A Guide to Claiming Manual Handling Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a manual handling accident we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a manual handling accident and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Manual handling refers to the lifting, lowering, raising, pushing and carrying of items.

Almost all workers carry out these tasks as part of their job, although only some workers will be required to perform manual handling daily. Most workers lift and carry items without incident. Others are not so lucky and will suffer muscle or joint injuries to the arms, legs or back. In severe cases, manual handling accidents may cause internal injuries and even death.

Back injury compensation claims frequently relate to manual handling.

According to the Labour Force Survey, musculoskeletal injuries, including those caused by manual handling, account for more than 40% of all work-related illnesses. It is thought that many manual handling accidents are not reported to the enforcing health and safety authorities, so these figures may represent only a fraction of the actual number of people injured each year.

Do I have a manual handling injury claim?

It should be possible to make a manual handling injury claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

How we have helped others

Every year Quittance's network of solicitors help employees seek financial compensation and rehabilitation support when injured in the workplace through no fault of their own.

Our network of expert personal injury solicitors have advised clients who have suffered a range of manual handling injuries, including:

  • back injuries
  • muscular injuries to upper/lower limbs
  • breaks and fractures
  • worsening of existing medical conditions, aggravated by a manual handling accident
  • severe internal injury.

Our clients include workers employed at building sites, factories, warehouses, farms, hospitals and offices.

Who can make a claim?

If an employee is injured in the last three years as a result of manual handling, he or she may be eligible to make a compensation claim.

To win a claim, the claimant's solicitor will need to establish 'causation', meaning that their client's injuries result from the manual handling accident.

The solicitor will also need to establish that the defendant (the employer) was legally responsible for the manual handling accident.

Who can I claim against?

Manual handling claims may be brought against the claimant's employer or former employer.

Employers are required by law to carry valid Employer's Liability insurance to cover employees if they are involved in a workplace accident. Typically, the insurance company will pay the compensation award.

In most cases, a claim may still be brought against the insurance company even if the employer or former employer has ceased trading.

Is my employer liable?

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 were created to protect workers from injury caused by lifting and other manual handling activities. They impose a duty of care on employers to prevent harm, suffering and injury to employees while manually handling goods and equipment.

Specifically, an employer must:

  • fully assess the work task
  • eliminate any manual handling that is not necessary
  • carry out a risk assessment on any hazardous manual handling task that cannot be avoided
  • reduce the risk of injury as much as possible, for example, by providing suitable lifting equipment such as a sack trolley or hoist, and providing proper training.

How much compensation can I claim for a manual handling injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your manual handling injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your manual handling injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a manual handling injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious back injury can be £30,000

For a less serious arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.

However, if you have a serious back injury and a less serious arm injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

Read more about multiple injury claims

What is the average injury compensation for a manual handling injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a manual handling injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your manual handling injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Manual handling injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a manual handling injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your manual handling injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a manual handling injury claim take?

The length of time needed to settle a manual handling accident claim can vary considerably.

If liability is accepted by your employer, a claim might be concluded in a couple of months. If the employer denies liability, the process might take considerably longer. On average a work accident claim takes between 6 and 9 months. For more information, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a manual handling injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your manual handling injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making a manual handling injury claim. If you don't win your claim, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a manual handling injury claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my manual handling injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my manual handling injury claim?

If your manual handling injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your manual handling injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Manual handling injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a manual handling injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the manual handling injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your manual handling injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a manual handling injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim manual handling injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a manual handling injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert