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. Also known as work-related upper limb disorder, some of the common symptoms include pain, cramping, and numbness in the muscles and tendons of the upper body.
If your symptoms are the result of unhealthy work practices, you may be eligible to file a claim for RSI 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.
In this guide to RSI claims, we’ll look at the process of claiming compensation and also explain how much you could be paid. Additionally, we’ll look at what roles are susceptible to RSI injuries and why a claim might be possible.
We have a team of specialist advisors and personal injury solicitors who could help if you’re considering making a repetitive strain injury claim. If you call us on 0800 6524 881 they’ll provide a no-obligation telephone consultation where your case will be reviewed to determine your chances of a successful outcome. If your case is likely to be successful and you wish to proceed in making a RSI claim, their services will be offered on a No Win No Fee basis.
Are You Eligible To Make 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 of care 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 typically 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 might not 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.
What Evidence Can Help Prove Repetitive Strain Injury
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 and proving this condition is that the symptoms result from performing the same action repeatedly over a long period of time. To prove this in your claim you may need:
- Medical records. If your injury has been diagnosed by your GP, you can ask for a copy of your medical notes.
- Occupational health notes. Where you have emails or letters from an occupational health review that suggested changing your working environment, you could use it as evidence if nothing was changed.
- Emails to your employer. These could be used to prove you have raised concerns with your line manager about your symptoms.
- Photographs of your working environment. These could be used in conjunction with other evidence to demonstrate how your repetitive strain injury was caused.
If you would like us to check if you have the grounds to make a repetitive strain injury claim, please do get in touch today. We review cases for free and will explain your legal options on a no-obligation basis.
How Much Compensation For RSI?
The fact is there isn’t a pre-determined, set amount of compensation you could claim for RSI. However, the Judicial College provide guideline compensation amounts for various injuries including work-related upper limb disorders which we have listed below.
- £20,560 – £21,700 compensation where there is continuing disability and loss of employment.
- £13,970 – £15,330 compensation where there’s continuing symptoms.
- £8,110 – £10,090 compensation where symptoms resolve within 3 years.
- £2,070 – £3,310 compensation where within a matter of weeks to months a complete recovery is made.
There are two main elements or heads of loss that will ultimately determine how much compensation for RSI you could claim. The first is called general damages for which the compensation amounts advised above above relate to. This is the part of your claim that seeks to cover your pain or suffering. It also covers any loss of amenity. This means where you can’t do something you used to enjoy because of RSI. For example, you could claim if you can no longer play a musical instrument because of your injury.
The second element, special damages, is to claim back any costs, losses or expenses incurred due to your injuries. Examples here include lost income, medical costs and travel expenses.
So, if you can prove that employer negligence is responsible for your injuries, the court will typically award RSI compensation for 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.
To help determine where your injury fits into a particular range, you may need a medical assessment during the claims process. This will be conducted by an independent specialist. They’ll examine your repetitive strain injuries, discuss how you’ve been affected by them and read any medical notes. After that, a report will be provided that sets out your prognosis.
Employer Negligence That Could Lead To RSI
Let’s now take a look at the types of negligence by an employer that might result in RSI. If we don’t provide an example that matches your own case, don’t worry, our team could still help you to begin a claim. Some examples include:
- Lack of training. As part of their duty of care, your employer should train you how to work safely. Even if your job involves sitting at a desk all day, you should be advised on the best way to do so.
- Insufficient safety equipment. Where needed, your employer might need to provide footrests or ergonomic input devices (mice, keyboards etc) to reduce the risk of RSI.
- Failure to assess risk. Employers should review working practices regularly. Where risks are identified, steps should be taken to reduce the dangers. This could involve raising the height of a monitor, for example, to reduce the risk of neck strain.
If any of the above have caused you to develop RSI, you could have grounds to claim compensation. If you’re not sure whether your RSI claim could proceed, please do call our team for free advice.
Can I Be Sacked For Making An RSI Claim Against My Employer?
At this point, it’s important to point out that employers cannot discipline you, fire you, or treat you differently because you’ve decided to claim compensation against them. To discriminate against you would be illegal and could result in a constructive or unfair dismissal case being made on top of the repetitive strain injury claim.
How The RSI Claims Process Works
We believe that you have an increased chance of winning your claim if you work with a specialist solicitor. If one of our solicitors accepts your case, you’ll get all the support you need. Your solicitor will gather the evidence needed, file your RSI claim and deal with any arguments raised by your employer’s insurance company. You will be updated regularly about how things are going and they’ll do everything possible to try and make sure you are compensated fairly for your suffering.
We are here to answer any queries you may have and to review your case for free. If you’d like to discuss your options with us, why not call our advice line on 0800 6524 881? Remember, if your case is taken on, your solicitor will represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
Repetitive Strain Injury Claims Time Limits
Personal injury claims in the UK have a 3-year time limit. For claims involving accidents, the time limit generally begins from the date of the accident. However, RSI claims work a little differently because it can take many months or years for symptoms to develop.
Therefore, when claiming compensation for RSI, your time limit will begin from the date of knowledge. This is the date where your injuries were diagnosed by a medical professional.
Our experience tells us that it’s best to begin your claim as soon as possible. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, you’ll find it easier to recall how your injuries were caused. Secondly, it will mean your legal representative will have plenty of time to collect evidence to back up your repetitive strain injury claim.
Updated 11th October 2021.