If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of the job you do, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Employers have a duty of care to make sure all employees are kept safe in the workplace and this includes ensuring that the correct measures are put in place to reduce the risk of workers developing work-related health issues like carpal tunnel syndrome.
To find out more about this condition, the symptoms and whether you would have a valid carpal tunnel syndrome claim against your employer, please read on.
Health and Safety Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Statistics
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a recognised medical disorder which is categorised as an industrial disease. The condition negatively impacts the median nerve found in your hand which becomes flattened. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that causes tingling sensations and/or weakness in your hand and forearm. According to Health and Safety Executive statistics 5,750 people were found to suffer from work-related carpal tunnel syndrome for which they received disablement benefit during the period from 2003 to 2013. The H & S report also found that around 90% of workers who suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome were male.
What Causes Workers to Develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace involves repetitive strain on a person’s wrists, hands or their fingers. If you developed the condition in the workplace, you could be entitled to seek compensation from your employer providing your claim meets specific criteria which is given in more detailed below.
What Symptoms Do Workers Experience With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Some of the more noticeable symptoms that you may have developed carpal tunnel syndrome at work could include the following:
- Extreme pain which can be so severe it prevents you from sleeping
- Severe numbness that can negatively impact your thumb, index, ring and middle fingers
- A difficulty gripping things which can affect how you operate machinery/equipment/tools
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you may have to undergo surgery to alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing and it can take up to 3 months for you to fully recover from the surgery.
Would My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome be Valid?
If you experience any of the symptoms detailed above, you should consult your GP or medical specialist as soon as possible to have your condition correctly and professionally diagnosed. The criteria that must be met for your carpal tunnel syndrome claim against an employer to be valid are detailed below:
- That you developed carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace in the last 3 years
- That your employer was negligent in their duty of care to keep you safe from developing a health condition in the workplace
The sooner you contact a personal injury claim solicitor the better because collecting all the evidence required can take a lot of time and effort. You would need to provide official medical reports detailing your symptoms and the prognosis. You would also need to provide proof that your employer could have set in place measures to reduce the risk of you developing carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace if they had followed Health and Safety and other worker protection guidelines which they chose to ignore.
You are protected in the workplace by law with the relevant legislation being detailed below:
- Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 provides guidelines for health and safety in the workplace for people who work with “display screen equipment” which includes ergonomically designed work chairs
All of these laws place a duty of care on your employer which is to provide you with safe working conditions. On top of this, your employer must do the following:
- Ensure that suitable equipment, machinery and tools are provided and that everything is in good working order
- That you are provided with adequate safety training
When contacting a solicitor about your concerns, they would quickly let you know whether your employer was in breach of any of the laws that protect you in the workplace. Should it be found that your employer was “negligent” in their duty to keep you safe from harm at work, they could be held liable for you having developed work-related carpal tunnel syndrome and you could be entitled to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you suffered.
How Do I File a Personal Injury Claim Against My Employer For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Although you have 3 years to file a personal injury claim against an employer, the sooner you contact an accident at work solicitor, the sooner your case could go forward. Once they have had the time to evaluate your supporting evidence, the solicitor you contact would advise you on whether you have a strong carpal tunnel syndrome claim against your employer and that they could be held liable . The proof that would be required when filing a work-related carpal tunnel syndrome would include the following:
- Medical reports of the symptoms you developed
- Evidence that your employer failed in their duty to abide by legislation that is in place
The more evidence you can provide when filing a carpal tunnel syndrome claim against an employer, the stronger your case would be and the more chance there would be of the lawyer representing you on a No Win No Fee basis.
What Level of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Compensation Could I Receive?
The level of carpal tunnel syndrome compensation you receive would depend on several things which includes how the condition negatively impacts your overall well-being and your ability to carry out the job you do. Your condition may be so severe that you may not be able to work again in which case the amount you receive would be substantially more.
