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.
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 on a daily basis. 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.
What if the injury was diagnosed years after the event?
Typically, the dates of the injury and accident are the same. However, some injuries manifest themselves months or even years after the accident or exposure.
In this case, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery (the date of diagnosis) of the injury rather than the date of the accident.
What if the employer has gone bust?
Even if an employer or their insurer has gone out of business, a former worker may still be able to make a work-related accident claim.
Employers are legally required to carry Employer's Liability Insurance. This insurance ensures that protection is in place for employees affected by work-related accidents or industrial disease. The majority of successful claims are not paid out by the employer but by the employer's insurance company.
In extreme cases, where an employer and their insurer have both ceased trading, and no other responsible party can be traced, compensation may still be available through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Can I claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit?
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) is a non-contributory, no-fault weekly benefit paid to workers and former workers who become disabled because of an accident at work or due to certain industrial diseases.
Anyone who has sustained a disability as a result of injuries or diseases arising from work may be eligible to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
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 a claim be made 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 in the event that 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 your employer liable?
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 were created with the intention of protecting 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 absolutely 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, providing adequate manpower and providing proper training.
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 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 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
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
How is compensation calculated if I have multiple manual handling injury 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.
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.
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.
Find out what your manual handling injury claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated, particularly if you have multiple injuries.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Should I set up a personal injury trust?
If you are receiving means-tested benefits and are awarded compensation following a manual handling injury injury, your benefits could be affected. In order to ring fence your compensation and protecting your benefits, you may be able to set up a "Personal Injury Trust" or "PI Trust". Read more: Should I set up a personal injury trust?
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?
The general rule is no, you cannot start a claim more than three years after a manual handling injury.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a manual handling injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
Will I get financial advice?
Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your manual handling injury claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.
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.
Please note, under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
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:Call me back
if you can claim
to start a claim
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.
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.
How long will my claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.
For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.
Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.
Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:
Personal injury claim type
Estimated claim duration*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s 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.
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.
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.
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