Vibration White Finger (VWF) Compensation Claims

If you have been affected by Vibration White Finger we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger compensation:

Introduction

Vibration White Finger (VWF) is an industrial injury, caused by prolonged and excessive use of vibrating tools and equipment in the workplace.

A Medical Research Council survey estimated there are 301,000 cases of vibration white finger in the UK. The condition falls under the umbrella term 'Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)', which includes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. VWF is sometimes colloquially referred to as 'wax finger' and 'dead finger'.

Symptoms of Vibration White Finger

Vibration White Finger is the result of an injury to the nerves, muscles, and blood vessels in the arm, hand, wrist, and fingers. Symptoms of VWF vary with some people experiencing almost all of the common symptoms, while others experience only one or two.

Typical symptoms of VWF include:

  • Tingling sensations or numbness in the fingertips. These sensations can extend up the whole length of the fingers. Symptoms can be intermittent or permanent, making tasks like fastening buttons or picking up small objects difficult.
  • Cold fingers and skin discolouration of the fingers. In some cases, fingers can turn from white to blue, or red. These symptoms are caused by a form of Raynaud's Disease, which is often triggered by being out in cold weather or holding cold objects.
  • Aches and pains in the arms, hands, and fingers. These symptoms are believed to be caused by damage to muscles, joints or bones. In some cases, reduced strength is experienced when trying to grip objects.

Compensation awards for VWF take into account the impact specific symptoms have on your life and ability to work.

How is VWF diagnosed?

Symptoms of Vibration White Finger often do not appear immediately after exposure to vibration. Symptoms can take ten years or more to manifest.

When diagnosing VWF, a specialist will consider your occupational history when seeking to establish a link between your work and your symptoms.

To formally diagnose VWF, the doctor will require:

  • Evidence of long-term occupational exposure to vibration
  • Incidents of skin discolouration in the fingers
  • Exclusion of other possible causes
  • Calluses on the hand, diminished sensation in the fingers, and muscle weakness are additional factors that will support a diagnosis

You do not need to have a form diagnosis of VWF before you start a claim. Your solicitor will arrange for an independent medical assessment to help support your case.

Preventing Vibration White Finger in the workplace

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 exist to protect workers from developing VWF. Under the regulations, employers have a duty of care to their employees. Employers are legally required to take steps to minimise the risk of developing VWF, such as:

  • Providing regular breaks away from using vibrating tools and equipment
  • Providing appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), e.g. anti-vibration gloves
  • Keeping the working environment temperature within reasonable limits
  • Providing the correct tools for the job
  • Providing appropriate training on the operation and use of vibrating tools

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures, the introduction of preventative measures is gradually reducing the number of new cases of VWF.

If risk management measures were not observed, such as an employer providing inadequate protective equipment, an injury claim may be possible.

When should I start a VWF claim?

In most cases, a compensation claim must be started within 3 years from the date of the injury or date of knowledge - whichever comes later.

You should therefore commence your claim within 3 years of a confirmed diagnosis. Due to the nature of the condition, most VWF claims are not started until many years after the work that led to the injury.

Read more:

How long do I have to start an injury compensation claim?

I've been injured so why has a solicitor rejected my injury claim?

How much compensation can I claim for Vibration White Finger?

The amount of money you could claim for your Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger? (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

Vibration White Finger compensation amounts

The following Vibration White Finger payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth 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
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)
Minor symptoms £2,390 to £6,890
Minor symptoms in cold weather £6,890 to £13,360
Year-round symptoms £13,360 to £25,220
Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job £25,220 to £30,630
Vibration White Finger (VWF)
Minor symptoms £2,390 to £6,890
Minor symptoms in cold weather £6,890 to £13,360
Year-round symptoms £13,360 to £25,220
Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job £25,220 to £30,630

What is the average injury compensation for a Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your Vibration White Finger 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.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the vibration white finger injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.

Will I have to pay tax on my vibration white finger compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a vibration white finger injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Calculate my Vibration White Finger compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a Vibration White Finger claim take?

The length of time needed to settle a Vibration White Finger claim can vary significantly.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a few weeks. If liability is denied, however, a compensation claim can take significantly longer. Usually, an injury claim will take 4 to 9 months. Read more: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your Vibration White Finger 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?

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a Vibration White Finger injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger claim?

If your Vibration White Finger 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.

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:

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Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the Vibration White Finger to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your Vibration White Finger claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a Vibration White Finger 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 Vibration White Finger compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a Vibration White Finger 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

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor