Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a painful chronic disorder that occurs when the musculoskeletal system and nervous system gets affected due to performing repetitive tasks, sitting or working in an awkward position for long periods of time or experiencing forceful vibrations or exertions. Pain, cramping and numbness in the muscles and tendons of the upper body are some of the more common symptoms of this condition.
If your symptoms are the result of unhealthy work practices, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation from your employer.
Most RSI sufferers are workers who spend long hours performing the same action repetitively, resulting in overuse of the affected area. Office workers who spend their work days typing on the computer are most prone to experiencing the symptoms of repetitive strain injury.
Can You Make A Repetitive Strain Injury Claim?
With most offices becoming completely computerised over the past few years, a large percentage of office workers spend almost their entire work day typing on their computers. It may not be surprising then that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of workers suffering from RSI.
Many workers have not understood their employer’s liability in this regard and do not file any compensation claim, potentially losing out on any financial assistance that they are entitled to.
According to the law, all employers have a responsibility of care towards their workers. This means that employers have to take every possible precaution to keep their workers safe from injury. It may not always be possible to eliminate all hazards in the workplace but reasonable measures must be put in place to keep the premises safe and protect workers from injury.
As part of their responsibility, they must provide safety equipment where necessary, train staff on safe working practices, carry out a risk assessment to make sure that all employees’ workstations pose minimal risk of causing RSI and put measures in place to eliminate all potential risk factors.
If your employer fails in their legal duty and this negligence caused your repetitive strain injury, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries.
Starting A Repetitive Strain Injury Claim
The two most important things you will need to do if you want to file an RSI claim are:
- Prove that the employer failed in their legal duty to keep you safe from harm and was thus negligent.
- Prove that your repetitive strain injury was caused by these negligent work practices.
Both of the above requirements need to be met for your RSI claim to be successful. If you have RSI but cannot prove that it was caused because of your employer’s negligence, then you won’t have a strong case and your chances of being awarded compensation may not be good.
For example, employer negligence can be demonstrated by providing compelling evidence that your RSI symptoms were caused by:
- Working for long periods on your computer without taking a break.
- Providing poorly designed or non-ergonomic chairs and desks that result in poor posture while working.
- Performing tasks such as data entry and other repetitive actions continuously over extended periods of time.
- A poorly organised or cramped workstation that puts undue pressure on the joints.
- Insufficient or no training related to safe working practices.
Repetitive strain injuries are unlike most other injuries that happen instantly and are caused due to a specific accident. Repetitive strain injury symptoms develop slowly and are caused by seemingly non-risky actions. The key factor in identifying this condition is that the symptoms result from performing the same action repeatedly over a long period of time.
To show this you will need to submit photographs along with a detailed description of your workplace and specifically your workstation. It would help tremendously if you could support this with written documentation showing that you had informed your employer about the problems you were experiencing, but isn’t entirely necessary.
Other supporting evidence may include your doctor’s diagnosis and a statement from other employees confirming the unfriendly working conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with RSI due to unhealthy work practices and you have decided to exercise your right to claim RSI compensation, you should ideally consult with a personal injury solicitor to get advice on how to proceed.
Should You Go With A Personal Injury Solicitor?
Even if you have strong evidence supporting your RSI claim, the reality is that it can be very difficult for an individual to win a case against a corporate. Not impossible, but exceedingly difficult. This is because companies have their corporate lawyers who are well versed with the law and will quickly and effectively counter all your claims.
Hiring a personal injury solicitor to represent you gives you several benefits. Our solicitors are equally familiar with the law and know exactly how to put together a strong case in your favour.
Above all, you don’t need to worry about paying any legal fees upfront to avail of this expert legal advice. If you have a strong case, our personal injury solicitor assigned to your RSI claim will represent you on the basis of a No Win No Fee agreement.
Under the terms of this agreement, you are not required to pay any legal fees at any time before or during the proceedings. You are only liable to pay after the case is closed and only if you have been awarded compensation by the court. The amount you will need to pay will be a percentage of the total award that you receive. All of this will be discussed with you prior to us starting your claim so you know exactly what we charge.
What Compensation Will You Receive For A RSI Claim?
If you can prove that employer negligence is responsible for your injuries, the court will typically award compensation for all of the following:
- Pain and suffering.
- All medical expenses including cost of diagnostic tests and medication, doctor’s fees and cost of short and long term therapy.
- Transport expenses to and from the hospital.
- Loss of income if you had to take days off from work.
- Cost of any assistive devices if required.
In calculating the total compensation for repetitive strain injury, your assigned solicitor will also take into consideration the impact it has had on your quality of life as well as on your future career and career prospects.