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A Guide to Repetitive Strain Injuries – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

By John Bowes. Last Updated 17th February 2021. This is our guide to making repetitive strain injury claims. Repetitive strain injuries are actually fairly common with on average one in fifty employees developing a repetitive strain injury (RSI). RSI is a general term for an injury that can affect the muscles, tendons and nerves. It usually affects the upper limbs and is caused by carrying out an activity that is repetitive putting stress repeatedly on the same area. This results in injury.

Most RSI cases occur due to activities that are carried out whilst at work. If left untreated it can become a serious chronic condition. Employers have a duty of care to their employees to provide repetitive strain injurya safe working environment and to reduce the risk of injury. Employers responsibilities include giving their employees regular breaks from repetitive jobs in accordance with repetitive strain injury regulations. This is to prevent the occurrence of an RSI. They should carry out risk assessments to assess the likeliness of an RSI being sustained and implement ways in which to reduce the chance of developing this injury.

Repetitive strain injury claims

If you are suffering from RSI and are seeking to make repetitive strain injury claims, Legal Expert can help. Repetitive strain injury compensation claims can be quite tricky. It can be hard how to prove RSI complaints are due to your work and aren’t always straightforward. With our expert help, we can determine the factors that will back up your claim and so get the RSI compensation payouts you deserve.

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What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

Repetitive strain injury is a collective term for a number of musculoskeletal and nervous system injuries. They are caused by carrying out continuous, repetitive tasks, being in awkward or sustained positions, using excursions that are forceful, or using vibrating machinery. The most common symptoms of an RSI is pain and cramping of muscles and numbness of the muscles and tendons. It typically occurs in the upper body area, such as in the fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, arms and shoulders. RSI can affect any part of the body that is able to move. Those affected by RSI could make repetitive strain injury claims. 

Other names used for a repetitive strain injury are repetitive motion disorder, repetitive motion injuries, occupational overuse syndrome, cumulative trauma disorder, overuse syndrome and also regional musculoskeletal disorder.

Jobs at risk of RSI

There are numerous jobs that can involve a risk of developing an RSI across a whole spectrum of different industries.

These include;

  • Office workers who use computers all day,
  • Massage therapists,
  • Cake decorators, and many more.

If they are holding a particular position, consistently repeating a certain movement and continue using the same set of muscles/tendons, then they could develop a repetitive strain injury.

What are the symptoms of a repetitive strain injury?

The symptoms of a repetitive strain injury can vary from being fairly mild to very severe and if left untreated or ignored, can eventually become a chronic illness.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Tenderness, aching and pain.
  • Stiffness in the affected area.
  • A throbbing sensation.
  • A numb or tingling sensation.
  • Cramping
  • Weakness of the affected muscles.

Repetitive strain injuries are often a combination of these symptoms but initially may occur singularly. When the symptoms first become apparent, they may only appear whilst carrying out the particular repetitive activity that has caused the injury. Over time, if left unattended, the symptoms may become increasingly worse and more constant. They may occur even when not doing the repetitive action causing ongoing pain and possible swelling of the affected area that can last a number of months.

Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow are very similar to repetitive strain injuries as they are also the result of continuous repetitive movements of groups of muscles that eventually cause pain and discomfort.

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, you may have developed a repetitive strain injury and be entitled to claim compensation. Contact us at Legal Expert to find out how we can help with repetitive strain injury claims.

How are repetitive strain injuries diagnosed and categorised?

A medical examination by a doctor is needed to diagnose an RSI. The doctor will carry out a physical examination as well as asking questions regarding the repetitive motions that are thought to have caused the injury, what exactly tends to cause the pain and when is it most likely to occur.

There are two main types of repetitive strain injury:

RSI Type 1 –

This is a musculoskeletal complaint and often inflammation and swelling of particular muscles and tendons occur. Type 1 is clearly diagnosed as a particular complaint such as carpal tunnel syndrome, white vibration finger or tendonitis.