Factors that would be taken into consideration when estimating the amount you receive in a successful claim against a negligent employer would include the following:
- The severity of your condition
- How long your injury lasted
- The prognosis for your recovery
- Any financial losses and expenses you incurred that can be directly linked to your medical condition
- The medical treatment you underwent
- Your pain and suffering
- Loss of amenity which includes any personal adjustments you had to make not only to your working life, but social and personal life too
- Loss of earnings and all future earnings
- The cost of any ongoing, long-term medical care and therapy
What Damages and Losses Can I Include in My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim?
You can claim general damages and special damages in your carpal tunnel syndrome claim against a negligent employer which are detailed below:
- General damages cover your pain, suffering and loss of amenity. General damages are awarded as a way to compensate you for how your medical condition negatively impacts your life. The amount you are awarded would be based on the Judicial College guidelines. As an example, should your condition leave you with a disability, you may be awarded £16,500 in a successful carpal tunnel syndrome claim against your employer bearing in mind that all personal injury claims are unique which means you may receive more or less that the amount indicated
- Special damages are much easier to calculate as the amount you would be awarded if your claim is upheld, would be based on your “actual” expenses plus other costs that were incurred and which can be linked to your medical condition. This would include any loss of wages, bonuses and other perks you missed out on when you were not able to work. Special damages also covers all surgeries you may have to undergo as well as therapies and other medical care that you need. You would also be able to include your travel expenses and all other financial losses you had to endure
Should I File a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim Against My Employer?
Your rights are highly protected in the workplace which also means that should you suffer any sort of medical condition or injury you have the right to do the following:
- Seek compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you had to endure
As previously mentioned, your claim would need to meet specific criteria for it to be upheld and you would need to file a work-related personal injury claim against your employer with 3 years of being made “aware” that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Employers not only have a duty of care to keep you safe from harm in the workplace by providing a safe working environment, they also have to hold valid liability insurance. This insurance is a legal requirement and the policy must be issued by a known and recognised insurance provider. The level of cover must meet the legal requirement of £5 million and should your employer fail to have liability insurance, they would receive hefty fines from the enforcing authority.
As such, when you can file for carpal tunnel syndrome compensation from an employer, it would be the insurance provider who pays the amount of money you receive. The insurance company would handle every aspect of your claim whether your employer admits liability or disputes your case. It is worth noting that the majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court but should your employer deny liability, it is best to leave all communication and negotiations to an experienced personal injury lawyer. The reason being that should an employer claim they are not responsible a lawyer would be in the best position to investigate whether this is so.
What are My Workers Rights If I Develop Work-related Carpal Syndrome?
As previously mentioned, you have specific worker’s rights and this includes being able to do the following if you develop any sort of medical condition or are injured in the workplace:
- To seek compensation from an employer
- That you would not be fired for seeking carpal tunnel syndrome compensation
If your employer objects to the fact that you want to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against them, or they tell you that you would lose your job for doing so, you should contact a lawyer without delay. The reason being that your employer would be acting unlawfully towards you and as such, you may be entitled to seek further compensation from them.
Does My Employer Have a Responsibility Towards Me in the Workplace?
Employers must abide by the law and the many “ worker’s rights” that protect you when you are in their employment and carrying out jobs that they task you to do. An employer’s responsibility towards you in the workplace includes the following:
- That you are given adequate and ongoing training to carry out any jobs you are tasked to do in the workplace as safely as possible, thus reducing the risk of you developing a condition like carpal tunnel syndrome
- That you are provided with the correct tools, machinery and equipment which must be in good working order
- That risk assessments of a working environment are regularly carried out
- To identify any hazards in the workplace and to put in place “reasonable” measures with an end goal being to reduce the risk of harm and injury to workers
- To ensure that you are made aware of all working procedures and practices
- To ensure that you are provided with the correct personal protective equipment to ensure you are able to carry out a job safely
- To ensure that all laws pertaining to the maintenance and use of equipment, machinery and tools are adhered to
If your employer fails in any of the above and you suffer an injury or develop a medical condition like carpal tunnel syndrome, they could be held liable and you would have every right to seek compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you had to endure through no fault of your own.
