Industrial Disease Claims

Vibration White Finger Claims

Vibration white finger (VWF), otherwise known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), is a common industrial injury caused by regular extended use of vibrating tools. If you've developed this condition because of work, our solicitors could help you make a HAVS compensation claim.

Just about any kind of vibrating tool, no matter the size, can cause repetitive strain injuries like VWF if they're not handled correctly. Employers have a duty of care to train their employees and provide them with protection from conditions like vibration white finger, but this is sadly not always the case.

VWF affects the blood vessels, joints and nerves of the wrist and hand. The condition can be long-lasting, and even debilitating in serious cases. The most common symptoms are:

  • A whiteness starting at the tips of the fingers spreading down the fingers towards the palm of the hand
  • Tingling, numbness or pain in the fingers
  • A white or intense red colour in the fingers
  • A significant loss of dexterity in the fingers and hands, making it hard to grip

Our lawyers have specialist expertise in vibration white finger compensation claims. In the late 1990s we handled a series of claims against British Coal, resulting in 40,000 former miners receiving £500 million for vibration white finger. We use this expertise to make the claims process as simple as possible for you, handling every aspect of your claim and offering advice in plain English.

Contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation. We’ll advise on whether we think you can claim and discuss your options.

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Lead firm in the British Coal VWF cases
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  • Mark Allen
  • Associate Director
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Vibration White Finger Claims - More Information
    • How Much Compensation Can I Expect?
    • How much compensation you receive after a work-related illness will depend on a few factors related to your illness, its circumstances, and the support and rehabilitation you need.

      The amount of compensation you could claim is based on:

      • Current and future loss of earnings
      • Medical and travel expenses you've had to pay
      • Your care and support needs – both now and in the future
      • Modifications to your home
      • Mobility aids
      • Your pain and suffering

      For more information, call us on 0800 056 4110 and we'll be happy to discuss your options in a free initial consultation.

    • Can I Make A No Win No Fee* Claim?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case, we'll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household or car insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you're best supported by a No Win No Fee* agreement, we'll explain the process clearly. You'll only have to pay anything if your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees, with the remaining costs coming out of your compensation settlement.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • Usually you need to make a compensation claim within three years of becoming aware that your illness might be linked to your work.

      In fatal cases, the family of the deceased has three years to make a claim, starting from either the date your loved one died, or the date you received the post-mortem results.

      If your illness occurred while working outside of the UK, then the time limit can be shorter. In this instance, it's vital that you contact us as soon as possible.

      If you have any concerns or questions about the time limit for claiming compensation, call our team today on 0800 056 4110 for free initial advice and to talk through your options.

    • Can I Get Early Compensation Payments?
    • Early compensation payments, also known as interim payments, are made in advance of any final settlement. They’re only made in an agreement with your opponent, if they admit that they're responsible for your illness.

      Interim payments can be used to replace lost earnings, so you can afford to pay essential bills if your illness has meant you’ve been absent from work, as well as covering the cost of specialist medical care or mobility equipment.

      We'll work hard to get an early admission of fault, and also to obtain early compensation payments to relieve any immediate financial pressures you’re feeling.

    • Will I Lose My Job If I Claim Against My Employers?
    • If you wish to make a claim against your current employer, then any compensation would be paid by their insurer. It has been compulsory to have insurance for many years, so it’s highly likely that they will have this in place. There are also legal safeguards in place to protect you from unfair dismissal.

      This basically means that your employer must be able to justify their reason for dismissing you in relation to your claim, which is highly unlikely. If you want to discuss this subject in more detail, our workplace illness solicitors will be able to talk you through your rights and what you can expect.

If I did not understand anything, I would just ask him to explain things and he would explain it all to me.”

Peter, client

Frequently Asked Questions

How Should My Employer Have Protected Me From Vibration White Finger Risks?

Vibration white finger (VWF), also known as hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), is avoidable if workers using vibrating tools and machinery do so in the approved manner according to industrial and safety regulations.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act, employers have a duty of care to their employees and must make sure that workers get all of the information and protective equipment that they need to work safely. Your employer should:

  • Make sure that risks from vibration are controlled
  • Provide information and instruction on the risk
  • Monitor your health in relation to the risk
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as anti-vibration gloves
  • Ensure you can take adequate breaks from using vibrating equipment

Taking breaks is perhaps the most essential factor. Hammer-action tools like drills shouldn’t be used for longer than 15 minutes at a time, while other vibrating tools begin to create a risk after an hour of use.

If you haven’t been provided with any information on the risk of hand-arm vibration syndrome or vibration white finger, or haven't been given adequate breaks or PPE, then your employer's negligence could have put you at risk. Despite updated regulations being put in place as recently as 2005, there are still 3,000 new cases of VWF recorded every year.

If you think you might be entitled to claim HAVS compensation, call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation.

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What's The Claims Process For A Vibration White Finger Claim?

All you need to do to begin a claim for vibration white finger is contact us. We'll discuss your condition, and the work you've done with vibrating tools that could have contributed to it.

You can call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation. If we think you've got a case, your claim will usually progress through these four stages:

Stage One: Information Gathering

You'll have a medical examination with an expert in musculoskeletal disorders to assess your symptoms. They'll consider the severity of your condition and what might have caused it, and whether you're definitely suffering from hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

The main symptoms are tingling, numbness and pain in the hand and fingers. A loss of dexterity that makes it difficult to grip things or handle small objects is also common, and the most disruptive symptom. However, the most visible sign is the white discoloration of the fingers – which gives the condition its name – that can eventually turn to an intense red.

Stage Two: Rehabilitation

Hand-arm vibration syndrome is often irreversible, but there are treatments that can reduce the symptoms to a manageable level, such as medication and physiotherapy, and we can help you access these from a provider close to your home.

Stage Three: Compensation

We'll calculate how much compensation you need based on a few factors, including:

  • The severity of your condition
  • Medical expenses you’ve had to pay, or will have in the future
  • Your occupation, and the impact your condition will have on your ability to work
  • Your pain and suffering

We'll then put the case to your employer (or former employer). They may accept blame early on, or could challenge the findings, which would result in the claim being settled in court. Most claims settle out of court – but if you do have to go to court we will be there to support you.

Stage Four: Conclusion

When your case concludes, you'll be awarded compensation if you're successful. Our fees will mostly be paid by your opponent, with a portion of your compensation settlement covering the rest.

If we agreed to handle your claim under a No Win No Fee* arrangement, then you won't have to pay anything if you were unsuccessful.

If you have any questions about the claims process for vibration white finger, please contact us today on 0800 056 4110.

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Why Choose Irwin Mitchell For A Vibration White Finger Claim?

As the lead firm in the British Coal vibration white finger cases, we have a proven track record in successful claims for hand-arm vibration syndrome, as well as many other repetitive strain injuries and conditions caused by an employer's negligence. We act on behalf of a number of trade unions, but we can still help you make a claim if you're not a member of one.

We have been incredibly active in fighting for compensation for those affected by vibration white finger, challenging the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to change its policies in favour of workers.

Claiming compensation from an employer, whether past or present, can seem daunting, particularly if they're a large company. We believe that no one who's been injured because of work should be put off from claiming compensation that they're entitled to, so we aim to make the claims process as simple as possible for everyone. We handle every aspect of your case, letting you know exactly what we need from you, and offering plain English advice when there are decisions for you to make.

We want to make sure that you receive the best compensation possible, and receive the medical care that you need. To find out more about how to claim for vibration white finger, and how we can help, call us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation about your claim.

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Rehabilitation means different things to different people. For some it’s being able to return to work, while for others it’s being able to become more independent around the house. Our personal injury solicitors are here for you whatever your situation is, and you can be reassured that we’ll help you access the care and support you need to make the best recovery possible.

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