RSI Type 2 –

This has a whole range of causes and is often connected to damage of the nerves. There are usually no extra symptoms with RSI type 2, just discomfort and pain. Type 2 can sometimes be referred to as non-specific pain syndrome and isn’t quite diagnosed as clearly as type 1.

What are the causes of a repetitive strain injury?

As mentioned earlier, repetitive strain injury is a general term used for a number of conditions in the body that can be brought on by numerous contributing factors.

Contributing factors that if prolonged, can lead to a repetitive strain injury are:

  • Moving / working in cold temperatures.
  • Overusing particular muscles in a continuous repetitive manner.
  • Constant use of machinery and equipment that uses vibration.
  • Activities that require forceful movements repetitively.
  • Disorganised working area that leads to bad posture.
  • Being in the same position and holding a particular posture for long periods of time.
  • The occurrence of repetitive strain injuries can be increased by stress.
  • A blow to or direct pressure applied to a certain part of the body.
  • Repeatedly carrying heavy objects.
  • Tiredness.

Due to these factors it is very common for someone to develop RSI due to their work or working conditions. The repetitive act need not be strenuous or difficult but when it is a motion that is constantly repeated over a period of time, an injury can occur. Repetitive strain injuries can leave the sufferer in a lot of pain and discomfort and often unable to continue to carry out their normal tasks at work and sometimes movements carried out in general life.

RSI statistics

In fact, it is estimated that at least 500,000 workers have reported developing an RSI in the UK with around six people leaving their jobs each day because of it.

Some of the most common jobs that can cause an RSI to occur are:

  • Office workers that use computer keyboards and a mouse: The hands’ wrists and elbows are the most at risk from injury when using computers. Due to the rise in the use and reliance on computers, these types of injuries are becoming increasingly common. Good posture and desk organisation are needed to help prevent an RSI from occurring.
  • Shop assistants that work on the checkouts: Whilst working on the checkouts, shop assistants are constantly repeating the action of sliding across and scanning the items’ barcodes, often hundreds of times within a shift. Although only a fairly small movement, the repetition of this movement can be enough to cause an RSI to develop. As well as the hands, elbows and wrists being affected, the neck, shoulders and upper back may also be affected.
  • Jobs where workers are in the same position for long periods of time: Any activity that requires someone to be in a static position, can over time, cause them to develop an RSI. Examples of such activities would include jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting, having to grasp or grip items for a prolonged period of time or having to be in an odd position for a long time.

Is RSI a disability? According to the Disability Discrimination Act, a disability is ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term effect on the ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’ So in a word, yes. The RSI will need to be assessed and diagnosed by a medical professional.

What are the RSI Employers Responsibilities?

Employers have a duty of care to try to prevent anyone in their workforce from developing a repetitive strain injury. They must follow the protocol set out in the Health and Safety at Work act and carry out risk assessments for use of equipment or any task that could cause an injury. Work areas need to be assessed as well to ensure they are a safe environment to work in and any issues need to be addressed immediately until they are satisfactory. For areas such as computer work stations, employers have a legal obligation to ensure they are set up in accordance to the Display Screen Equipment (DSE) regulations.

In order to lower the risk of repetitive strain injuries, employers should also do the following:

  • Consult with employees regarding any potential risks that may arise from their work.
  • Possibly alter the way the work is organised.
  • Have policies and procedures in place for certain activities and also any relevant training in place in order to lower the risk of injury.
  • To be supportive to anyone who is returning to work after suffering a repetitive strain injury and act upon their duty of care to their employees to prevent the condition from worsening.

It is also the employer’s responsibility to recognise that if one person begins to develop repetitive strain injury symptoms, then others who may be carrying out the same duty at work, could also be at risk of getting an injury too and so should act accordingly to eliminate any exposure to the risks of the condition.

What if the employer fails to create a safe working environment?

If employers fail to take all possible steps to ensure a safe working environment and don’t act to their best ability to eliminate as much as possible the risks of injury, then according to RSI at work rights of the employees, the employers may be sued for negligence. Repetitive strain injury compensation claims are on the rise and more and more cases are being won.

