Only those who have suffered carpal tunnel syndrome will be aware of how painful and uncomfortable it can be. Often associated with the likes of vibration white finger/repetitive strain injuries, there are no legal protections to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace.
So, if you have developed this condition over the years, you should take advice about seeking compensation.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is just one of a number of similar medical conditions which can have a serious impact on your standard of living. The constant pain and suffering in the wrist, hand and fingers can, at times, impact your ability to simply grip everyday items.
While many people assume this is just simply “part of the job” this is not the case. If your employer has been negligent, then you may well be entitled to compensation.
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What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is positioned near the wrist area, and constant pressure/vibration can compress the nerves in your wrist. As a consequence, it can be extremely painful when using your wrists.
While sometimes associated with typists/keyboard users it is a condition which also impacts those who use pneumatic drills and vibrating equipment.
How Much Can I Claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
If you develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a consequence of negligence by your employer, you may be entitled to compensation of between £1760 and £2810. However, this may not be the full story.
If for example, you require medical treatment and you are unable to return to work, then compensation could be significantly increased.
What Are General Damages?
There are two types of damages, general damages and special damages. General damages are best described as compensation for your pain and suffering, but in some scenarios, they can be insignificant, compared to special damages. There is a set range of compensation for your pain and suffering as detailed above.
What Are Special Damages?
Special damages are best described as recompense for costs incurred, future medical expenses and other elements such as loss of earnings. If you are unable to return to work as a consequence of carpal tunnel syndrome, and your employer is found negligent, then they may need to recompense you for loss of earnings.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Hereditary?
This is a question which is often asked; there is no simple answer. Research into carpal tunnel syndrome has shown that various issues can increase your chances of developing the condition.
- Historic wrist injuries
- Underactive thyroid
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Family history of carpal tunnel syndrome
Whether or not it is actually hereditary, this simply increases your chances of developing the condition, is unclear. However, what we do know is that the condition has been recognised since April 1993. As a consequence, you can claim compensation if it developed because of negligence by your employer.
Does My Employer Have a Duty of Care When I Am Working?
Yes. There are various legal acts which place upon each employer a duty of care towards their employees. While the main act is the:-
There are also other pieces of legislation such as the:-
- Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
If your employer has not fulfilled their duty under any of the above legislation, and others relating to the workplace, they may be found negligent. If negligent then you can pursue compensation for injuries received.
Is My Employer Obliged to Provide Protective Equipment?
Whether we’re talking PPE, safety equipment in general or specific assistance to avoid issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome then yes, your employer is obliged to provide this equipment. It is also worth noting that this equipment must be provided free of charge.
Should My Employer Be Carrying Out Risk Assessments?
Part of your employer’s legal obligations requires them to carry out risk assessments where there may be a chance of injury to employees. Since carpal tunnel syndrome was classified as a medical condition in 1993, there is more than enough guidance to carry out the necessary risk assessment.
This should be documented, and if not carried out, it can form the basis for claims of negligence.
Should Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Part of Health and Safety Training?
Yes. When you start employment, you should be introduced to the employee training scheme, which involves an initial training schedule and regular updates. Where there is a risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, this should be covered in health and safety advice and the appropriate safety equipment discussed/provided.
How Do I Prove Negligence?
You will require as much evidence as possible when looking to prove employer negligence, resulting in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace. This evidence may include:-
- Medical diagnosis
- Medical records
- Work training records
- Work procedure guidelines
- Photographic evidence
- Witness statements
- Timeline of events
- Details of your pain and suffering
- Evidence of similar incidents in the workplace
If your employer has been made aware of others suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in years gone by and done nothing about it, this could be seen as negligent.
How Do I Proceed With a Compensation Claim?
The next thing is to approach a claims management company and show them your evidence. They will review your case and give you an independent assessment of your chances of success. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.
This means that you will not be liable for their expenses when pursuing your case, although they will request a share of any compensation award.
Is There a Time Limit for Seeking Compensation?
There is a traditional three-year window of opportunity during which you will need to lodge a claim for compensation. With carpal tunnel syndrome, it is worth noting that the three-year window of opportunity begins when you are diagnosed. The fact that the condition may have begun developing years before matters not.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an extremely painful medical condition which is often brought about by repetitive actions over a prolonged period of time. Excess pressure on the carpal tunnel next to your wrist can compress the median nerve leading to constant pain and sometimes difficulty maintaining your grip.
It is now recognised as a medical condition, and as such, you are able to claim compensation for your pain and suffering – as well as expenses incurred.
Quick Industrial illness & Disease FAQs
On average, your claims management company will look to negotiate a success fee of around 25%, although this can vary depending on the level of compensation received and duration of the case. This is something which needs to be agreed before the claims management company can pursue your claim.
Special damages are best described as recompense for costs incurred, future medical expenses and other elements such as loss of earnings. If you are unable to return to work as a consequence of an industrial disease/illness, and your employer is found negligent, then they may need to recompense you for loss of earnings.
If you were paying legal fees and costs yourself, this could run into tens of thousands of pounds depending on the type of claim and the duration. Thankfully, many claims management companies will offer a “no win no fee” arrangement if, after reviewing your evidence, they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success.
This effectively removes your liability to cover their costs when pursuing your case. In exchange, the claims management company will negotiate what is known as a “success fee”.
The pursuit of compensation for industrial diseases such as hearing loss should be done within a three-year window of opportunity. This window of opportunity begins on the first official diagnosis of your condition – not necessarily the event(s) which brought about the condition.
With issues such as hearing loss, which can worsen over a prolonged period of time, this is very important. We have seen cases where individuals have been diagnosed months and even years down the line, yet still been able to seek compensation.
How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making an Industrial illness Compensation Claim?
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Industrial illness Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries & illnesses they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.