Operating machinery at work that constantly vibrates can put you at risk of developing hand arm vibration syndrome which incorporates carpal tunnel syndrome and vibration white finger. Should you suffer from HAVS, it could entitle you to claim compensation from an employer providing you can show they were negligent in their duty and as such did not put in place measures to reduce the risk of you developing hand arm vibration syndrome.
To find out more about HAVS and whether you would have a valid claim for compensation against your employer, please read on.
- What is Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome?
- What are Vascular Injuries?
- What are Musculoskeletal Injuries?
- What are Neurological Injuries?
- What are the Most Common Symptoms of HAVS?
- What Are the Regulations Regarding HAVS in the Workplace?
- What Level of HAVS Compensation Could I Get?
- What Evidence is Needed to Prove Negligence In a HAVS Claim?
- Is It Worth Making a HAVS Claim Against an Employer?
- Do I Have Any Rights If I Suffer HAVS in the Workplace?
- What Benefit is There to Having Legal Representation When Making a HAVS Claim?
- Would a Solicitor Offer Me No Win No Fee Terms if I File a HAVS Claim?
- Informative Links
There are three categories of HAVS which you could develop because of the job you do which are as follows:
If during the course of your work you operate any sort of machinery/equipment or you use tools that vibrate and you experience any symptoms associated with HAVS, you should contact a solicitor at www.accidentclaims.co.uk because you may be entitled to seek compensation from an employer if there is sufficient evidence to show they did not keep you safe from harm in the workplace
When it comes to vascular injuries you may develop due to the work you do, this includes the following:
- Vibration white finger – this causes the blood flow to hands and fingers to be negatively impacted because of the constant vibration that specific equipment and machinery used in the workplace causes. Small blood vessels get damaged and as a consequence become constricted preventing normal blood flow to hands and fingers. Anyone who works in a colder environment is more at risk because the cold is often the trigger. When you develop the condition, your skin alters in colour and your fingers turn white. As things go back to normal, it causes tremendous pain and discomfort
Should you experience any symptoms associated with white finger syndrome, you would seek medical attention as soon as possible so that a doctor can provide a report on your condition. Following this, you should contact a solicitor who would assess whether you have a valid claim against an employer who could be held responsible for the distress, pain and suffering your condition causes you.
If you develop HAVS, you can as a result suffer from a variety of musculoskeletal ailments and this includes the following:
- Reduced mobility
A musculoskeletal injury can also lead to damaged muscle fibres which are found in and around the hands. Should this occur, you would find it much harder to grip and hold onto anything which could negatively impact not only your working life but your home life too.
The symptoms associated with hand arm vibration syndrome may not be apparent until much later on in time and as such, very often they are unreported because the symptoms go unnoticed. However, neurological damage can all too often result in irreversible damage with the main symptoms being as follows:
- A reduced ability to grip anything
- A tingling sensation in your fingers and hands
Very often anyone who experiences the symptoms detailed above believe that this is happening to them due to ageing or because they are tired. However, studies have proven that these are the symptoms of hand arm vibration syndrome.
The symptoms you would be experiencing if you have hand arm vibration syndrome are as follows:
- White areas appear on your skin which are very noticeable especially in colder weather
- An uncomfortable, tingling sensation in your fingers
- Numbness either in one or several fingers
- Complete loss of any sensations and feelings in your fingers
- An inability to grip anything due to muscle damage
- Decreased in the mobility of your hands and fingers
If you experience any of the symptoms above, you should see your doctor or other medical professional so they can provide a report on your condition which would be required if you are planning to file a hand arm vibration syndrome claim against your employer.
There are laws and legislation that protect you in the workplace which includes the following:
This Government act clearly explains that workers and employees must be kept safe when they are in the workplace and that an employer is legally bound to ensure that anyone who operates machinery and equipment that is known to vibrate, are not put in harm’s way and therefore more at risk of suffering hand arm vibration syndrome. An employer’s responsibility towards employees is as follows:
- You must take regular and frequent breaks when using tools or operating equipment and machinery that is known to vibrate
- You must be provided with the correct industry standard safety equipment and this should include anti-vibration gloves
- The workplace’s temperature is reasonable for employees to work in
- You must be adequately trained to operate machinery, equipment and tools that vibrate and that ongoing training relating to Health and Safety in the workplace is provided on a regular basis
Because the symptoms associated with hand arm vibration syndrome may only manifest themselves a long time afterwards – it can be 10 years or more before you may be diagnosed as suffering from HAVS – you may believe that you would not be able to file for compensation against your employer. Should this be the case, you should contact a solicitor because you may still be entitled to file a claim against your employer.
