Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) compensation claims
This guide takes you through what you need to know about making a HAVS injury compensation claim.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that nearly 2 million people in the UK are at risk of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome.
The vast majority of industrial disease claims for Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome are caused by the regular use of hand-operated vibrating power tools in the workplace.
Anyone who has regularly used vibrating hand-operated tools in the course of their work may be able to make a claim. Personal injury solicitors have secured compensation for workers including those who have used:
- Concrete breakers, sanders, grinders, disc cutters
- Hammer drills, chainsaws, hedge trimmers
- Powered mowers
- Needle guns
Other individuals who are not commonly thought of as being a risk of developing the condition may still make a claim, including technology teachers and cleaners. People are particularly at risk if they use equipment such as:
- Hammer action tools - for more than 15 minutes a day
- Floor polishing and scrubbing equipment
- Some types of rotary and other action tools - for more than 1 hour a day
Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is the result of damage to the nerves, blood vessels and joints of the hand, wrist and arm.
Compensation is calculated based on the severity of the condition, the likely development of future symptoms. The impact that the symptoms have had (and are likely to have in future) on your life is also taken into account.
Symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome can include:
- Intense tingling and numbness in the fingers
- Loss of feeling sensation in the fingers
- Loss of strength in the hands
- Tips of fingers turn white, then red, in cold and wet weather and are painful on recovery (this is also known as Vibration White Finger)
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 employers have a responsibility to protect their employees. The Regulations place a duty on employers to minimise the risks associated with hand-operated vibration power tools and machinery.
Under the Regulations, employers should take steps to reduce the risk to employees of developing Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, such as:
- Giving workers regular breaks from using vibrating tools and machinery
- Providing protective anti-vibration gloves
- Maintaining a reasonable workplace temperature
- Providing the right tools for the task
- Providing training on the correct use of vibration tools and machinery
HSE figures show that new cases of work-related Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome have fallen since the Regulations came into effect.
If an employer is proven to have breached the Regulations, they may be held liable in a Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome compensation claim.
The Court will look at the overall impact your Hand-Arm Vibration injury has on your livelihood, and quality of life, to reach a compensation amount. The final settlement may include amounts for:
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of amenity - personal adjustments made as a result of the injury
- Loss of earnings
- Associated expenses - such as hiring home help, or taxi costs to hospital
Your personal injury solicitor will arrange for an independent medical report to support your claim and assess the likely settlement amount.
A No Win, No Fee agreement, referred to as a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement, is the basis of a claim.
Your CFA sets out the terms and conditions between you and the solicitor.
The document sets out the service the solicitor provides and the "success fee". This will be the amount that will be deducted from your damages after the claim is won.
Find peace of mind knowing that there will be absolutely nothing to pay at the outset. You have absolutely no hidden costs when working with a Quittance personal injury lawyer.
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