Working on industrial construction sites can come with many risks due to the manual nature of the job. One of these potential risks is vibration white finger (VWF), otherwise known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Vibration white finger is a common industrial injury that is caused by regular extended use of vibrating construction tools, such as pneumatic drills.
Vibration white finger can have long-term effects, such as the inability to work, a loss of earnings and, in some severe cases, disability and a poor quality of life.
Employers have a duty of care to put the correct procedures in place and train their employees to ensure that vibration white finger does not occur; however, this is not always the case. If you have suffered from vibration white finger as a result of an employer’s negligence, you may be eligible to make a vibration white finger compensation claim.
Common symptoms of Vibration White Finger
There are a variety of identifiable symptoms relating to vibration white finger, which can help to diagnose it and treat it as soon as possible. These include:
· Numbness in the fingers
· Weakness in the hand muscles
· Loss of hand or arm strength
· Difficulty picking up small objects
· Whitening of the fingertips, which worsens in cold weather
· Pain in the thumb when attempting to grip objects
The condition damages the nerves, joints, muscles, blood vessels and ligaments of the hand, forearm and wrist, which causes the fingers to turn white.
If you suspect that you may have vibration white finger, you should contact an occupational health physician. This is a medical professional that regularly deals with work-related injuries and illnesses.
Unfortunately, vibration white finger is difficult to treat, and a cure has not yet been found for the syndrome. Therefore, treatment tends to include using pain relievers and to reduce exposure to vibration equipment and the control of vibration.
Who is affected by vibration white finger?
Vibration white finger typically affects those who work in manual labour jobs. Those at risk of developing VWF includes construction workers, miners, quarry drillers, automobile repair and assembly workers and anyone working in metalworking trades.
There is a higher risk of contracting the syndrome when working in colder regions.
Employers’ duty of care
By law, employers have a duty of care towards their employees. This duty of care extends to all employees, regardless of the nature of their job or whether they have a fixed or temporary contract with the employer. Therefore, your employer is legally required to put specific measures in place to protect you from any illness or injury whilst at work.
In terms of white finger vibration, your employer should supply you with anti-vibration gloves and any other personal protective equipment, as well as putting strict time limits into place to ensure that you are not exposing yourself to vibration for too long.
If your employer failed to implement these measures and you have been injured as a result, you may be entitled to make an accident at work claim.
What should I do if I want to make a claim?
Ensure that you seek medical attention from a Doctor/General Practitioner soon after your accident, as you may find that the extent of the injury is much more serious than you had originally thought.
Having an official medical report will only strengthen your case further against a negligent employer as it could be used as crucial evidence to prove that you are suffering from an injury. It can also be used to calculate any pay entitlements and benefits that you could be awarded in a successful claim for compensation.
You should also record the incident in the accident book at your workplace, in which you should list the details of the injuries that you have sustained and how the accident happened. It is important to record your accident in the accident book as not only can it be used for evidence in your case, but it can also help to persuade employers to implement new health and safety measures that may have been needed previously.
After you have sustained an accident at work, it is in your best interest to talk to an accident at work solicitor as soon as possible as they can discuss your entitlements with you and advise you on your options going forward.
What can be recovered from vibration white finger claims?
There are a variety of losses that can be recovered following an accident at work that was not your fault. Below are just a few examples:
Loss of income – If you were required to take time off work due to your injuries, you should be able to recover your loss of earnings for the full period of time you were unable to work.
Pain and suffering – The law considers the fact that there is a certain amount of trauma and pain that can be associated with accidents that have happened in the workplace. Therefore, it has made a provision for injured workers to obtain compensation for the same.
Loss of amenity – You may be able to claim an amount of compensation for your loss of amenity. This refers to instances when your injuries have prevented you from participating in activities that you had previously taken part in and enjoyed.
A loss of enjoyment can directly affect your life and can lead to long term effects such as mental health issues like frustration and depression. There is a provision in the law that covers any loss of amenity resulting from an accident at work.
Other financial losses – Other financial losses which were directly caused by the accident at work, such as medical costs and travel costs, can also be recovered as part of a personal injury claim.
Vibration white finger claims: Compensation
General Damages – This refers to the amount of compensation you receive for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
To calculate this amount, we look at previous cases which are similar to yours, together with guidelines that are issued to Judges who decide the outcome of such claims if they go to Court. Your case will be valued on the basis of your injuries as described by suitably qualified medical professionals.
Special Damages – These are any direct financial losses that you may have suffered as a result of your injuries. Typically, these may include loss of earnings up to the settlement, loss of earnings in the future, medical costs, travel costs or the costs of care provided to you.
It is difficult to estimate the amount of compensation you will receive for your injuries without knowing the full extent of your injuries. There are, however, compensation calculators online that can be used to estimate how much you may be able to receive from your workplace injury claim.
Time limits for making vibration white finger claims
The general rule on time limits for making a vibration white finger claim is similar to most other personal injury claims. You have three years from the date of the injury to have either settled your claim or started court proceedings once the accident occurred.
The three-year deadline begins on the date that the accident happened or from the date on which you realised that your injuries were associated with the animal accident.
How much will it cost to make my claim?
We will always be 100% transparent about what our charges are, and if we take on your case, we will almost always do so on a Conditional Fee Agreement (also known as a no-win, no-fee basis).
This means that if you do not win your case, you do not pay us any fees at all. If we win the case, we take a small percentage of your financial compensation, which we will agree with you beforehand, to cover our costs.
We will never ask you to sign anything until you are completely happy with what it is that we are proposing. For more information on this, contact us today to get in touch with a member of our team.
How can Wildwood Legal help with vibration white finger claims?
At Wildwood Legal, our core strength is in personal injury claims. We are experienced in helping Claimants make accident at work claims. We aim to give you not only quality aid but flexibility and clarity as we know that these qualities are just as important.
The law relating to accidents at work is complicated and can be a minefield for the unwary. We will guide you professionally through every step of the journey and make sure that your injury at work claim is presented in the best possible way to ensure maximum possible injury compensation.
We value the opinion of our clients. We will always listen to you and take on board what you say. With 25 years of experience in personal injury law, we can help you with your claim. We always strive to put you at ease and explain the process clearly.
Our aim is to obtain a great outcome for your case, we value the opinion of our clients, and we will always listen to you and take on board what you say. Most importantly, we are on your side.
Our law firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority; therefore, we provide everything that is needed to meet their high standards, meaning that we are a trusted law firm. We offer services to individuals located in England and Wales and have registered offices in Harrogate and London. To make an enquiry, get in contact with us either email us email@example.com or call us 01423 209 046
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