not typically begin until the date your injuries were diagnosed by a doctor.
In our experience, it’s best to seek legal advice about your claim as soon as possible after your diagnosis as it will usually be easier to secure supporting proof for your claim. Additionally, in some cases, an early start may allow your solicitor to secure interim payments to cover any immediate financial costs (medical expenses, loss of earnings etc) before your claim is settled.
RSI claims can be processed in as little as 6 to 9 months if liability is accepted quite quickly and you’ve recovered from your injuries. If your injuries require extra investigation or negotiation is required regarding liability, claims can sometimes take longer than a year.
No Win, No Fee claims
You shouldn’t be too concerned about the cost of using a solicitor for an RSI claim as ours offer a No Win, No Fee service for any case they take on. That means that if the claim fails, you don’t need to pay any legal fees at all.
If your RSI claim proceeds, your solicitor will:
- Manage all communication with your employer or their representatives.
- Collect proof to support your claim.
- Arrange an independent medical assessment.
- Try to counter any arguments raised by your employer about your repetitive strain injury or liability for it.
- Aim to secure the highest possible level of compensation to cover all of your suffering.
You won’t need to pay any fees for your solicitor’s work upfront. The only time you’ll pay them is if you’re compensated. If that happens, a success fee would simply be deducted from your compensation.
Start a repetitive strain injury compensation claim today
By calling our advisors on 0800 652 1345 you’ll be able to ask any questions about making an RSI claim you might have and receive free expert advice.
If it seems you’re entitled to compensation and one of our personal injury lawyers agrees to represent you (if you wish them to), they’ll act on a No Win, No Fee basis. Most people find that reassuring because they know they’ll only pay legal fees if they are compensated.
To see if we could help you to make a repetitive strain injury compensation claim, please call today or connect to our free live chat service.