Sarah Brumpton concluded a claim for a client diagnosed with repetitive strain injury (RSI). The claim concluded for a very substantial five figure sum in compensation a matter of days before trial.
Our client had worked as a sewing machinist in a Factory producing fertilizer bags in the North East of England since she left school at the age of 16. At the time of her injury she was 26.
The Claimant’s job involved her stitching both ends of the large fertilizer sacks made from a thick material. She produced between 80-160 of these bags every hour and thus the work was extremely repetitive involving a classic pinch grip of the right thumb and forefingers which made her vulnerable to developing an injury in this area. She also had to hold a pair of small scissors in her hand whilst she worked. The Claimant’s work was not rotated, nor was she allowed adequate breaks. She had little training for her job and no information about the possibility of the risk of developing any injury such as RSI.
In early 2002, the our client's work became more heavy in that she had to start sewing plastic liners into the fertilizer bags which doubled the weight of the bags and increased the pressure on her upper limbs. Her productivity fell. Within a couple of months of this type of work being introduced she had developed tenosynovitis of her right wrist. This diagnosis was made by both her GP and her local hospital.
After a period of sickness absence she returned to work but unfortunately her employers did not re-introduce her to her tasks through a structured system of rehabilitation and she had to continue in her previous work. Critically, no alteration was made to her personal target and bonus so that she was still under pressure to maintain a high output to achieve the maximum weekly bonus.
Unfortunately, her RSI symptoms became chronic with a number of sickness absences ensuing and finally she was unable to perform her duty and her employment was terminated. She remains vulnerable to problems in the future and has to avoid any sort of repetitive use of her right thumb and forefinger. She is at a disadvantage on the labour market.
In this case liability was initially admitted by the insurers for the Defendant company but this admission was retracted when proceedings were issued. The RSI claim nearly reached a trial but settled days before trial.
We managed to source expert evidence from a consultant rheumatologist and a consultant ergonomist.
If you or a loved one has suffered from repetitive strain injuries, such as bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ulnar neuropathy and vibration white finger caused by conditions at work, our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.
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