Comprehensive Guide to Repetitive Strain Injury

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Repetitive strain injury

A repetitive strain injury is one of those subjects which has been around for many years but was often overlooked by employers and employees.

However, if you have suffered repetitive strain injury (RSI) as a consequence of your work, then you may be entitled to compensation. Sufferers will be well aware of the pain this condition can bring and restrictions on everyday activities.

What Is Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive Strain Injury is an injury to muscles caused by putting them under consistent duress. It's usually caused by using computing equipment without the required breaks or necessary supports, or by working in unsuitable sitting positions.

It is fair to say that employers are now more aware of RSI and the impact on a sufferer’s life. Even though the number of RSI compensation claims has flatlined in recent times, it is still one of the more common types of an employment-related compensation claim.

If you have suffered RSI and believe your employer may have been negligent, then you should consider seeking compensation.

We will now cover some of the more frequently asked questions regarding RSI.

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What Is Repetitive Strain Injury?

Commonly referred to as RSI, it tends to be an upper limb disorder that can affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and other soft tissue. This type of injury tends to be focused on hands, fingers, arms, wrists, shoulders and the neck area - although it is not limited to these limbs.

It is fair to say that RSI is one of the most painful and uncomfortable musculoskeletal disorders, which is often difficult to treat.

What Are the Two Types of RSI?

There are two clearly defined types of RSI with very different symptoms and very different types of pain and suffering:-

  • Inflammation of the tendons, hands, elbows or wrists often associated with carpal tunnel syndrome
  • No visible symptoms but extreme pain and suffering, numbness, tingling and cramp which can impact the victim's physical grip

Unfortunately, while there may be ways to mitigate the pain and suffering these two types of RSI bring on, the conditions are not “curable”. In some cases, medical procedures can help, but by the time the symptoms/pain and suffering emerge, the damage has already been done.

What Are the Main Causes of RSI?

As the term suggests, in theory, any repetitive action can bring about RSI. However, some of the main causes include:-

  • Uncomfortable seating/working positions
  • Repetitive actions requiring excessive force
  • Constant use of keyboards
  • Badly organised workplace
  • Repetitive actions without a break

This list is by no means exclusive, but it gives you an idea of the environment in which RSI can occur, very often as a consequence of negligence by an employer.

In What Scenario Might I Be Entitled to Compensation?

While all employers have a standard legal obligation to ensure the well-being of their employees, when it comes to RSI, there are a number of actions that your employer should undertake.

These include:-

  • Regular risk assessments to avoid RSI
  • Supply of safety equipment such as posture friendly seating/ergonomic keyboards
  • Repositioning of equipment to reduce the strain on joints
  • Continuous health and safety training

Risk assessments are now a regular occurrence in the workplace, and when it comes to potential RSI, they can be very helpful. Sometimes we are not fully aware of the damage we are doing to our bodies by placing them in unnatural positions for a prolonged period of time. Risk assessments can highlight potential issues and allow employers to make important changes.

How Do I Start a Compensation Claim?

If you believe that you have developed a repetitive strain injury as a consequence of your work, then you may be able to claim compensation. The first thing to do is gather as much evidence as possible to prove negligence on behalf of your employer - after which you can then pursue compensation.

This evidence might include:-

  • A pattern of similar injuries in the workplace
  • Failure to provide safety equipment
  • Disregard for risk assessment
  • Failure to ensure working breaks
  • Photographic evidence
  • Timeline of events
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Details of pain and suffering

Once you have gathered your evidence, it is time to approach a claims management company to assess your chances of success.

Approaching a Claims Management Company

As RSI is a relatively common injury, although cases have flatlined in recent years, there are many claims management companies out there who will look at your claim. They will review your evidence and give you an independent assessment of your chances of success.

If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, there is every chance they will take on your claim. You would probably be given the option to do this under a “no win no fee” structure which would remove your liability to cover their costs associated with your case. In exchange, they would request a “success fee”.

What Is a “Success Fee”?

A “success fee” would entitle your claims advisor to a percentage of any compensation awarded. This would tend to be in the 25% region, although it can vary depending on different types of claims and the duration of the process.

Who Covers the Claims Management Company Costs?

In the event of a successful prosecution, in the majority of cases, the claims management company will be able to reclaim expenses from the defendant. The “success fee” is a means of rebalancing the risk/reward ratio because, in the event of an unsuccessful prosecution, the claims management company will need to cover their own costs.

What Type of Compensation Can I Claim?

When pursuing the compensation, you will come across two different types, general damages and special damages. General damages relate to compensation for pain and suffering as a consequence of your injuries.

Special damages are best described as recompense for costs incurred as a consequence of your injuries, future expenses and loss of earnings.

What Level of General Damages Can I Expect?

The level of general damages awarded will depend upon the severity of the RSI but can range from £2300 for short-term symptoms up to £10,500 for continuous pain and suffering. Those injuries which require surgery, impacting the claimant’s ability to work, can attract compensation up to £15,000.

Each claim is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, although there are guidelines with regard to general damages.

Summary

It is only fairly recently that repetitive strain injury has been recognised as a medical condition. Interestingly, despite the significant number of RSI compensation claims over the years, it is difficult to pinpoint in detail why it occurs and how it develops.

What we do know is that sufferers experience chronic pain which can take many different forms and impact their daily lives.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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