A Guide to Claiming Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Compensation

If you have been affected by a repetitive strain injury we can help.

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

What is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)?

Typing keyboard

Repetitive strain injury or RSI is the term used to describe pain in the tendons, muscles or nerves brought on by repetitive movement. It occurs when someone performs the same activity for a continuous period, for example, using a computer or sitting at a supermarket checkout. It most commonly affects the hands, wrists, elbows, fingers and forearms.

RSI is a type of "Work Related Upper Limb Disorder" - an umbrella terms that includes other inflammatory conditions such as:

RSI is classified as

RSA Type 1

RSA Type 1 identifies a type of RSI that is accompanied by a diagnosable medical condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms typically include swelling or inflammation of the tendons in the hands, elbows or wrists.

RSA Type 2

RSA Type 2 is the name given to RSI when no other specific medical condition can be diagnosed. It is characterised by pain, numbness, tingling or cramping in the affected joints, but there are no visible symptoms.

Medical assessment

I you choose to make a compensation claim, your injury lawyer will arrange an independent medical examination to assess the severity of your repetitive strain injury and recommend any further treatment. The medical report will detail the extent of your injury, the likely recovery time and any future impact the injury will have on your life.

The findings of the independent medical report will be used to support the repetitive strain injury compensation claim.

RSI statistics

Around one in fifty employees have reported experiencing Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), a chronic musculoskeletal disorder that causes pain, cramping and numbness in the muscles and tendons of the upper body.

Most sufferers are office workers who spend long periods of time typing on computer keyboards.

However, RSI can affect anyone who performs repetitive movements. It is not confined to office work.

Left unattended, repetitive strain injury can become a serious condition that affects quality of life.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with RSI as a result of unhealthy work practices may be able to bring a claim for compensation against their employer.

Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury?

Almost all cases of RSI care caused by overuse of the affected area. Examples include:

  • A poorly organised workstation that puts pressure on joints
  • A badly designed chair or desk that results in poor posture
  • Repetitive actions carried out continuously over a long period such as data entry or gardening
  • Working for long periods without a break.

For the purposes of bringing a successful claim, the cause of the repetitive strain injury is significant.

It must be shown that the condition was caused by unsafe or unhealthy work practices and that the employer failed to take the proper precautions to keep their employees safe from harm.

Do I have a repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim?

It should be possible to make a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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.

Is my employer liable?

Employers are required by law to keep their employees safe from avoidable harm. As part of this obligation, they must make sure that the work environment conforms with certain health and safety requirements. For example, an employer must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment to ensure that workstations pose a minimal risk of causing RSI
  • Eliminate any risks that can be eliminated, such as altering the height of computer screens, desks and keyboards to prevent unnecessary strain being placed on the body
  • Provide safety equipment where necessary, such as an ergonomic keyboard or seating
  • Train staff on safe working practices.

The employer does not have to eliminate all hazards in the workplace. However, the employer must take reasonable steps to keep the premises safe and protect people from injury.

Your solicitor will gather evidence in order to establish that:

  • the employer failed in their legal duty (negligent)
  • the negligent work practices caused repetitive strain injury.

Negligence is almost always established where the employer has breached a specific health and safety rule.

What if the injury has aggravated an existing condition

It may be possible to claim for existing injuries that have worsened as a result of the repetitive strain placed on the body due to unhealthy working practices.

For example, a painter and decorator with a shoulder injury may make a claim if they are forced to paint ceilings for long periods without a proper extension brush, and their condition is made worse.

Read more about making a claim for an existing condition.

How much compensation can I claim for a repetitive strain injury (RSI)?

The amount of money you could claim for your repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI)? (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

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) compensation amounts

The following repetitive strain injury (RSI) payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Arm injury
Serious injury with long-lasting effects £15,300 to £31,220
Elbow injury
Some long-term problems £12,480 to £25,510
Food poisoning
Significant discomfort £3,150 to £7,600
Shoulder injury
Fracture of clavicle £6,290 to £10,180

What is the average injury compensation for a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a repetitive strain injury claim take?

How long it can take to process a RSI claim can vary significantly.

For example, a straightforward liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a few weeks. However, if liability is denied a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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.

Will I get financial advice?

Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether to accept a financial settlement for your repetitive strain injury (rsi) claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.

No win, no fee - the facts

'No win, no fee' means that if you do not win your repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim, you won't have to pay your solicitor any money. Known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA', no win, no fee is a contract between you and the solicitor.

No win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a repetitive strain injury (RSI) injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim?

If your repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees . Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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 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 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the repetitive strain injury (RSI) to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your repetitive strain injury (RSI) claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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 repetitive strain injury (RSI) compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a repetitive strain injury (RSI) 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