Introduction to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Injuries
Ever since the 1970s, workplace hand arm vibration syndrome (often abbreviated to HAVS) has been acknowledged to be an industrial disease that affects workers exposed to prolonged use of vibrating tools. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are aware of over 9,000 diagnosed cases of had arm vibration syndrome injuries in the UK, and a recent report revealed than at least a million workers are still exposed to harmful levels of vibration that could result in a hand arm vibration syndrome injury compensation claim.
The most recent legislation concerning workplace hand arm vibration syndrome injuries in the UK is based on the EU Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive of May 2002. Effective in all member States from July 2005, this legislation defines the minimum health and safety risks that workers who use vibrating tools should be exposed to. If your employer fails to adhere to the regulations contained in this legislation, he is deemed the negligent party in a hand arm vibration syndrome injury compensation claim if you subsequently sustain an injury due to his lack of care.
Symptoms of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Injury
Often confused with another industrial disease – vibration white finger (VWF)-, workplace hand arm vibration syndrome has many more symptoms associated with it than just the tell-tale white finger that occurs with VWF. Workplace hand arm vibration syndrome affects the nerves, blood vessels and muscles in the hands, arms and wrists of the affected person and can be severely disabling if the condition is not treated at an early stage.
At first, minor damage to the muscles, joints and bones may cause aches and pains in the hands and lower arm. This will lead to you losing the strength of your grip which will become evident by your clumsiness and difficulty in doing fine tasks. For example, it may become difficult to fasten buttons, handle coins, sew threads, etc. At the first sign of a hand arm vibration syndrome injury, it is in the interests of your long term health to see your local doctor at the earliest possible opportunity.
Making a Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Injury Compensation Claim
Once you have been diagnosed with an injury which is due to your employer’s lack of responsibility, you should speak with a solicitor familiar with hand arm vibration syndrome claims. He or she will discuss with you how you believe you have a hand arm vibration injury claim and help you determine whether it is worth your while to pursue. Should you have a viable claim, he or she will build a case and submit it through the pre-action protocol in order to fast-track a settlement of compensation.
How much hand arm vibration syndrome injury compensation you receive will depend on the extent of your injury, your own personal circumstances and whether you have in any way contributed to your injury through your own lack of care. An employer may well claim that you have failed to follow instructions, worked beyond your allotted time or failed to use personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome injury. It is better you advise your solicitor at the very beginning if there is the likelihood that your employer will use your contributory negligence as a partial defence.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Injury and Third Party Capture
There has been a significant increase in the number of insurance companies approaching victims of workplace injury with an offer of early settlement. Whereas a short term cash influx may be welcome at a time when you might be concerned about your future ability to support your family financially, these offers are frequently way below what you might expect to receive in hand arm vibration syndrome injury compensation if a solicitor where to negotiate on your behalf.
Therefore, it is advisable to speak with a solicitor as soon as you have been diagnosed with a hand arm vibration syndrome injury, in order that the solicitor can – at the very least – advise you of how much hand arm vibration syndrome injury compensation you are entitled to. It can also be advisable to speak with a solicitor to avoid the potential of awkward workplace confrontations after making a hand arm vibration syndrome injury claim. Although the compensation you receive does not come out of the pocket of your employer, he may feel aggrieved that you have made a claim against him and the practices he oversees in the work environment.
No Win, No Fee Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome Injury Compensation
If you have sustained a hand arm vibration syndrome injury and would like to know more, you are advised to discuss the circumstance surrounding your hand arm vibration syndrome injury claim with a solicitor and ascertain that you have a case that is worth your while to pursue.