Most repetitive strain injuries occur due to repetitive movements that cause injuries to muscles, nerves and tendons. The symptoms of RSI can be mild and resolve within weeks, or the damage can be irreversible and significantly impact your life.
Jobs that involve the extensive use of a computer carry significantly high risks for developing RSI. Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment and reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries. They should carry out regular risk assessments and take all reasonable measures to protect employees at risk for RSI.
If you suffered a repetitive strain injury that you think was caused by your employer’s negligence, you might be entitled to make a repetitive strain injury claim. If you have enough evidence to support your claim, you could receive compensation for the pain, suffering and financial losses you incurred due to your condition.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
Do I have a valid repetitive strain injury claim?
If you want to make a repetitive strain injury claim, you will need to be able to prove that:
- you were diagnosed with RSI in the last three years
- your employer breached their duty of care towards your health and safety at work
- their negligence caused your repetitive strain injury
To prove that your employer is liable for your injury, you will need evidence in the form of medical records, photographs of the working environment, witness statements or accident reports.
Even if you think there is no evidence to support an RSI claim, you should contact a professional solicitor. If they believe you have a valid claim, you will get a free medical examination with a licensed physician to assess the extent of your injury and your recovery prospects.
Furthermore, they will assist you in collecting any relevant proof to help you receive the RSI compensation you deserve. To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What is a repetitive strain injury?
A repetitive strain injury is a term used to describe damage to the musculoskeletal or nervous system caused by vibrations, repetitive movement, overuse, compression, or spending long periods in a fixed position.
According to Labour Force Survey statistics in the UK, there are over 200,000 cases of work-related RSI every year. In addition to experiencing significant pain and discomfort, you might not be able to carry out your usual daily or work activities.
Repetitive strain injuries may refer to several different conditions associated with repetitive tasks, vibrations, mechanical compression or poor posture, such as:
- carpal tunnel syndrome, affecting the hand and wrist
- tendinosis, a type of tendon disorder commonly occurring around the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and wrist
- rotator cuff syndrome, which affects the shoulders
- cubital tunnel syndrome, affecting the hand and forearm
- vibration white finger affects the blood vessels, nerves and muscles in the hand, wrist and arm
- bursitis, an inflammation of the knees and elbows
- thoracic outlet syndrome, caused by compression of the nerves and blood vessels between the lower neck and armpit
- focal dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions and abnormal postures
- De Quervain syndrome affects the tendons controlling the thumbs
- Raynaud’s phenomenon causes a decreased blood flow in the fingers when exposed to cold
There are two main types of RSI:
- Type 1: involves pain, swelling and inflammation associated with a recognised medical condition such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Type 2: typically involves nerve damage leading to numbness, pain and discomfort, but no specific diagnosis can be made. It is commonly referred to as non-specific pain syndrome or diffuse RSI.
The constant pain and discomfort related to repetitive strain injury can significantly affect your life. It doesn’t only interfere with daily activities such as cooking and doing household chores, but it might also make it impossible for you to continue working.
Furthermore, it may lead to feelings of depression and frustration, affecting your quality of life. If left untreated, the condition might deteriorate to the point where you need release surgery.
An RSI compensation claim can help you get the best professional treatment available outside the National Health Service. If another party holds liability for your injury, you will also receive compensation for your pain and suffering and any financial losses you incurred.
What are the main symptoms of RSI?
Repetitive strain injury often affects the wrists and hands, forearms and elbows or neck and shoulders. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and often develop gradually.
At first, symptoms might occur only while carrying out a specific task, but without treatment, they may become constant and include:
- pain or tenderness
- swelling and throbbing
- stiffness or joint restriction
- numbness and tingling
- sensitivity to cold or heat
- referred pain, namely pain located away from the site of injury
Symptoms may begin with intermittent discomfort and become increasingly worse and more constant as the injury progresses. Some RSI conditions might be constitutional and not necessarily caused by your work practices.
You can help reduce your risk for developing RSI symptoms by:
- maintaining a good posture while working
- taking small, frequent breaks from long, repetitive tasks
- flexing your wrists and wiggling your fingers
- marching in place
- use an ergonomic chair and avoid sitting cross-legged
- adjust your workstation to avoid straining your neck, shoulders or arms
A solicitor can let you know if you may have a valid RSI claim based on the work you need to carry out, over how many hours, how many breaks you get, and other relevant evidence related to your job requirements.
How is RSI diagnosed and treated?
You should seek medical advice if you feel even a mild discomfort while carrying out specific tasks at work or home. They will ask you questions about your activities to try and determine any repetitive movements you might do or other risk factors for developing RSI.
