You may be eligible to file an osteoarthritis compensation claim if you’ve worked or are working in an industry that has caused osteoarthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating progressive condition that affects the joints. Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage that protects the joints by absorbing shocks breaks down causing the bones under the cartilage to rub away. Over a period of time, the constant rubbing causes pain, inflammation, and loss of mobility. The knee is the most commonly affected joint but not the only one. Osteoarthritis can also affect the hips, elbows, wrists and thumbs.
If you’ve worked or are working in an occupation that caused osteoarthritis, you may be entitled file an osteoarthritis compensation claim. Although there is no cure for this condition as of now, a personal injury lawyer will fight for your legal right for compensation that could help cover the cost of effective treatments that can alleviate symptoms and give you a chance to live a normal life.
Causes & Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis
Performing manual labour that involves forceful repetitive movements such as lifting or bending continuously without taking any precautionary measures and without any breaks is the most common cause of osteoarthritis.
Trauma to the joints, such as the sudden impact in a road accident can also trigger the onset of this condition.
Sports injuries are another cause. Torn cartilage, dislocated joints and ligament strains or tears can progress to osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis symptoms start off mild and unnoticeable but almost always progress and worsen over the years, making it incredibly painful and difficult to perform even simply everyday activities.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Inflammation of the joints
- Dull or sharp pain when performing basic movements
- Difficulty moving the affected joints
- Cartilage damage
- Clicking of the joints when moving
- Bone spurs or bony growths that form near and around the affected joint
- Tenderness when pressure is applied to the affected area
- Stiffness that is more marked in the morning or after a period of inactivity
- A grating sensation when using the joint
- Decreased muscle mass
The pain patterns as well as the intensity of pain vary from one person to another. One person may experience pain continuously. In another person the pain may come and go through the day.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Osteoarthritis?
If the industry you work in involves repeated forceful movements or actions by the joints or repeated impact on the joints, you may be at higher risk for osteoarthritis. This condition is most common to these occupations:
- Storage work that involves heavy lifting
- Agricultural workers
- Construction site workers
- Factor workers
- Carpet fitters
- Heavy vehicle drivers
Your Employer Has A Responsibility To Protect You From The Risk Of Osteoarthritis
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers across the UK have a legal duty of care to protect their workers from dangers in the workplace. This includes protecting workers from the risks of osteoarthritis. If your role puts you at high risk, your employer should:
- Inform you about the potential risks and exposure limits to minimise those risks
- Provide you with adequate training related to proper work techniques and preventive measures to reduce associated risks
- Provide you with appropriate protective personal equipment such as wrist supports, knee pads, support belt for lifting, gloves or anti-fatigue matting
- Provide you with mechanical aids to assist you with high-risk actions
- Make sure that adequate rest breaks are fit into your work day
- Rotate the type of work you to do avoid overexposure
- Make sure that you are aware of what to do in case of an accident or emergency
By failing to provide you adequate information, training or personal protective equipment, your employer negligence may put you at risk. If you develop osteoarthritis as a result of this negligence, you should consider consulting a personal injury solicitor to explore your rights to file a osteoarthritis compensation claim for your injuries.
Making An Osteoarthritis Compensation Claim
Personal injury solicitors understand the dilemma that employees can find themselves in when they’ve suffered an injury for no fault of theirs. To make it easier for injured workers to get osteoarthritis compensation, most solicitors offer to fund the claim using a No Win No Fee agreement.
A No Win No Fee agreement is essentially a contract between you and the law firm. How No Win No Fee works is fairly simple. The solicitor first assesses the merits of your osteoarthritis compensation claim. If you have a strong claim, a typical agreement would see all legal costs involved with filing a claim for compensation covered while it is in progress. You do not have to pay anything until the claim is settled. Even then, your liability to pay is dependent on the outcome of the claim.
If you do not win the claim, you do not pay anything. If you win the claim, only then do you pay the amount agreed upon (calculated as a percentage) in the No Win No Fee contract.
With a No Win No Fee agreement, you can rest assured your legal rights are being protected by an expert in the field.
How Osteoarthritis Compensation Is Calculated
Several factors are taken into consideration when calculating compensation for a successful osteoarthritis compensation claim. These are grouped under two categories – general damages and special damages.
General damages are awarded for injuries such as pain, suffering and loss of amenities caused as a result of your injuries. Guidelines from the Judicial College currently advise the following compensation for various osteoarthritis injuries, these include:
- Back injury with substantial risk of osteoarthritis – £26,050 to £36,390.
- Fractured index finger where osteoarthritis is likely to develop – £8,550 to £11,480.
- Above the knee leg amputation leading to osteoarthritis – £98,380 to £129,010
- Below the knee leg amputation leading to osteoarthritis – £91,950 to £124,800
- Serious knee injury causing osteoarthritis – £65,440 to £90,290
- Serious ankle injury with (or risk of) osteoarthritis – £29,380 to £46,980
- Moderate ankle injury with risk of osteoarthritis – £12,900 to £24,950
- Modest ankle injury with risk of osteoarthritis – Up to £12,900
- Foot amputation with risk of developing long-term osteoarthritis – £12,900 to £23,460
Special damages are awarded for actual financial losses. Special damages take into account costs such as the cost of ongoing and projected medical treatment, travel expenses incurred while receiving medical treatment, and lost income from being unable to work temporarily or permanently, and more. You may also be reimbursed for the cost of any mobility device or assistive aides such as wheelchairs, mobility scooters, or custom-fitted footwear.
If you think you have an osteoarthritis compensation claim, you can speak to one of our solicitors right away by calling 0800 6524 881.
Osteoarthritis compensation claims should be filed within 3 years of having the injury diagnosed as you may not be able to claim after the 3-year limit has lapsed.