What Are The Benefits of Working With a Solicitor on a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim?
As with all personal injury claims, this type of case can be complex and as such it is important to get things right from the outset to avoid the legal pitfalls that could end your claim before it even starts. Having a solicitor represent you when filing a carpal tunnel syndrome claim against your employer means you have their legal experience working for you. Other advantages and benefits a lawyer would provide includes the following:
- A solicitor would provide an initial, no obligation consultation for which there would be no charge. This initial consultation allows the solicitor to determine whether you have a strong work-related carpal tunnel syndrome claim and that your employer could be held liable
- Once satisfied, the solicitor would handle every aspect of your claim which includes communicating with your employer and their liability insurance provider
- Solicitors can refer to legal libraries when necessary which they can do when researching your claim against an employer
- The solicitor would let you know at the earliest opportunity how much carpal tunnel syndrome compensation you may be awarded in a successful claim
- A solicitor would make sure that interim payments are paid to you should your case take longer than usual to reach a final settlement
- The solicitor would work hard to prove employer negligence should they deny liability
- A solicitor would ensure that you are awarded the level of work-related carpal tunnel syndrome compensation to suit the injuries you suffered and out of pocket expenses you incurred through no fault of your own
- The solicitor would ensure that you receive ongoing therapy should your medical condition be such that your require long-term treatment. This includes massage therapy, physiotherapy, osteopathy and any other treatment you may need on a long-term basis to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Is There a Time Limit to Making a Work-related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Claim?
You have 3 years from the date you were made aware by a medical professional that you are suffering from work-related carpal tunnel syndrome. The time the statutory 3 year time limit associated with a personal injury claim against a negligent employer begins does, however, depend on the circumstances surrounding your claim which is detailed below:
- 3 years from being diagnosed or made aware that you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome
- 3 years from your 18th birthday should you have been diagnosed as suffering from the medical condition prior to you being 18 years of age
Could I Lose My Job Because I File a Work-related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Against My Employer?
You cannot lose your job for filing an accident at work claim against your employer because you were injured in the workplace. Your employer would need to have another reason for firing you and it has to be valid or they would be acting unlawfully by asking you to leave your job. If you are treated unfairly, detrimentally or threatened with redundancy, you may be entitled to file further legal action against your employer and be awarded further compensation through an employment tribunal.
Would a Solicitor Work on a No Win No Fee Basis on My Claim?
If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and believe that your employer could have done more to prevent you from developing this painful condition, you have the right to seek compensation. Should it be found that your employer was negligent in their duty to keep you safe from harm and injury while in their employment, they could be held responsible and would have to pay you carpal tunnel syndrome compensation.
A solicitor who specialises in work-related personal injury claims would advise you on whether your carpal tunnel syndrome claim is valid and whether your employer could be deemed liable. Once a solicitor is happy that you have a strong case against your employer, they would agree to represent you without having to request that you pay an upfront fee or retainer for doing so. This is known as a No Win No Fee agreement between you and the solicitor you contact. The legal term for this type of contract is “Conditional Fee Agreement”.
The legal contract between you and the solicitor lays out the agreed “success fee/percentage” as well as the terms and conditions of the agreement. You would only have to pay the solicitor if your carpal tunnel syndrome claim is upheld and the “success fee” would be deducted from the amount of compensation you receive whether your claim goes to court or you are awarded an out of court settlement by your employer’s liability insurance provider. Should your case not be successful, you would not have to pay anything to the solicitor who undertook to represent you on a No Win No Fee basis when filing a carpal tunnel syndrome claim against a negligent employer.
If you would like more information on carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments, the following link provides a lot of valuable information on this painful condition:
If you would like more information on your employer’s responsibilities in the workplace, please follow the link below: