Repetitive Strain Injury Claims
Over recent years, repetitive strain injury claims (or RSI claims) have been very difficult to pursue successfully. There has been a difference of opinion between medical experts about diagnosis and the cause of some of the RSI symptoms which people claim to experience as a result of repetitive work.
It is often hard to prove how the RSI injury occurred. For example, it would be hard to make a compensation claim for repetitive strain injury citing computer use at work, when a very large percentage of the population have computer access at home that could reasonably be to blame for the repetitive strain injury.
However, it is entirely feasible that the working environment could be the cause of a repetitive strain injury (RSI), and it’s important, if it has happened to you, that you talk to a solicitor or injury lawyer about your compensation options, especially if the RSI injury has forced you to take time off work.
Types of Repetitive Strain Injury
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) can occur in a few different forms, the most common injuries are known as tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Vibration White Finger (VWF), although VWF can have different side effects due to the unique working conditions that cause the injury.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a specific type of RSI that’s associated with the compression of the median nerve which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. Common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling or loss of feeling in the fingers, pain in the hand and wrist, and a reduction in grip strength. In some cases, pain can even spread up the arm as far as the shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often linked with repetitive movements that are common in some office jobs, particularly where a lot of time is spent typing. The condition is usually treated using various hand and wrist stretches. In particularly severe cases, surgery is needed to relieve the swelling and pressure on the median nerve.
Office Work and Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI Injury)
Repetitive strain injury is sometimes called Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD); and sufferers claim to have pain, swelling, tingling and stiffness which can appear to be associated with work processes that have caused repetitive strain in the upper limbs. It’s thought that up to two thirds of office workers suffer from RSI, yet many of them don’t even realise that they could make a compensation claim for their injury.
Keyboard operation is a typical example. Every responsible employer should encourage employees to take regular breaks from the keyboard, ensure that the seating and PC monitor is at the right height for comfortable operation, that wrist rests are available if wanted, that warnings are given about potential risks of RSI symptoms occurring, and that employees know to notify employers with the onset of repetitive strain injury symptoms immediately.
If these steps are not taken and an employee develops RSI symptoms from prolonged keyboard use, there may the possibility of making a repetitive strain injury claim for compensation. It is the employer’s responsibility to do all that is reasonably possible to reduce the effects of RSI and prevent compensation claims being made against them.
Recent increases in RSI injury cases have occurred due to the increase in working on the move and laptop, PDA and BlackBerry use. With people now working on the train, on the bus or at home, they may not realise the RSI risks associated with prolonged use of these devices, which are amplified by their smaller and closer-situated buttons.
Effects of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI Injury)
The effects of Repetitive Strain Injury are often more serious in such cases, compared to in a normal office environment, because the user’s arms are often in unusual and uncomfortable positions, or they are using a laptop on their lap. These situations accentuate the effects of the repetitive strain injury, because they are different to what our arms and hands are used to.
Some of the symptoms of RSI can become quite severe, resulting in inability to work and a compensation claim being made. Because of this, repetitive strain injury compensation can be fairly substantial. It is essential to get good legal advice about the prospects of success for a repetitive strain injury claim.
If you think you could be eligible to make a repetitive strain injury claim please complete our online claim form, or call us and speak to a specialist injury solicitor.