It is also possible to claim against your employer if developing an RSI whilst under their employment is affecting a pre-existing condition. Your employer has a legal obligation to ensure your health and safety whilst in their employment and so could be liable if they are found to have been negligent in their duty of care and safety responsibility to their staff.

If you have developed a repetitive strain injury whilst at work, Legal Expert can help and advise you on the best course of action to take in order to launch a compensation claim against your employer.

How much compensation can repetitive strain injury claims be awarded?

So, quite naturally, you may be wondering, ‘how much compensation for RSI can you claim?’ Well, unfortunately we cannot give a straight answer to this question as there are so many factors to be taken into consideration, although we can give you some average compensation amounts that have been awarded for injuries relating to repetitive strain injuries that you can find below.

There are RSI claim calculators to be found online that you could use but these are only estimated amounts and so will not be accurate. One person’s injury can differ a great deal to another’s in its severity and the effect it has on one person’s life. The actual cause of the injury, duration and working conditions will also have an impact on the claimant’s case which again can be different from one person to the next. The bottom line is, each claimant’s case has individual circumstances that will determine the repetitive strain injury compensation claims amount they are awarded. It would be best to contact a trusted specialist personal injury claims solicitors such as Legal Expert to discuss your potential claim in more detail.

RSI compensation calculator

Reason for CompensationAverage Compensation AwardComments
Back injury - Minor (i)£7,410 to £11,730Where recovery is expected within 2-5 years without the need for surgery.
Neck injury - Moderate (iii)£7,410 to £12,900Moderate soft tissue injuries with a protracted recovery.
Shoulder injury - Serious£11,980 to £18,020Reduced movement of the shoulder, also possibly causing problems in the arms too. Pain is persistant.
Shoulder injury - Moderate£7,410 to £11,980Limited movement and pain and discomfort, symptoms lasting up to 2 years.
Elbow injury - Moderate to minorUp to £11,820Injuries that affect movement but usually improve within 2-3 years. The top amount awarded is symptoms persist and surgery possibly needed.
Wrist injuries - Less severe£11,820 to £22,990The highest amount will be for permanent reduced movement and function of the wrist with ongoing pain and suffering.
Hand injury£27,220 to £58,100The higher amount will be for an injury that has resulted in a permanent disability.

Don’t be concerned if your individual injury isn’t listed, it does not mean that you cannot claim compensation, the table is merely to give an idea of possible compensation claim amounts. Just give Legal Expert a call and we can shed more light on your repetitive strain injury claims.

No Win No Fee Compensation Claims

Legal Expert work on a No Win No Fee basis. This simply means that if, in the unlikely event, we did not win your compensation claim, you will not be held liable for any legal costs at all, meaning you do not pay us anything. Only when we win your case for you do we ask for payment of our legal fees and these are generally taken as a small percentage of your awarded compensation amount and so you do not have to finance any costs upfront, giving you peace of mind that you are not going to lose any of your existing capital.

We feel that working on this basis gives our clients confidence in us that we will do our absolute best for them to make their case a success and win them the maximum compensation amount possible, as after all, the better we do for you, the better we do for ourselves also. However, pay by the hour solicitor will expect payment regardless of whether or not your claim is a success and unfortunately, this then means that you are potentially gambling your money. Legal fees can be tremendously expensive and if you are having to pay for costs regardless of the outcome, if your case is unsuccessful, you will have lost this money and be in a worse position financially than before. With No Win No Fee, there is no gamble as the legal fees are only payable on completion of a successful compensation claim.

How Legal Expert can help you to start a Repetitive Strain Injury compensation claim

Legal Expert is a team of solicitors who have worked in the personal injury claim industry for many years and have a wealth of experience in cases such as yours.

When we receive a call from you, we will offer you a free consultancy session so that you are free to ask as many questions as you need to about your compensation claim and we can also establish some of the factors regarding your case.

