Vibration White Finger (VWF) Compensation Claims
If you have been affected by Vibration White Finger, we can help.
If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove what caused your injuries. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.
We can help you make a personal injury compensation claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
In this article
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'.
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.
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness 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 injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
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 injury? (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
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.
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Minor||Minor symptoms||£2,390 to £6,890|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Moderate||Minor symptoms in cold weather||£6,890 to £13,360|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Serious||Year-round symptoms||£13,360 to £25,220|
|Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)||Severe||Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job||£25,220 to £30,630|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Minor||Minor symptoms||£2,390 to £6,890|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Moderate||Minor symptoms in cold weather||£6,890 to £13,360|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Serious||Year-round symptoms||£13,360 to £25,220|
|Vibration White Finger (VWF)||Severe||Affecting both sides in a younger person causing a change in job||£25,220 to £30,630|
What is the average injury compensation for an injury 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 injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your injury 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.
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 injury compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an 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 injury claim could be worth now:
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, 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?
How else can a solicitor help me?
Your solicitor will handle your injury claim from the initial FREE case evaluation, through to the financial settlement.
Your solicitor will work with other specialists to provide caring and sensitive support and 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 vibration white finger claim. If you require tax planning or trust advice, the solicitor will recommend and work closely with a financial adviser.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.
Less than 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 decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.
Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.
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.
No win, no fee - our guarantee
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making an injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my injury 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 injury claim?
If your injury 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 we can help you
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
- 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday
Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:
- Find out
if you can claim
- No obligation
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 feel I was partly responsible for my accident?
Yes. You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident.
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 injury claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the injury to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for an injury 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 injury compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether an injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
I need the money now - what are my options?
If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.
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.