Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a work related upper limb disorder, we can help.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist industrial disease solicitor.
Your solicitor will collect evidence to prove that your work caused your injuries or illness. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses. By law, your employer or former employer will have insurance to cover the cost of illness claims, and your compensation will be paid out of this policy. It should be possible to claim even if the company has shut down.
We can help you make an industrial disease claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
According to a recent report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the number of cases of upper limb disorders (ULD) between 2020 and 2021 was 212,000. These cases included a range of work-related musculoskeletal complaints in the neck, shoulder, hand, wrist, elbow and fingers.
Brought on by continually repetitive or strenuous activities, if a person is affected by a work-related upper limb disorder, an employer could be held liable if they failed to effectively manage and control the risks associated with the condition.
Do I have an injury claim?
It should be possible to make an injury claim if:
- you were diagnosed in the last 3 years and;
- someone else, such as your employer, was to blame.
Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to injury claims expert on 0800 376 1001.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
What if I don't know who was to blame?
You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.
Can I still make a work-related upper limb disorder claim after three years?
In general, a work-related upper limb disorder claim can only be made outside of the three-year limit if you were diagnosed within the last three years with a health condition that was caused by historic exposure, or you were fundamentally unable to make a claim within the three-year window, due to incapacity.
Which medical conditions are considered to be work-related upper limb disorders?
Upper limb disorders affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or other soft tissues in the upper limbs. They include repetitive strain injury (RSI), cumulative trauma disorder and occupational overuse syndrome.
Caused or made worse by work, some of the most common work related upper limb disorders seen in compensation claims include:
- Trigger Finger Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
- Diffuse repetitive strain injury
- Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)
- Vibration white finger (VWF)
- Peritendinitis crepitans
Diagnosing the condition
Common symptoms which form the basis of a diagnosis and a work-related illness claim are: tenderness; swelling; aches and pains; stiffness; weakness, numbness; tingling and cramp.
An upper limb disorder will be diagnosed as a work-related upper limb disorder if it can be shown that it was caused by a work related activity or process. Doctors have plenty of experience with ULDs and, as such, are often able to identify the cause by elimination and through asking questions about a person's work activities.
Common occupations associated with the condition include:
- Construction worker (notably one who uses hand or power tools, particularly ones that vibrate)
- Key board operator
- Assembly line worker
- Kitchen staff (who prepare food)
If a work-related disease is diagnosed, treatment will be recommended. The person affected should escalate this to their employer so they can make changes to improve the working processes or conditions.
Is my employer liable?
Yes - if it can be proved that the employer failed to adequately protect the individual from the condition which they have acquired. This could be RSI sustained by a data entry operator or vibrating arm syndrome suffered by a stump grinder worker. Employers are required by law to protect their workers from avoidable harm. Both the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, stipulate what an employer must do to manage and control the risks associated with work related upper limb disorders.
This includes carrying out a full risk assessment of the work environment, identifying dangers as well as those likely to be affected. The HSE recommend that the employer consider:
- Whether an action will be repeated
- If the working position is comfortable
- Whether force or manual handling is required
- If the task will continue for an extended period
- The working environment
- How the work is controlled
Other regulations exist relevant for specific tasks, such as the Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992. Employers should also comply with the requirements of these.
When they do not follow the correct procedures, this is when they would be considered negligent and therefore liable.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
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 an 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
What is the average injury compensation for an 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 an injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for an existing work-related upper limb disorder that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Calculate my injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
How long does a work-related claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation for a work-related upper limb disorder can vary considerably.
For example, if your employer accepts liability, a claim could be settled in a couple of months. If liability is denied, the process might take significantly longer. Normally an industrial deafness claim takes between 6 and 9 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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 have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
How does no win, no fee work?
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make an injury claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
No win, no fee promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. 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 injury claim?
If your 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.
Is there a catch?
The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.
Can I get Legal Aid?
Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.
How we can help you
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning industrial disease 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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
to start a claim
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 feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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 do I have to make an injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.