The amount of HAVS compensation you could receive would be based on several factors which would include the following:
- The severity of your symptoms
- How the condition affects your ability to work
- Whether your condition negatively impacts your daily life and overall well-being
With this in mind, the amount of compensation you could be awarded in general damages would be based on the Judicial College Guidelines but you would also be awarded “special damages” which would compensate you for all the out of pocket expenses you had to pay out as a result of having developed hand arm vibration syndrome at work. The amounts provided below are given as guidelines only because all personal injury cases are unique and as such, you may receive more or less that indicated:
- If your symptoms are slight and therefor do not affect your daily life, you may receive between £2,390 and £6,890
- If the condition has caused moderate damage and you experience discomfort in colder weather, you could receive between £6,890 and £13,360
- If your condition causes you tremendous discomfort and pain, you could receive between £13,360 and £25,220
- Should your condition have seriously impacted your ability to work, you may receive between £25,220 and £30,630
It is worth noting that the amounts provided above are awarded in general damages but you would also receive “special damages” in a successful hand arm vibration syndrome claim.
Because the symptoms associated with hand arm vibration syndrome often only appear over a period of time which can take years, as previously mentioned, you may think you would not be entitled to claim compensation. However, today thanks to the sort of health testing that is available, a specialist would be able to establish whether you developed HAVS because of the work you used to do.
The more evidence you can provide to support a claim for compensation for hand arm vibration syndrome, the better and this should include the following:
- Witness statements and their contact details
- Evidence that other employees and workers also developed HAVS at work
In short, even if a lot of time has elapsed, you should still contact a solicitor at www.accidentclaims.co.uk because they would assess your claim before referring you to an independent medical professional. The specialist you see would provide a detailed report on the sort of symptoms you are experiencing. This report would also provide evidence that you developed hand arm vibration syndrome because of the work you once did and would be used to calculate the level of HAVS compensation you may be awarded.
All employers in the United Kingdom are obliged to hold liability insurance because it is compulsory for them to do so. As such, if you suffer any sort of illness or injury as a result of the work you do, it would be the insurer and not your employer who would deal with all aspects of a claim. If there is evidence of employer negligence which led to you suffering from hand arm vibration syndrome, you have the right to seek compensation for the distress, pain, suffering and expenses you had to endure through no fault of your own.
Should your condition mean that you are unable to work, claiming compensation would help ensure that you do not have to deal with undue financial hardship and it could help pay for any ongoing therapy you may require. A solicitor would advise you of the amount of “special damages” you may be entitled to include in your HAVS claim and they would do so as soon as they are able to.
As mentioned above, you have the right to seek compensation if you are injured or suffer any sort of harm in the workplace and this includes having developed a condition associated with hand arm vibration syndrome. Should your employer attempt to stop you from filing a claim against them, they would be in breach of the law and it could entitle you to seek further compensation from them.
As such, you should discuss your case with a solicitor before doing anything else so they can provide vital legal advice on how best to deal with a HAVS claim against your employer. Should your employer threaten you in any way which includes sacking you or making you redundant, a solicitor who specialises in employment law would provide essential legal advice on what you should do. The reason being that your employer cannot legally fire you because you seek compensation from them.
Having legal representation when making a hand arm vibration syndrome claim against an employer provides many benefits, some of which are detailed below:
- Solicitors have vast knowledge of what is required in the way of evidence to support this type of complex personal injury claim
- They are aware of the time constraints and work quickly so that a final settlement can be reached
- Solicitors are able to reference legal libraries which they can base your claim on as necessary
- They are aware that pre-action protocols must be respected which can help resolve a HAVS claim sooner
- A solicitor would offer you No Win No Fee terms which means you can seek compensation without any financial risk to yourself
- They would arrange for your condition to be examined by an independent specialist/consultant and the medical report they provide would be an essential part of your claim because the level of compensation you would receive would be based on the specialist’s report
Another important benefit of having legal representation when filing a HAVS claim is that should your employer deny liability, the solicitor would start legal proceedings against them and very often this is enough for an employer and their insurers to change their minds. In short, they would then accept responsibility for the fact you suffer from hand arm vibration syndrome.
Work-related claims of this nature are known to be complicated legal procedures more especially as the symptoms associated with HAVS may not appear for years but it does not mean you would not be entitled to seek compensation from an employer. However, because of the complexities involved, it is best to speak to a solicitor before doing anything else. The legal advice they can provide would be invaluable bearing in mind that the initial consultation is free of charge.
When the solicitor establishes that your case against your employer is valid and that there is adequate evidence to support a hand arm vibration syndrome claim, they would typically offer to work on your case without requesting an upfront fee. This would involve signing a No Win No Fee agreement (a CFA – Conditional Fee Agreement) which is legal document that sets out the following:
- The Terms and Conditions of the agreement
- The agreed percentage that would only be payable on a successful hand arm vibration syndrome claim. This is known as a success fee which is a percentage of the amount you are awarded whether through a court or in an out of court settlement
Should you lose your claim, you would not have to pay the “success fee” to the solicitor because of the CFA that was signed by both parties. In short, when a No Win No Fee solicitor represents you on a hand arm vibration syndrome claim, it means you can file for compensation without any financial risk to yourself.
If you would like more information on the laws that protect you from suffering from HAVS in the workplace, please follow the link provided below:
If you have developed HAVS and would like more information about your employer’s responsibility towards you in the workplace, please click on the link below:
To find out more about the law relating to employer’s liability insurance, please follow the link provided below: