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Vibration White Finger (VWF) Compensation Claims

If you have been diagnosed with VWF as a result of your employer’s negligence, you could be entitled to vibration white finger compensation for your suffering. This article on vibration white finger claims will look at the measures employers should consider to prevent injury and the scenarios that could allow you to claim compensation.

Our specialist solicitors can help if you have any questions about claiming vibration white finger compensation. As part of a no-obligation consultation, they’ll review the merits of your claim with you and offer free legal advice. Our personal injury solicitors offer a No Win, No Fee service so you won’t need to pay any legal fees upfront if your claim is accepted. As a result, you should find the whole process a lot less stressful.

To learn more about claiming compensation for vibration white finger, please read on. Alternatively, you can call our team on 0800 652 1345 when you’re ready to discuss your claim.

What is vibration white finger?

Vibration white finger is a condition that can lead to permanent pain, tingling and numbness in the hands and arms. The name is derived from the fact that the condition can damage the blood vessels, muscles, nerves, ligaments and joints and result in poor blood flow to the fingertips (turning them white).

VWF is caused by prolonged use of vibrating power tools like angle grinders, chainsaws, air chisels, sanders, concrete breakers, high-pressure hoses and pneumatic drills. The condition can be made worse by working in cold or wet environments for extended periods of time.

Vibration white finger can also lead to other conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome where damage to the wrist’s median nerve can cause reduced grip, tingling and numbness.

Symptoms of vibration white finger

The main symptoms associated with vibration white finger include:

  • Paleness or whiteness of the fingertips (this may be more noticeable in cold temperatures).
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in the fingers and hands.
  • Aches and pains in the fingers, hands and arms.
  • Struggling to pick up small items.
  • Struggling with small motor skills.
  • Pain when gripping with the thumb.
  • Reduced strength in the hand or arm.

As these symptoms can be permanent, they are likely to have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. It is this type of suffering that could be compensated for if it can be proven that your employer’s negligence caused your suffering.

Can I claim compensation for vibration white finger?

Although our personal injury lawyers would like to take on all potential VWF compensation claims, realistically they can only help with claims that have a realistic chance of success. As such, to see if you could be entitled to compensation, your solicitor will check whether:

  • The defendant in your VWF claim had a duty of care towards your well-being; and
  • The defendant breached that duty through an act of negligence; and
  • You have been diagnosed with vibration white finger.

As you might imagine, proving negligence caused an injury that can take many months to develop can be quite challenging. We believe you have a better chance of doing so if you have a specialist personal injury solicitor working for you. If one of our solicitors agrees to represent you, they’ll use their legal skills and training to try and ensure you receive a fair compensation settlement that covers all of your suffering.

What is an employer’s duty of care?

Laws such as the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 are used to try and keep staff as safe as possible whilst at work. These laws and others form the employer’s duty of care.

As a result, if your job involves working with vibrating tools, your employer should:

  • Provide you with anti-vibration gloves.
  • Try to ensure the temperature in your working environment reaches reasonable limits.
  • Consider purchasing low-vibration tools.
  • Ensure cutting tools are as sharp as possible to reduce the amount of time the job takes.
  • Allow regular rest breaks in warm conditions.
  • Store vibrating tools in a warm area where possible.
  • Train you on how to use vibrating tools as safely as possible.
  • Ensure all tools are fit for purpose.
  • Ensure all tools are well maintained and fixed promptly if damaged.
  • Consider rotating your role regularly to avoid exposure to vibrating tools over prolonged periods.

Failure to take these steps could be seen as negligent. As such, you could be entitled to claim for any suffering that results.

Industries with a high risk of developing vibration white finger

Some industries have an increased risk of vibration white finger because of the regular use of vibrating tools. Examples include:

  • Car repair and maintenance.
  • Agricultural and forestry.
  • Construction.
  • Metal foundry work.
  • Mining and excavations.
  • Road and rail work.
  • Shipbuilding.
  • Gardening and arboriculture.
  • Oil and petrol extraction.

This list isn’t exhaustive so don’t worry if you believe you’ve developed VWF from another type of work. Our solicitors could still help you to claim so please feel free to call.

Is it OK to sue your employer for vibration white finger?

We realise that you can feel under pressure when claiming compensation for white finger from your current employer. However, legally, that should never happen because of laws in place to protect you. As a result, you could be further compensated for unfair or constructive dismissal if you are disciplined in any way for making a claim. That means that your claim cannot lead to you being fired, demoted, blocked from promotion, picked on or denied training opportunities.

Also, many people worry about the impact of their claim on the employer’s business. However, this is not something to be concerned about as all claims are made against the company’s insurance policy so any compensation is not paid out from the company’s profits.

How much compensation do you get for vibration white finger??

VWF claims should be based on how you’ve suffered already and how you might suffer in the future. Usually, you’ll seek general damages to cover any physical or mental suffering as well as special damages to reimburse any associated financial losses.