Your physician will also give you a physical examination to perform motion tests and check for inflammation, reflexes or tenderness in the affected area. Objective clinical measures for assessing RSI include:
- effort-based tests to determine your pinch and grip strength
- diagnostic tests such as Finkelstein’s test for De Quervain’s tendinitis or Tinel’s percussion for carpal tunnel syndrome
- nerve conduction velocity tests to see if there is any nerve compression
- imaging techniques such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess tissue damage
- electromyography (EMG) to check for nerve damage
- X-rays to test for osteoarthritis
- blood tests to rule out inflammatory joint conditions
If no condition can be associated with your symptoms, you might be diagnosed with non-specific upper limb pain syndrome.
The treatment for RSI depends on your symptoms and whether you were diagnosed with a specific condition. Early diagnosis is critical for limiting the damage, and the initial treatment might include:
- RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce swelling and pain
- oral and topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- relaxation therapy and stress reduction
- physical therapy and strengthening exercises
- changing the workplace environment to minimise repetitive strain
- modifications of posture
- elastic supports or a splint to protect and rest the muscles and tendons
The outlook for RSI depends on the severity of your symptoms and your general health condition. There are three stages of RSI:
- Early-stage RSI (mild): pain, aches and tiredness while working, but symptoms improve with rest. It might last for weeks or months, but this stage is reversible with prompt intervention.
- Intermediate stage RSI (moderate): pain and tiredness occur while working, persist away from work, and might interfere with sleeping and daily activities, reducing the capacity for repetitive work. It may cause visible physical signs like swelling.
- Late-stage RSI (severe): symptoms persist even with prolonged rest. Sleep might be adversely affected, and it might stop you from performing even light tasks at home or work. The damage is sometimes irreversible, and you may never recover the full use of the affected body part.
Early intervention is essential to stop RSI from progressing to an irreversible stage. You should seek medical advice at the first signs of pain, numbness or tingling. A physiotherapist can provide exercises to help alleviate the early symptoms of RSI, which might lead to full recovery.
What are the most common causes of RSI?
Repetitive strain injuries can develop when you do repetitive movements that cause your muscles, tendons or nerves to become damaged over time. The most significant causes and risk factors for RSI include:
- maintaining the same posture for long periods
- lifting heavy objects constantly
- a poor working environment
- doing high-intensity activities for extended periods without proper rest
- poor posture or working in an awkward position
- carrying out repetitive activities without suitable rest breaks
- being in poor physical condition
- smoking and alcohol consumption
- age and gender: the risk of RSI increases with age and is more common in women due to lower muscle mass and endocrine influences
- lack of proper training regarding safe work practices
- constantly twisting or turning items using the hands
- working in cold temperatures
Many jobs carry the risk for RSI, particularly those involving the extended use of a computer such as office workers. Other workers who are more at risk for developing RSI include:
- assembly line workers
- construction workers
- dancers and musicians
- truck drivers
- warehouse packers
- machinists and hand-tool operators
- textile workers
- nurses and paramedics
If you believe you developed RSI due to poor work practices, you might be entitled to receive RSI compensation. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you are eligible to make an RSI claim and answer any questions you may have.
Is my employer liable for my repetitive strain injury?
In addition to causing physical pain and psychological distress to workers, RSI carries considerable costs for employers. According to the Health and Safety Executive, 2.6 million working days were lost between 2017 and 2018 because of RSI.
Employers have the legal duty to provide a safe working environment for employees. Under the Health and Safety Act, they must carry out regular risk assessments of any tasks or equipment that might cause an injury. To avoid RSI at work, employers should:
- manage the risks associated with repetitive tasks
- provide information and instructions regarding RSI
- consult employees on potential risks associated with their tasks
- consider changing how the work is organised
- provide protective equipment when it is required
- increase the number of breaks from work associated with a repetitive movement
- monitor the workers’ health when there’s a high risk for RSI
- provide training on safe working practices
- provide help and support to workers that suffered a repetitive strain injury
Employers who do not meet the required health and safety standards may be held liable if an employee develops RSI or fail to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.
If you suffered an RSI at the workplace, you might want to make a repetitive strain injury claim, but you may be concerned about the financial impact this will have on your employer.
The Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers to insure against their liability in personal injury claims. Therefore, your compensation claim would be against their insurance company. If you win the case, your employer will not have to pay a single penny.
Even so, you might worry about being disciplined or dismissed if you make a repetitive strain injury claim against your employer. If you have a minor RSI, you might prefer to keep silent than create problems with your employer.
Nonetheless, you can receive fair compensation even for a minor injury, and if you fail to address the safety issues that caused it, your condition might aggravate.
