If you suffer a soft tissue injury at work, you could be entitled to claim compensation from your employer. According to the Health and Safety Executive, more than 300,000 employees and other workers suffer some kind of injury in the workplace every year with around a third being musculoskeletal damage which includes injuries to soft tissue.
Should your employer have failed in their duty to keep you safe and you sustain this type of injury while you are at work, they could be held liable and as such, you could file a soft tissue injury claim against them. To find out more about how to claim soft tissue injury compensation, please read on.
The Definition of Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissues are found surrounding your bones, your organs and other parts that make up your body which includes the following:
- Fibrous tissues
- Blood vessels
- Body fat
- Synovial membranes
When you suffer a soft tissue injury, it can negatively impact the ligaments, tendons and muscles in an affected area of your body making it hard or impossible to move around. If you suffered a soft tissue injury at work in the last 3 years and the incident occurred through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to seek compensation from your employer providing you can prove they are liable.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Soft Tissue Injuries?
You can suffer a soft tissue injury in the workplace in a variety of ways, some of which are listed below:
- By pulling a muscle in your back when handling or lifting an item
- Through trauma which could be by twisting your ankle on an uneven surface
- Spraining or straining a muscle when pulling or pushing something
- When lifting a heavy object or item causing soft tissue damage to your shoulder, neck or back
- By Slipping, tripping and falling causing soft tissue damage to your ankle, knee or foot
If you were involved in a workplace accident that left you with a soft tissue injury and the incident occurred through no fault of your own, you could seek compensation for the injuries you sustained with the other proviso being that the accident at work happened in the last 3 years.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Associated With a Soft Tissue Injury?
When you suffer a soft tissue injury, the most common symptoms that you could experience are as follows:
- Sudden and immediate pain in an affected area of your body
- Swelling both immediate as well as delayed which causes stiffness in the affected area of your body
- Bruising which typically occurs around 24 to 48 hours following the workplace accident that left you with a soft tissue injury
- An unstable joint should the soft tissue injury negatively impact your muscles, ligaments and tendons
- Excruciating pain should you have strained the muscles in your back or suffered a slipped disc
How Long Does a Soft Tissue Injury Take to Heal?
The recovery time for a soft tissue injury would depend on which part of your body has been affected and the severity of the workplace injury you sustained. While a minor soft tissue injury may well heal relatively quickly, a more severe injury like a hernia or slipped disc would take much longer for you to recover from, more especially if surgery is required to repair the damage that’s been done. With this said, all soft tissue injuries can be extremely painful as well as debilitating which means you may be off work for a considerable amount of time.
When it comes to the type of soft tissue injury you may sustain in an accident at work, they are 3 categories which are listed below:
- Grade 1 – this type of soft tissue injury is typically a sprain or a strain which occurs when muscles, tendons or ligament fibres suffer tiny, microscopic tearing. This type of soft tissue injury causes very little swelling
- Grade 2 – this type of soft tissue injury involves tearing in the fibres of ligaments, muscles or tendons which means that you would be unable to bear any weight on the affected part of your body without experiencing a lot of pain
- Grade 3 – this type of soft tissue injury involves a total rupture of any soft tissue that supports part of your body’s structure. You would experience a lot of pain and an affected joint may become unstable which results in you not being able to bear any weight or use it
When it comes to minor strains and sprains, you would not typically need to seek medical attention but instead use Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (PRICE) as a form of self-treatment. However, if you experience the following symptoms, immediate medical attention should be sought:
- A loud crack or pop was heard when you suffered your injury
- You are unable to bear any weight on an affected area of your body
- You experience pain and discomfort in any of the bones found around the site of your injury
- The point of the injury appears misshapen or deformed
- The point of the injury goes numb and you experience pins and needles both at the site of the injury and in other parts of your body
Would My Employer Be Held Liable for My Soft Tissue Injury?
