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Compensation is Paid for RSI Injury

Personal Injury Solicitor, John Hasson, reports on a successful Repetitive Strain Injury claim and highlights the problems associated with such cases


A Swindon woman who worked for Triumph International in their packing department has won compensation for an RSI injury (repetitive strain injury) after making a claim through our New Deal – Fair Deal personal injury scheme. 

The Claimant’s duties were to scan bar codes on products before they were packed.  She was located on a packing line with a number of her colleagues.  It is estimated that she had to carry out this operation between 2,000 and 3,000 times per day.  The bar codes were located on the reverse of swing tickets.  This meant that the claimant and her colleagues had to twist each ticket around so that they could be scanned with the bar code reader. 

As a result of this repetitive procedure the claimant began to experience discomfort in her hands and wrists.  Other colleagues also reported this discomfort. 

The matter was brought to the attention of the line managers and more senior members of the management team.  A temporary solution was found by printing another bar code on the products.  However the employer soon reverted to the old system. 

The claimant was then forced to go on long term sick leave because of the pain that she was experiencing in her wrists and thumb. 

The claimant appointed us to pursue a compensation claim on her behalf against the employer for a repetitive strain injury, otherwise known as RSI.  Liability for RSI was denied and formal court proceedings were issued against the Swindon based company.  A medical report from an orthopaedic surgeon specialising in hand and wrist injuries and RSI injuries was obtained.  This supported the claimant’s version of events that some (though not all) of her symptoms arose as a result of the type of work she was required to undertake.  

After lengthy negotiations the company conceded that there was a valid compensation claim and we were able to obtain an out of court settlement of £7,500 on behalf of the claimant.  Given the litigation risk involved in the case, the claimant was prepared to accept this offer of settlement. 

In repetitive strain injury and RSI claims it can often be very difficult to distinguish between symptoms which are work related and those which are constitutional in nature.  Also the employer must be placed on notice of a potential injury and be shown to have failed to take action to change the work process which is causing or may be causing the RSI injury.  When concerns are raised about work practices then the employer should carry out an RSI risk assessment and evaluate the duties which the employee is undertaking.  If necessary the employer should consider changing the employee’s duties or mode of working.  These would be the actions of a reasonable employer. 

Medical evidence in an RSI claim can be complex and is often contested.  Personal injury claims such as this will often require the parties to instruct an ergonomics expert to prepare a report.  This will help to show whether or not the task which the employee was undertaking posed a risk of RSI developing and whether the employer had taken steps to minimise or remove that risk. 

Unlike many other personal injury claims, it can also be difficult to establish an exact date for the onset of RSI symptoms.  Injury claims must be brought within three years from the date of the accident or event giving rise to the injury.  With RSI claims there is no clear ‘accident date’.  As a result the court will try to establish a “date of knowledge”.  This is taken as being the date when the claimant knew (or ought reasonably to have known) that the symptoms they were experiencing were connected to the nature of the work that they were undertaking. 

If you believe that you may be suffering from RSI symptoms then please contact our specialist personal injury department on 0809 139 1590 or email a summary of your RSI case  to accident claim solicitor John Hasson at john.hasson@sleeblackwell.co.uk