£121k awarded for work related upper limb disorder

£121,803 compensation was awarded by Guildford County Court to a 48 year old woman who suffered a work related upper limb disorder as a result of her employment.

Injury details:

The claimant, a 48 year old secretary and audio typist was employed by the defendant and subsequent to the injury it was estimated that she spent around half of her time carrying out audio typing duties.  The remainder of her time was spent in other duties.

One of the claimant's colleagues was absent from the office for an extended period on maternity leave and the defendants did not provide alternative temporary cover for the absent employee.   They expected their existing staff to take up the slack until the end of the maternity leave

As a result the claimant's workload was significantly increased by around 20-30%.

Prior to the injury, the claimant had previously visited her GP three times in a period of 10 years complaining about pain in her wrists and fingers.

After taking on the additional work of her colleague on maternity leave, the claimant began to suffer severe pain in both hands, arms, shoulders and in her neck.  The right side was worse than the left. 

Her GP referred her to a rheumatologist who diagnosed recurrent de Quervain tenosynovitis and physiotherapy was provided.

The claimant was examined by an occupational health practitioner who confirmed that the condition was work related and made a recommendation to her employer that they should reduce the amount of time the claimant spent on audiotyping.

The employer followed this recommendation but this did not improve the claimant's condition.

By the end of the year, the pain was so great that the claimant had to give up work and found basic tasks very difficult.

Allegation:

It was alleged that the defendant was negligent insofar as they failed to maintain provide the claimant with safe working practices and adequate rest periods.

The claimant alleged that she had suffered permanent injuries as a direct result of the defendant's negligence.

The claimant further alleged that she would never be able to return to working as a secretary.

Settlement and conclusion

The matter progressed to a Court hearing in Guildford County Court.

The Recorder presiding over the trial awarded the claimant £11,500 for pain suffering and loss of amenity. 

The remainder of the award was made for loss of future earnings and future medical expenses.