Steps to take before making a claim

We can also advise you on certain steps you can take to help us start to build on your case such as:

  • Photos – Have you any photos of your injury or some photos of your working area for example that could help to visually prove your pain and suffering and also help to establish liability for your injury.
  • Witnesses – Are there any witnesses that can help to back up your claim such as work colleagues. If so, gather their contact details as we may require a statement. Witness statements can strengthen cases like these
  • Accident book – Have you reported your injury to your employer? If so, this should have been recorded in your employers’ accident book and therefore you should obtain a copy.
  • Medical Report – You will need to have seen a medical professional to get your repetitive strain injury diagnosed. A medical record will have been made regarding your diagnosis including details of the course of treatment recommended and possible duration of recovery time. Again, a copy of this would be crucial in backing up your claim.
  • Expenses – Make an account of any expenses you have incurred as a direct result of your injury. we can include these in your claim.
  • Write it down – If you can, write down everything you can regarding your injury, such as the date your symptoms began to appear, what were you doing at the time? When did you report your injury to your employer? Was anything changed to accommodate them etc. Anything you can think of that may have some relevance, write it down.

We will use this information as evidence in your case and can include any of your expenses in your case so that they can be claimed. We will also do some investigating of our own to build you a strong case as sometimes proving liability in cases like these can be tricky.

All of this and more will be discussed during your free consultation session. We can also offer you a free local medical at a time that is convenient to you if required.

This is the starting point in building your claims case. We then carry on behind the scenes to ensure we have a strong compensation claim to get you the compensation amount you deserve.

Why choose Legal Expert for your claim?

Our solicitors have years of experience in the personal injury claims industry and have specialised in this area for a long time. We have a fantastic track record of making compensation claims that have been very successful, securing the maximum compensation payout amounts more often than not.

Making repetitive strain injury compensation claims can be a long and complicated process. Liability has to be proven which isn’t always straight forward, but our teamwork extremely efficiently and as smoothly as possible to take you through the process of making your claim without causing any unnecessary stress or anguish. We will work hard on your behalf and will keep you updated with an honest outlook every step of the way without being bothersome to you.

As we work on a No Win No Fee basis, you need not worry about the financial costs of the legal fees for having us representing your claim. These will only require payment after your claim has been successful and has been awarded. Therefore, there is no risk involved when you choose Legal Expert as your legal representative.

Contact us about making repetitive strain injury claims

We are reliable, hard-working and honest. We will do our utmost to ensure that your repetitive strain injury compensation claim is a success. Our team will endeavour to get you the highest payout amount that you are entitled to. Just call us for free on 0800 073 8804 and we’ll take it from there.

Useful Links

NHS – RSI Repetitive Strain Injuries advice

This is the NHS guide that gives lots of information about Repetitive Strain Injuries such as symptoms, causes, treatments etc.

HSE legislation on works health and safety

This is where you will find the Health and Safety at work act’s legislation. You can see your rights as an employee and see your employer’s responsibility to you as their employee.

Legal Expert RSI case study

Here is a case study of a repetitive strain injury compensation claim.

Legal Expert No Win No Fee guide

This guide explains our No Win No Fee policy in more detail so that you can see what is involved.


Is repetitive strain injury a disability?

In the UK repetitive strain injury is counted as a disability. This means that employers have a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments to your job role and working environment. If they fail to make such adjustments and you are unable to carry out your work, you could also have a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal.

How do you prove RSI?

The best way to prove that you have a repetitive strain injury is to seek medical care and to get a diagnosis from your doctor. RSI could be diagnosed if you experience symptoms after carrying out a repetitive take but the symptoms later fade when you stop doing so.

A doctor or GP will carry out an examination of the painful or injured body part. They should also ask you about your symptoms, pain, medical history and your job role.

How long does it take for repetitive strain injury to heal?

Once you have a diagnosis of RSI you should inform your employer. They should make the necessary steps to address your job role. With treatments the injury should heal in around 6 months or less. RSI can sometimes become a longer-term problem and develop into a chronic injury.

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