Osteoarthritis compensation claims
In the following guide we explain everything you need to know about making an osteoarthritis compensation claim.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive joint condition that occurs when the cartilage around the joints breaks down and wears away. Bones under the cartilage then rub together. Over time, the rubbing 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, and as a result many individuals who develop arthritis as a result of injury or illness may not realise what has triggered the condition.
Osteoarthritis can be triggered by:
- Joint trauma, such as the sudden impact received in a road traffic accident.
- Performing the same activity repeatedly at work, such as typing or operating machinery. Related conditions include repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome and bursitis.
Anyone who has developed osteoarthritis after being involved in an accident or as a result of workplace activity may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
If you have suffered osteoarthritis in the last three years and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.
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 you first learned of your injury.
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 work activity that caused the condition may have occurred many years earlier.
Your solicitor will be able to confirm whether you are still able to claim.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Work tasks that involve a lot of repetitive movement can lead to arthritis of the joint. They include:
- Using a vibrating tool such as a drill
- Frequently kneeling as part of the job
- Working in space-limited conditions that requires the worker to adopt stressful postures
- Repetitive actions carried out continuously over a long period such as data entry or supermarket checkout
- Actions which strain a joint to its limits such as carrying heavy objects and other manual handling incidents.
Left unattended, osteoarthritis can become a serious condition that affects quality of life. In severe cases, the wearing of cartilage can force the bones out of their normal position leading to deformity and loss of movement in the joint.
Employers have a legal duty to minimise the risk of their workers suffering injury or illness as a result of their working conditions, particularly in jobs that are known to carry this risk. As part of this obligation, employers must:
- Make sure that the work environment conforms with health and safety standards
- Carry out regular risk assessments
- Provide safety equipment where necessary, such as an ergonomic workstations, wrist guards or knee pads
- Train staff on safe working practices
The injury lawyer will gather evidence to show that the employer did not take reasonable steps to keep their employees safe from harm and the osteoarthritis occurred as a result.
Negligence is almost always established where the employer has breached a specific health and safety regulation.
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. The patient may experience pain and stiffness for many years before a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is made.
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 to some people under-settling their claim, that is, settling their claim for significantly less than it is worth.
Getting the right medical expert from the start is key to ensuring that the claimant receives the correct level of damages. Quittance will ensure that an expert is instructed who has particular expertise in osteoarthritis and is fully up to date with the condition and any new research.
Typically a no win no fee arrangement (technically referred to as a CFA or Conditional Fee Agreement) is entered into between a claimant and a specialist injury solicitor.
The Conditional Fee Agreement is the terms under which the solicitor acts for the client.
The agreement sets out what the lawyer will do as well as how he or she is paid if your case is successful.
If you choose Quittance Personal Injury for your osteoarthritis claim there are no hidden costs , no up-front fees and the peace of mind that you will not be out of pocket.
The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.
Quittance Legal Services' nationwide network of solicitors handle all types of personal injury claims, including fast track, complex and catastrophic injury claims. Our lawyers are selected for their success rate in winning claims and their level of specialist experience.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
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