Repetitive Strain Injury Claim

A growing number of people are now coming forward to make personal injury compensation claims for accidental Repetitive Strain Injury, known more commonly as RSI.

There are many factors than can cause RSI, but the most frequently seen include carrying out repetitive tasks, vibrations and staying in an uncomfortable position for extended periods of time.

A study undertaken in 2008 showed that within the UK, 68% of workers suffered from some form of RSI, and it is estimated that the cost to UK industry caused by RSI injuries is around £20 billion each year.

Accident claims for RSI follow a similar procedure to normal personal injury accident claims. However there is a slight difference between cases in the sense that a standard personal injury accident claim occurs straight away (e.g. a car accident or fall) and RSI develops over a longer time period.

Symptoms of RSI

The most predominant feature common to all RSI cases is pain. This is almost always in the upper body, mainly in the arms, back, wrists, hands or shoulders.

Although the pain will often be localised to the area affected by RSI, there could be an overriding cause, for example an RSI injury in the shoulder could cause pain further down the arm. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness
  • Cramp
  • Aches

Those who suffer from RSI can broadly be divided into two categories:

Production line workers – This often involves people who package or process goods, or small assembly production lines. These jobs often require rapid movement.

This can lead to RSI without necessarily involving heavy loads or working for long periods of time. This category can also include those who carry out other repetitive tasks such as musicians.

Keyboard users – Another common cause of RSI is the use of a computer or mouse for extended periods of time, which often are not designed ergonomically. This can cause continuous muscle contraction, a common root cause of RSI.

Who Is Responsible?

In order to make a successful RSI accident claim, you must be able to provide proof that:

  • Your employer was aware, or should have been aware of the risk posed to employees of repetitive strain injuries
  • Your employer failed to take the necessary precautions to prevent repetitive strain injuries despite the level of risk
  • Your injury was caused by the work you were required to do, and that your employer’s care of duty towards employees was breached

It is also important to know that RSI is not a medically recognised condition. It is an umbrella term used to describe a number of conditions, which include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tenosynovitis, and tennis elbow.

It is also  important to recognise that a number of these injuries are often not work related. Other causes of RSI could be:

  • Carrying heavy items
  • Sleeping or sitting in an uncomfortable position
  • Use of the hands, wrists or back for extended periods of time
  • Using a personal computer or mouse designed without ergonomic support