As such, if you go on to win a vibration white finger claim, the settlement could cover:

  • Physical discomfort, pain and suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of your normal hobbies (because of your injuries).
  • Anxiety, depression and other forms of psychological injury.
  • Care costs if you now need somebody else to support you.
  • Medical expenses including private treatment.
  • Loss of earnings.
  • Travel expenses such as parking fees or fuel costs.
  • Future loss of earnings where your injuries will reduce your income in the long term.
  • Vehicle modification or home adaptations to help you cope with any ongoing symptoms.

If you work with a solicitor from our panel, they’ll ensure they fully understand how vibration white finger has affected you so that they can attempt to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible.

Vibration white finger claim amounts

The level of damages awarded in VWF compensation claims is largely based on how you’ve suffered. The Judicial College publish guideline figures for white finger in relation to general damages. Currently, they are as follows:

  • For relatively minor instances of vibration white finger, £2,990 – £8,640 compensation.
  • In instances of a more serious case of vibration white finger up to the most serious of cases, £8,640 – £38,430 compensation.

Any potential awards on the basis of special damages would simply be a reimbursement of connected expenses and payment of estimated related expenses going forward.

Providing proof for a vibration white finger claim

If you make a claim against your employer for vibration white finger, they’ll usually ask their insurers to deal with it. In most cases, they won’t pay any compensation to you unless it is clear why your employer’s negligence has caused you to suffer. As such, your solicitor will need to try and convince the insurer by supplying as much proof as possible. This could include:

  • Medical records. First and foremost, your solicitor will need to show that you have had vibration white finger diagnosed. Therefore, they’ll write to your GP and ask for a copy of the relevant medical records.
  • Photographic evidence. You could supply pictures of any visible symptoms of VWF as part of your claim. Additionally, if you have any pictures of you at work, these could help to prove the tools you used and your working conditions.
  • Witness statements. Firstly, your colleagues may be asked to provide a statement to confirm your working conditions. Additionally, your solicitor may ask your family to confirm how your life has been changed by the onset of vibration white finger.
  • Correspondence. If you emailed or texted your employer because you were concerned about working with vibrating tools, any response could be used to support your claim.
  • Financial records. Wage slips, p60s, bank statements or receipts could all be used to prove how your injuries have affected you financially.

As part of your free consultation, we’ll review any proof you have already and give free advice on what else could be used to support your claim.

How does my solicitor judge the severity of my condition?

In all personal injury claims, you will need to demonstrate how your injuries have affected you. So, in addition to the proof listed above, your solicitor will try to book you a local appointment with an independent medical expert. During your medical assessment, the expert will examine your condition, read your medical records and try to determine how you’ve suffered from VWF by discussing your injuries with you.

Once finished, a report will be filed with your solicitor to show how you’ve been affected by your injuries. This report can be used to help determine the amount of compensation you’ll claim.

Time limits for vibration white finger compensation claims

If you suffer an accident at work, you’ll usually have 3 years from the date of the accident to start a claim. However, as vibration white finger takes longer to develop, the 3-limitation period will usually start from the date the condition was diagnosed by your doctor.

If you can, it’s usually best to begin the claims process as soon as you receive your diagnosis. That should mean your claim won’t be statute-barred and your solicitor will have ample time to collect proof and medical reports to support your claim.

Claims can take as little as 9 months to be settled if your employer admits liability early on in the process. If negotiation is required or more time is needed to try and understand the implications of your injuries, your claim could take more than a year.

No Win, No Fee claims

No matter how long your claim takes to be processed, if one of our No Win, No Fee personal injury lawyers agrees to represent you, there won’t be any legal fees payable until compensation is awarded.

Once you’ve signed your contract, your solicitor can start working on your claim. Their main priorities will be to:

  • Investigate the cause of your injuries with you.
  • Collect supporting proof and medical reports.
  • Contact your employer and let them know you will be claiming.
  • Handle all queries, objections and requests raised by your employer’s insurers so you don’t need to answer any difficult questions.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and discuss any settlement offers with you to ensure they are fair.

In most cases, your solicitor won’t accept an early or low settlement offer as they don’t usually cover the full impact of your suffering.

If your claim is won, a set percentage of up to 25% of any settlement will be deducted to pay for your solicitor’s efforts. The exact amount you’ll pay will be listed in your contract.

If the claim doesn’t work out, you won’t need to pay any legal fees whatsoever.

Start a vibration white finger compensation claim today

The easiest way to find out if you’re entitled to compensation for VWF is to call us on 0800 652 1345. Your claim will be reviewed on a no-obligation basis and your advisor will supply free legal advice about what you could do next.

Any claim taken on by one of our solicitors will be managed on a No Win, No Fee basis and you’ll only pay legal fees if compensation is awarded.

For any more information on vibration white finger claims, please get in touch via the page here or by connecting with our free live chat service.

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