Osteoarthritis Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by osteoarthritis we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered osteoarthritis and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that occurs when the cartilage around the joints breaks down and wears away. Bones under the cartilage then rub together which, over time, causes pain, inflammation, and loss of mobility, particularly in the knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and thumbs.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. Many individuals who develop arthritis as a result of injury or illness don't realise what triggered the condition.
Osteoarthritis can be triggered by:
- Joint trauma - e.g. a sudden impact typical in a road traffic accident.
- Performing the same activity repeatedly - e.g. typing or operating machinery. Related conditions include repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bursitis.
If you have developed osteoarthritis after an accident, or as a result of workplace activity, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
You should be eligible to make an osteoarthritis injury claim if your injury (or the date of knowledge.) happened:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was at fault, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Time limits on arthritis claims
Strict statutory time limits exist for most personal injury claims, meaning that if the time limit has elapsed, a claim cannot be made through the courts.
This time limit is usually three years, either from the date the injury occurred or the date of knowledge.
In the case of osteoarthritis, the three-year limit is likely to start from the date you learned of your diagnosis and the possible cause of the injury. The incident or activity that caused your condition may have occurred many years earlier.
Your solicitor will be able to confirm whether you are still able to claim.
Work tasks that involve a lot of repetitive movement can lead to arthritis. These tasks include:
- Using a vibrating tool such as a drill
- Frequently kneeling as part of the job
- Working in space-limited conditions that require the worker to adopt stressful postures
- Repetitive actions carried out continuously, over a long period, such as data entry or working on a supermarket checkout
- Actions that strain a joint to its limits, such as carrying heavy objects and manual handling.
Left untreated, osteoarthritis can be a serious condition that affects the quality of life. In severe cases, worn cartilage can force the bones out of their normal position, leading to deformity and loss of movement in the joint.
Is my employer liable?
Employers have a legal duty of care to minimise the risk of employees suffering an injury or illness as a result of their working conditions. This is particularly the case in jobs that are known to carry specific risks.
- Make sure that the work environment complies with relevant health and safety standards.
- Carry out regular risk assessments.
- Provide personal protection equipment (PPE), such as ergonomic workstations, wrist guards, or knee pads, where necessary.
- Provide training on safe working practices.
If you were injured as a result of your employer's negligence, a claim may be possible. Your solicitor will gather evidence to show that your employer did not take reasonable steps to keep you safe from harm. Your solicitor will also arrange a medical assessment to establish a link between your osteoarthritis and your employer's negligence.
Negligence is almost always established if an employer has breached a specific health and safety regulation.
Osteoarthritis claims following an accident
Traumatic impact, such as that experienced in a car crash, may cause the joints, ligaments, and tendons to shift slightly out of alignment. This may not cause any immediate pain or symptoms.
Yet even slight damage to the body's musculoskeletal system may cause the bones to grind against one another over time. You may experience pain and stiffness for many years before you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
Personal injury claims are valued on the basis of medical evidence that describes the nature, extent, and long-term effect of the claimant's injuries.
However, many GPs are not trained to inspect the body for the type of musculoskeletal injuries that may lead to osteoarthritis. This can lead some claimants to under-settle (settling a claim for significantly less than it is worth).
Getting the right medical advice from the start is key to ensuring that you receive the correct level of damages. A solicitor specialising in osteoarthritis claims should be up to date with the condition and any new research.
The amount of money you could claim for your osteoarthritis 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 osteoarthritis 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 an osteoarthritis? (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 osteoarthritis 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 osteoarthritis will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your osteoarthritis 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.
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
How does no win, no fee work?
No win, no fee takes all of the risk out of making an osteoarthritis claim. If you do not win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.
Our no win, no fee promise
If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your osteoarthritis injury. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my osteoarthritis 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%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my osteoarthritis claim?
If your osteoarthritis 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.
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. osteoarthritis claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.
How can Quittance help?
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 injury 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
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 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 do I have to make an osteoarthritis claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the osteoarthritis to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your osteoarthritis claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an osteoarthritis 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.
If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.
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 osteoarthritis compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an osteoarthritis claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
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.
Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.