A Guide to Claiming Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a work related upper limb disorder we can help.

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

Introduction

According to a recent report by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the number of new cases of upper limb disorders (ULD) between 2013 and 2014 was 87,000. 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.

Demolition hammer in use

Do I have a work-related upper limb disorder claim?

It should be possible to make a work-related upper limb disorder claim if:

  • you were diagnosed in the last three 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 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.

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:

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)
  • Carpenter
  • Gardener
  • 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 laible?

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.

How much compensation can I claim for work-related upper limb disorder?

The amount of money you could claim for your work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder? (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

What is the average injury compensation for a work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your work-related upper limb disorder 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.

Work-related upper limb disorder compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

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, however, 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?

Will I still be able to claim for a work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder 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.

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 a work-related upper limb disorder 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 a work-related upper limb disorder claim, even if you don't win your claim.

What do I pay if I win my work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder claim?

If your work-related upper limb disorder claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all.

Read more about No win, no fee

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. work-related upper limb disorder claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. In some cases our solicitors can work on a reduced success fee. Call us for more information.

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 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, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the work-related upper limb disorder to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your work-related upper limb disorder claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a work-related upper limb disorder 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 work-related upper limb disorder compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a work-related upper limb disorder 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