HAVS or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe conditions like Vibration White Finger (VWF) and carpal tunnel syndrome that are caused by the use of vibrating tools and equipment at work. Generally, the condition can take many years to develop and early symptoms can go unnoticed. Importantly, if you have suffered any degree of hand-arm vibration syndrome due to negligence by your employer then you may be eligible to make a HAVS compensation claim.
Our team are ready to help if you would like to discuss a HAVS claim. We provide an initial consultation for free where you’ll receive legal advice and you can ask any questions that you might have. If your claim appears to be viable, we’ll ask one of our personal injury solicitors to talk with you. If they agree to take your HAVS claim on, they’ll work on a No Win No Fee basis.
Please carry on reading to find out more about how to claim compensation for HAVS. Alternatively, please call our team today on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to discuss your options straight away.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A HAVS Compensation Claim?
- Injuries Caused By Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
- Common Symptoms Of HAVS
- How Much Compensation For HAVS Could I Claim?
- Providing Evidence Of Negligence To Support A HAVS Claim
- Time Limits For Claiming HAVS Compensation
- Starting A HAVS Compensation Claim
As an employee, you are owed a duty of care by your employer. Generally, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 means your employer must take reasonable steps to try and protect you whilst working. More specific rules are set out in the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005. They mean that employers must:
- Allow regular and frequent rest breaks when using vibrating tools.
- Supply appropriate safety gear such as anti-vibration gloves.
- Ensure that a reasonable temperature is maintained in the workplace.
- Provide the right tools for the job.
- Provide adequate training on how to use vibrating tools as safely as possible.
- Maintain and repair vibrating tools properly.
Any breach of the duty of care could mean your employer has been negligent. Therefore you may be eligible to make a HAVS compensation claim if:
- Your employer has been negligent; and
- You have been diagnosed with HAVS by a doctor.
Importantly, your employer may have also been negligent if they failed to carry out regular risk assessments or deal with any concerns you raise about your welfare at work.
If you believe that you are eligible to claim HAVS compensation, contact our claims advisors for a free review of your options.
HAVS can have a significant detrimental effect on your ability to work and enjoy your usual activities. The three categories of injuries caused by HAVS are:
Vascular injuries – This is where constant vibration damages blood vessels and restricts blood flow around the body. This is particularly apparent in Vibration White Finger claims where damage to blood vessels in the hand stops blood from reaching the fingertips.
Musculoskeletal Injuries – When working with vibrating tools, there is an increased risk of contracting tendonitis and arthritis. Muscle fibre can also be damaged following prolonged use of vibrating tools. These injuries can lead to reduced grip and mobility.
Neurological Injuries – HAVS injuries are often dismissed and put down to tiredness or general ageing. As a result, neurological injuries often become irreversible. If numbness or tingling in the fingers in the hands (or other symptoms) can be linked to the use of vibrating tools at work, you may be eligible to make a HAVS compensation claim.
If you or a loved one are suffering because of the symptoms of HAVS, we could help you claim compensation for that suffering. Please call 0800 6524 881 today and we’ll review your case for free.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the symptoms of HAVS can include any combination of the following:
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers.
- Weakness in the hands.
- Inability to feel things properly.
- Whiteness in the fingers (blanching). This can be worse when working in cold or wet conditions.
These symptoms may take months or even years to develop and will be affected by how long you have worked with vibrating tools. The effects of HAVS include:
- Pain and sleep disturbance.
- Inability to work in damp or cold conditions.
- Inability to carry out everyday tasks (tying laces, doing up buttons etc).
- Inability to carry out fine work.
- Reduced strength and grip which could make working safely difficult.
The process of claiming compensation from an employer for HAVS means you’ll need to explain how you’ve suffered because of HAVS (general damages) and any costs you’ve sustained as a result (special damages). General and special damages are explained in more detail here.
Each HAVS claim is based on the ways in which you’ve suffered but, in principle, a settlement amount could cover:
- The physical pain and suffering caused by HAVS.