Providing you have enough evidence that a workplace accident that left you with a soft tissue injury could have been avoided had your employer adhered to their duty of care which is to keep you safe from harm at work, your employer could be deemed liable. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your soft tissue injury claim would be. The sort of proof that you would need to gather includes the following:
- CCTV footage of your workplace accident, where and when it occurred – if available
- Photos of where and when your accident at work happened
- An official medical report of your soft tissue injury
- Witness statements
- The contact details of everyone who witnessed the workplace accident
- An official report of the accident as recorded in the company’s accident report book – if not available an official report as sent to your employer whether by personal email or in a registered letter to them
The more proof you have relating to the workplace accident that left you injured, the stronger your case would be and the more chance there would be of a solicitor working with you on a No Win No Fee basis.
How Would My Soft Tissue Compensation be Calculated?
All personal injury claims which includes accident at work claims are calculated and awarded in two parts which are detailed below:
- General damages – the amount you would be awarded in general damages having suffered a soft tissue injury in an accident at work, would form the largest portion of the compensation you are awarded in a successful claim. General damages are awarded for the suffering and pain you had to endure as a direct result of having been injured in the workplace
- Special damages – the amount you would be awarded in special damages is a lot easier to calculate. The reason being that the amount you receive would be based on the “actual” expenses and other costs you incurred as a result of having suffered a soft tissue injury in an accident at work. As such, you must keep all the receipts relating to your travel and medical expenses as well as any other out of pocket expenses you incurred
How Much Soft Tissue Compensation Could I Hope To Receive?
The amount of soft tissue injury compensation you may receive if your case succeeds, would depend on the severity of your injuries, the time it takes you to make a full recovery or whether your injuries would prevent you from working in the future. As such, the amounts provided below are given as a guide only and are based on Judicial Guidelines:
- Damage to Achilles tendon, you may be awarded in the region of £33,700
- Minor soft tissue injury to a shoulder where recovery would take 2 years, you may receive between £3,810 and £6,920
- Moderate frozen shoulder where movement is limited and pain can last for around 2 years, you may be awarded between £6,920 and £11,200
- Soft tissue injuries to your spine involving discs, you may receive between £34,000 and £61,140
- Soft tissue injuries to your back involving ligaments and muscles where recovery can take up to 5 years, you may be awarded between £10,970 and £24,340
- Soft tissue injuries to your neck which are severe, you could receive between £39,870 and £49,090
There are many parts of your body which can be negatively impacted by soft tissue damage should you be involved in an accident at work that leaves you with a minor or more serious injury. If you are obliged to take time off work to recover, you have the right to seek soft tissue injury compensation from your employer providing they could be deemed liable.
Should I Sue My Employer For a Soft Tissue Injury Sustained at Work?
All employees have the right to seek compensation for any injuries they sustain while they are at work providing the incident occurred in the last three years and the injuries sustained were through the negligence of someone else, whether an employer or a work colleague. Your soft tissue injury may be minor, but it could mean you are unable to work for a period of time which could put you under financial pressure. Should your soft tissue injury be extremely severe, you may not be able to work and bring in a wage for months. The workplace injury could be catastrophic and as such, you may not be able to work again.
As such, you would have the right to file a soft tissue injury claim against your employer and be compensated for the injuries you sustained through no fault of your own. Your employer must be law hold liability insurance and the policy must meet the legal requirement which is set at £5 million. This insurance covers workplace accidents that leave employees and other people injured. In short, it would be your employer’s insurance provider who would settle your soft tissue injury claim.
What are My Workers Rights if I Sustain a Soft Tissue Injury?
Your employee rights are very protected in the United Kingdom and this also means that following a workplace incident that leaves you with a soft tissue injury, you have the following rights:
- To seek compensation for the suffering and pain you had to endure providing you can prove you were not responsible for the injuries you sustained because you acted irresponsibly or did not abide by working practices and procedures
- To know that your job is secure even if you file a soft tissue injury claim against your employer
If your employer attempts to fire you or they tell you that you would be made redundant for seeking soft tissue injury compensation, you should contact a lawyer and discuss your concerns before taking any further action. This includes resigning from your job because you could be entitled to file further legal action against your employer. The reason being that they would be breaking the law by not allowing you the “right” to seek soft tissue injury compensation from them.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities in the Workplace?