It is important to know that it is illegal for your employer to treat you differently because of your claim. If they try to dismiss you for claiming RSI compensation, you might have a case for unfair dismissal.
Or if they try to discipline you by cutting your salary, increasing your work hours or trying to get you to resign, you might have a case for constructive dismissal.
A free consultation with a legal adviser will let you know if you are eligible to make a repetitive strain injury claim against your employer. By calling 0800 678 1410, you will receive the advice and support you need to get the compensation you deserve.
What evidence do I need to make a successful RSI claim?
To have a successful RSI claim, you will need relevant evidence to prove that your employer was negligent in their legal duty towards you and their negligence caused you repetitive strain injury.
Whenever possible, you should try to:
- gather photos and videos of your work area or working equipment
- provide details of the tasks you were carrying out at your job
- get contact details of any witnesses who might back up your compensation claim
- provide emails you have written to your employer if you asked them to make adjustments regarding your condition
- write down everything regarding your injury, such as the date you started to have symptoms and what activities you were engaged in at the time
- make an account of any expenses you incurred because of your RSI
- provide a copy of the accident report book if you reported your injury to your employer
- get a copy of the medical report stating your diagnosis, details of the treatments you received and the recovery prognosis
If your solicitor can show that your employer was aware of your condition but continued to breach the health and safety rules, you will probably have a successful claim.
If you want to claim RSI compensation, but you think there is no proof to support your case, a solicitor can help you gather the necessary evidence to make a claim. You can get a free consultation with a legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410. Alternatively, enter your details into our online form, and you will receive a call back.
How much RSI compensation can I claim?
Repetitive strain injury can significantly alter your life. Even a mild injury may cause months of pain and tiredness, interfering with your daily activities and work tasks. Sometimes the damage is irreversible, and you might permanently lose the full use of the affected body part.
Your injury might cause you significant physical and psychological distress and also require expensive treatments and physical therapy. Furthermore, you might not be able to return to work for a long time. If somebody else was responsible for your condition, you might want to make a claim. The RSI compensation could cover:
- the physical pain and suffering you endured
- loss of amenity, if due to the RSI you can no longer practice a hobby or enjoy a leisure activity
- the emotional and psychological distress caused by your condition
- current and future lost earnings
- costs of hiring help if you are no longer able to do household chores
- costs of medical treatments and rehabilitation
- the impact your injury had on your career prospects
To calculate a suitable compensation amount, your solicitor will consider all the ways in which the RSI affected your life and the financial losses you incurred as a result.
The guidelines published by the Judicial College are used as a starting point when calculating compensation awards. According to their recommendations, you might get:
- £2,070 – £3,310 for a minor injury with complete recovery within a few months
- £15,300 to £31,220 for a moderate arm injury with long-lasting effects
- £7,410 to £12,900 for a moderate neck injury
- £11,980 to £18,020 for a severe shoulder injury with persistent pain and reduced movement
- Up to £11,820 for a mild elbow injury
- £11,820 to £22,990 for wrist injuries
- £27,220 to £58,100 for hand injuries, with the higher amount awarded for permanent disability
These sums cover the compensation awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The financial losses you incurred are compensated by summing up all your expenses and lost wages.
An experienced solicitor can give you an accurate estimate of the compensation award you might receive based on your unique situation. You can speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
Can I claim for RSI with a no win no fee agreement?
If you suffered a repetitive strain injury due to another party’s negligence and you can gather enough proof to build a strong RSI claim, a solicitor will most likely offer you a no win no fee agreement.
Also known as a conditional fee agreement, a no win no fee claim allows you to ask for compensation without taking any financial risks or paying any upfront fees.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will take out an insurance policy on your behalf. The After the Event (ATE) insurance provides coverage for legal costs if your claim is unsuccessful.
By reaching a conditional fee agreement, you will not have to worry about investing a lot of time and money into making an RSI claim that has little chance of winning compensation. If your solicitor offers you a no win no fee agreement, it means they believe you have a strong claim and high chances of success.
The benefits of making a no win no fee claim include:
- you get free, impartial advice from an experienced solicitor
- you get help with gathering evidence and preparing all the necessary documents
- you will not have to pay any upfront or hidden charges
- you will not have to pay the defendant’s legal fees even if you lose the claim
At the start of your claim, you will agree upon a success fee. The success fee can be up to 25% of your compensation settlement, depending on the amount of work required to prepare your case. You will only have to pay this if your claim is successful; otherwise, you will have no financial obligations.
If you feel you may have a valid repetitive strain injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser and find out if you can reach a conditional fee agreement.