- Stress, depression and similar conditions caused by your injuries.
- Care costs if you need somebody else to support you with your normal activities.
- The impact HAVS has had on your hobbies and social life (loss of amenity).
- Medical treatment costs.
- Travel expenses.
- Loss of earnings. This could include future loss of earnings if HAVS has reduced your long-term earning capacity.
- Home adaptations if they’ll make it easier to deal with the symptoms of HAVS.
As you can see, there’s a fair bit to consider before you file a HAVS claim. We believe you stand a better chance of being compensated fairly if you have legal representation. One of our solicitors could help you to start your claim if you give us a call today.
When looking at levels of compensation for hand-arm vibration syndrome there are a number of bands which include:
- Minor injuries which have a minimal impact on everyday life and affect just a few fingers could attract HAVS compensation from £2,990 up to £8,640.
- Moderate damage will take in those individuals who have benefited in later life from a change in working practices but still suffer from discomfort and obvious signs of hand-arm vibration syndrome in cold weather. In these circumstances, HAVS compensation of between £8,640 and £16,760 may be available.
- Serious injuries which have an impact on claimants working and private life, with regular bouts of discomfort, might see compensation for HAVS from around £16,760 up to £31,640.
- The most serious injuries have a daily impact on an individual’s ability to work and carry out everyday tasks. The scale of compensation is between £31,640 and £38,430 with the higher compensation rate often associated with younger sufferers of HAVS.
Each HAVS claim is unique as they are based on the level of suffering endured by the claimant. Therefore, during your claim, a medical assessment will need to be carried out to assess the extent of your HAVS injuries. After an independent medical expert has completed their examination, they’ll file a report to explain your prognosis. Once your solicitor has received the report, they’ll be able to explain what payout you might be entitled to.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms of HAVS shown above and have used vibrating machinery/tools on a regular basis then you may well have a claim for hand-arm vibration syndrome compensation. However, your employer will typically forward any personal injury claim to their insurer rather than deal with it themselves. Therefore, you will need to convince the insurer about how much you’ve suffered and why your employer is responsible for your suffering. The evidence that could help you to win your claim includes:
- Medical records. HAVS must have been diagnosed by a medical professional if you’re to make a HAVS compensation claim. Your solicitor can request a copy of their notes as part of the claims process.
- Correspondence. If you contacted your employer to raise concerns about your working conditions, you should send your solicitor copies of any letters or emails with any corresponding responses from your employer.
- Witness information. Your colleagues may be able to provide a statement to your solicitor to confirm your working conditions. Therefore, you should ask for their contact details to forward them on.
- Your own statement. You will need to tell your solicitor about the types of work you did and the equipment you used in your role. Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep a diary of how you’ve been affected so you can explain when HAVS prevented you from working or attending family events.
Please let us know if you need any help collecting evidence to support a HAVS compensation claim.
As with other types of industrial injury claims HAVS claims have a 3-year time limit. However, this will not usually begin until your injuries were diagnosed by a doctor so you could still have time to claim compensation.
We suggest that you should get in touch with us as soon as you can following your GP appointment. We can start the ball rolling quickly and give your solicitor plenty of time to gather evidence and medical reports to support your claim.
Our team of personal injury solicitors specialises in workplace injury claims. They can even help if you no longer work for the employer or if the company is no longer running. If you’d like us to investigate whether you could claim HAVS compensation from a previous employer, please get in touch and provide us with as many details as possible.
Our team of trained advisors is ready to help if you’ve decided to seek compensation for HAVS. Simply get in touch by calling us on 0800 6524 881 today and we’ll review your claim right away.
If the case is strong enough and one of our No Win No Fee solicitors agree to work for you, there won’t be any legal fees to pay unless compensation is awarded. Also, your solicitor will handle all communication on your behalf so there won’t be any complex legal or medical questions for you to answer!
If you’ve got any further questions about making a HAVS claim, please use the live chat button to get in touch.