Your employer has a duty to make sure that you are safe when you are in the workplace and they must do this by following the laws and legislation that is set in place. An employer’s responsibilities towards employees, other workers and anyone visiting a workplace is detailed below:
- That you are provided with enough training to carry out your job safely and to provide ongoing training at regular intervals
- That the equipment, tools and machinery that you use in the course of your work, is correctly maintained, serviced as per a manufacturer’s guidelines that and it is replaced when deemed no longer fit for use
- To regularly carry out risk assessments of your working environment to identify dangers and hazards so that reasonable measures can be set in place to keep you safe from harm and injury
- To ensure that you are given access to all working procedures and practices
- To make sure that all personal protective equipment is correctly maintained and easily accessible when needed
Should an employer fail in any of the above and you suffer a soft tissue injury at work as a direct result, you could be entitled to file a personal injury claim against them and be awarded compensation for the pain and suffering you endured.
Are There Any Benefits to Working With a Solicitor on a Claim?
Accident at work claims can be complex legal procedures that are best handled by solicitors and lawyers who boast vast experience in handling personal injury claims on the behalf of employees against their employers. In short, working with a solicitor on a soft tissue claim provides many advantages and benefits which includes the following:
- A personal injury lawyer has access to legal libraries which they can reference when representing you in a soft tissue claim
- They have vast experience when it comes to communicating with your employer and their liability insurance providers
- A solicitor who specialises in accident at work claims, understands and respects all the pre-action protocols and statutory time limits
- The solicitor you work with, would provide essential information on the type of solid evidence that is needed when filing a soft tissue claim against your employer
- Should your employer dispute your claim, a solicitor would investigate their claims with an end goal being to get your employer to admit liability for the soft tissue injury you sustained
- A solicitor would ensure that you receive interim payments, should it take a long time for you to receive your soft tissue compensation settlement
- They would make sure that you are examined by an independent medical professional whose detailed report would be vital when it comes to calculating the amount of compensation you could be awarded in a successful soft tissue injury claim against a negligent employer
- The solicitor would ensure that you receive specialist treatment and ongoing therapy should your injuries be such that they are required
- The firm of solicitors who represent you would ensure that the level of soft tissue injury compensation you are awarded is acceptable
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Soft Tissue Injury Claim Against My Employer?
You would have 3 years from the date you suffered a soft tissue injury at work, to file a claim against your employer and to seek compensation for the injuries you sustained. However, the 3 year statutory time limit associated with personal injury claims can be longer for the following reasons:
- You suffered a soft tissue injury at work when you were under the age of 18, in which case the statutory 3 year time limit would only begin from the day you turn 18 years of age
- The 3 year time limit would start from the day you received an official diagnosis that you had developed a health issue that can be directly connected to a soft tissue injury that you sustained in an accident at work
Can My Employer Fire Me For Filing a Soft Tissue Injury Claim Against Them?
As previously mentioned, you have the right to seek compensation for a soft tissue injury you sustained in the workplace providing you can prove employer negligence, knowing that you cannot be sacked from your job for doing so. Should your employer threaten you with the sack or redundancy because you seek soft tissue injury compensation from them, you should seek legal advice because your employer would be acting illegally. In short, you could be entitled to file further legal action out against your employer.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Soft Tissue Injury Claim?
For a firm of solicitors to work on your soft tissue injury claim against an employer, your case would first need to be assessed. In order for a solicitor to establish whether your case is valid, you would be offered a free, initial, no obligation consultation, whether this takes place over the phone or in a face-to-face meeting and once a solicitor is satisfied that your case against an employer merits seeking compensation, they would offer to represent you by signing a No Win No Fee agreement. In short, if your case against a negligent employer is strong, you would not have to pay an upfront fee or any ongoing payments for a firm of lawyers to represent you when filing a soft tissue injury claim.
No Win No Fee agreements or Conditional Fee Agreements are binding legal contracts that set out the percentage you agree to pay the solicitor when you receive soft tissue injury compensation. The amount you pay is deducted from the amount of compensation you are awarded. Should you lose your case, you would not have to pay the agreed fee to the firm of solicitors who represented you in a soft tissue injury claim because you entered into a No Win No Fee agreement with them.
If you suffered a soft tissue injury at work and would like more information on how this type of injury is normally treated, please click on the link below:
For more information on your worker’s rights in the United Kingdom, please follow the link below which takes you to the Government website: