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Repetitive strain injury claims

If you’ve suffered a repetitive strain injury through work and it wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to make a claim.

What is a repetitive strain injury or RSI?

Repetitive strain injury is also referred to as RSI and occurs when repetitive movements cause injury to the soft tissues – usually affecting the arm, hand, shoulder or elbow. RSI basically refers to the symptoms of some upper limb disorders and is typically caused by unsafe working practices. If you’re suffering repetitive strain injury because your employer has breached their duty of care, you may well be able to claim accident at work compensation.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is not, in reality, a recognised medical condition or injury in the UK in and of itself, but is a general term for a number of different symptoms and conditions. What is a very real experience for sufferers is that RSI is painful and can be debilitating, sometimes preventing the sufferer from undertaking their work and their usual day to day activities while they recover. Though usually an upper body disorder, RSI can also affect the knees and the feet.

Most RSI sufferers are office workers who use keyboards for long periods of time, injuring the soft tissues in the hands, elbows or wrists. But you can also develop RSI from working in, eg the construction industry; from using repetitive use of tools and machinery; and lifting heavy objects with insufficient breaks.

RSI can also lead to other painful conditions of the upper limbs, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and tennis elbow. Thankfully, individuals who have suffered work related upper limb injuries, such as RSI, through no fault of their own can make personal injury compensation claims.

If you’ve not yet seen a doctor, it is important to get treatment for RSI symptoms as soon as possible. The most important step you can then take is to call 0800 234 6438 for specialist advice as to how you can claim compensation free under a no win no fee agreement. Or if you prefer, you can request a call back via the contact form on this page. No win no fee claims are taken under a conditional fee agreement with specialist RSI solicitors who are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

DID YOU KNOW: Half of those who work with computers suffer from RSI symptoms; with wrists being most at risk of injury
SOURCE: Ergonomic Trends

What are upper limb disorders?

Upper limb disorders are an overuse condition or injury affecting the soft tissues within the arm, hand and fingers, wrist, elbow or shoulder. The physical damage from repetitive strain may be to the nerves, tendons, muscles or cartilage, causing usually temporary pain and suffering. In serious cases where recovery takes long periods of time, the injured person may experience chronic pain and be unable to work or undertaking their usual activities.

Anyone suffering repetitive strain injury (RSI), or other upper limb disorder or injury, through no fault of their own should be able to seek RSI compensation for their injury. You can contact a trained advisor for a free consultation on 0800 234 6438 about starting a no win no fee repetitive strain injury compensation claim.


Musculoskeletal diseases like RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and golfer’s or tennis elbow affect around 10 million people in the UK. This is more than those suffering heart disease or cancers

SOURCE: University of Leeds

What are the symptoms of RSI?

The typical tell-tale signs of repetitive strain injury (RSI) are an ache and stiffness in the affected area. You may also develop pain and throbbing and experience general weakness and reduced movement in the hand or arm. Other common symptoms include tingling and numbness, a burning sensation, cramps and swelling.

Relief can be given by taking painkillers and using heat or cold packs to help with the pain and any swelling. Sometimes, gentle movement of the arm or hand can help ease your symptoms and help recovery.

We understand that you may mistake the symptoms for general wear and tear, particularly if you’re older. However, where the symptoms are directly caused or exacerbated by, for example, your working practices, you can still make a no win no fee repetitive strain injury claim for compensation against the person responsible.

It is wise to see your GP as soon as you can for a diagnosis and treatment. Assuming it is RSI, your medical notes and formal diagnosis will be important evidence to support your repetitive strain injury claims.

What types of RSI are there?

There are two main types of repetitive strain injury (RSI):

  • Type 1: Musculoskeletal disorders where there is visible swelling or inflammation, and an associated diagnosable medical condition (eg vibration white finger syndrome) usually involving nerve damage
  • Type 2: Diffuse RSI cases: these are undiagnosed conditions, but which are usually the result of nerve damage

The constant pain that RSI may be causing every day can leave you feeling drained, depressed and frustrated; and if left unattended, the symptoms can seriously affect your quality of life.

Making repetitive strain injury claims may seem like an added stress at an already difficult time, but compensation can help you on the road to recovery. By speaking with a trained legal adviser, you’ll be able to find out if you can make an RSI claim, so get in touch for free on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in the secure online form to arrange a call back.


RSI related injuries cost UK industry up to an estimated £20 billion each year in lost production


How long does it take to recover from RSI?

Mild cases of repetitive strain injury (RSI) can disappear within days or a few weeks; but serious cases can take many months to completely heal. Medical treatment such as physiotherapy may be recommended to help the injured person recover. You may have to have time off work to allow a period of rest and a long period of time for recuperation.

However, in severe cases a repetitive strain injury can lead to chronic or permanent pain and immobility in the muscles and tendons, hands/wrists or the elbow or shoulder. It’s only fair that if someone else is to blame for your repetitive strain injuries, they should be held responsible and pay out RSI compensation.

Can RSI be a permanent condition?

If the injury is left untreated or, for instance, you’re expected to continue to undertake the work that caused the repetitive strain injury (RSI) symptoms in the first place – you are at risk of suffering a chronic condition. It is vital that you don’t ignore your injury; and you should avoid the temptation to carry on as normal.

If you haven’t told your employer that you’re suffering symptoms of RSI, it’s really important you tell them so that there is opportunity for your employer to make reasonable adjustments to your working practices. And if they fail to do so, they will have breached their duty of care towards you and must be held responsible.

In long-term cases of repetitive strain injuries, surgery could eventually become an option – but it will usually be a last resort. Taking advantage of other available medical treatments and therapies as soon as you can may reduce the risk of your condition becoming chronic. The last thing you want is to be unable to work; but if your work related RSI condition has cost you your job you may be able to seek substantial RSI compensation against your employer.

What types of work carry the risk of developing RSI?

Work related RSI injuries can be caused in many different industries and sectors, ranging from construction and factory workers; to hairdressing and working in an office. Any type of work related practice that involve repetitive movements risk causing repetitive strain injury including:

  • Manual labourers, such as builders, plasterers and mechanics and those using tools and machinery
  • Food pickers and workers on assembly lines
  • Supermarket checkout operators and cashiers
  • Computer programmers and data inputters
  • Writers, hairdressers and beauticians
  • Machinists

If you’re in any of these professions or job role and you’re suffering from repetitive strain injury, it is sensible to get free initial advice from an experienced claims solicitor at a specialist personal injury law firm. You will never be pushed into making an RSI claim if you don’t want to. And just to let you know, if you do choose to go ahead, then National Accident Helpline may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

What is an employer’s responsibility to keep me safe?

Employers are required to protect workers from the risk of injury in the workplace. Their legal responsibilities are clearly set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as well as other regulations, such as the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. RSI can be caused in almost any workplace. To protect workers and employers from the risk of developing RSI, and other types of upper limb injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome, employers should:

  • provide adequate training and supervision
  • provide suitable equipment to allow workers to to do their job safely, such as an adjustable chair
  • allow for regular breaks from repetitive tasks
  • allowing sufficient time to carry out tasks
  • carry out regular risk assessments and make reasonable adjustments to your work space, equipment as appropriate

The HSE has also provided employers with a useful Assessment of Repetitive Tasks (ART) tool to help them identify higher risk tasks.

Everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe from the risk of injury while they’re at work. The legal duty of care towards workers provides reassurance that you can go to work and do your job free of the risk of injury. Unfortunately, there are cases where employers fail in their responsibilities and an injury is caused. Making a no win no fee claim can help you get the compensation you need, and highlight safety problems in your workplace so that your colleagues don’t suffer in the same way you have.

Read more about claiming for an accident at work

DID YOU KNOW: In Great Britain in 2018/2019, an estimated 6.9 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders, including RSI.

The importance of employers’ liability insurance

Employers’ Liability Insurance is a legal requirement for anyone who employs one or more people (Gov.UK). Repetitive strain injuries can result in long-term damage and often require ongoing care.

Insurance policies are there to cover the costs associated with compensation claims, and each employee receives money when negligence occurs.

Your employer should have insurance in place, which will make the claims process easier and ensure you receive a fair amount.

What are the common causes of repetitive strain injuries at work?

Many people who suffer from repetitive strain injury have been hurt because their employer has not fulfilled their health and safety obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related rules and guidance. These are the most common causes of work-related RSI:

  • Undertaking repetitive work with insufficient breaks
  • Using power or vibrating tools but the vibration of risks have not been managed
  • Not having enough time to do repetitive work in a safe manner
  • Doing repetitive work awkwardly because you’ve not been given enough room to work safely
  • Inadequate training and supervision
  • Not having appropriate equipment, such as an adjustable chair
  • Being required to work in inclement temperatures
  • Undertaking repetitive manual handling tasks involving undue strain

Preventative measures for RSI

Your employer should also take preventative measures to reduce the risks of RSI. While these injuries are mostly avoidable, many managers and owners don’t understand they differ from traditional accidents.

Repetitive strain injuries are preventable with the following steps:

  • Regular Breaks: Employers should let workers in sedentary jobs take regular breaks where they can move around.
  • Ergonomics: workstations should have ergonomic designs to support the lumbar system, with keyboard, monitor and mouse positioning. Equipment is also important, and employers should provide this.
  • Posture Corrections: Maintaining the correct posture is also crucial to preventing issues. Try to sit straight when working and keep your legs on the floor.

Any worker suffering RSI may be able to make a no win no fee RSI compensation claim against the employer, so call for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438. Or, if you’d prefer, you can fill in the secure online form to arrange a call back.

Could medical negligence cause RSI?

There are situations where doctors have delayed a diagnosis of RSI symptoms or given a wrong diagnosis, leading to a worsening of the condition. A delayed diagnosis of repetitive strain injuries could make all the difference between a short recovery time and suffering permanent disability.

If doctors or health professionals are to blame for the extent of your condition, you should be able to start a medical negligence claim for RSI compensation.

How can RSI affect your quality of life?

Serious cases of repetitive strain injury (RSI) can have devastating effects on your everyday life – even cooking, carrying bags or driving a car can be extremely painful, because of the challenges of gripping, moving your arm and holding things. Even minor repetitive strain injury cases can be painful and affect your life in some way. Simple tasks that we take for granted, like typing or writing, or making a cup of tea can be awkward and painful.

But whether your condition is minor or severe, your ability to get on with normal life may well be disadvantaged. It’s easy to brush aside the symptoms of repetitive strain injury and similar conditions, and just accept it as a side-effect of your job. But usually, these conditions are avoidable, which means you shouldn’t be left to cope with the consequences of a condition which wasn’t your fault.

How to begin a compensation claim for repetitive strain injuries?

The first step in making any compensation claim is to get free legal advice by calling 0800 234 6438. An advisor will evaluate your case and connect you with a no win no fee solicitor if they feel you’re eligible for compensation.

Specialist solicitors have years of experience in RSI claims and will be able to go through the case with you.

The claims process works with the following steps:

  1. Contact a legal advisory service to discuss your injury and how it occurred.
  2. Meet with a no win no fee legal service with decades of experience arguing these cases.
  3. Your lawyer will gather evidence on your behalf. It’s also helpful if you collect evidence, too.
  4. They’ll then present your case to the negligent party’s insurance provider, who might ask you to attend a medical assessment.
  5. Negotiations will continue while both sides agree on compensation.
  6. Once the claim settles, your solicitor will take their fee out of your compensation amount, and you can move on.

Can I make an RSI personal injury claim using no win no fee?

Due to the physical pain repetitive strain injury (RSI) can bring to your daily life, you may have had to take time off work or find a different job. This means that on top of your pain and suffering, you might have received less pay than usual and might have had to fork out for prescriptions or medical treatment. These can build up to make your financial situation much more stressful than it needs to be.

Thankfully, with expert assistance from personal injury lawyers, you can make a compensation claim for RSI compensation on a no win no fee basis. No win no fee removes the financial risks of making personal injury claims because you’ll not have to pay out any legal fees if you don’t win. And if your RSI claim is successful, you will pay a ‘success fee’ to your solicitor to cover your legal costs. The success fee will be a percentage of the compensation you receive, up to a maximum of 25% (so you’ll still get to keep most of it).

Click here to find out more about no win no fee.

When should I make my RSI claim?

It is always prudent to take the first steps towards making repetitive strain injury claims as soon as possible. In most personal injury claims, e.g. vibration white finger claims, you have three years from the date of injury in which to start legal proceedings. After three years, your claim could be time barred.

However, the law allows for the fact that the symptoms of RSI and other types of condition can take some time to become apparent. Therefore, in these cases the three-year period starts to run either from the date of the injury or from the date of ‘knowledge’, ie the date on which you could reasonably have become aware of the cause of your RSI symptoms. If you’re unsure where you stand with your own claim, don’t worry because your solicitor will talk you through the background and advise you about your situation.

To find out whether you could make a claim, you can talk it through with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, or request a call back using the claim form on this page.

What compensation could I claim?

How much compensation you may receive for RSI will depend on a number of different factors. For example, your solicitor will look at the cause of the RSI, the impact it’s had – and is continuing to have – on your life and your recovery time.

If your medical expert takes the view that you may have this condition for a long time or even permanently, your compensation amount could be significantly larger than if you were to recover quickly. Given that solicitors look at each case on an individual basis, they can’t tell you exactly how much you could receive before starting your claim. However, you can be sure your solicitor will work towards recovering the maximum compensation for your condition.

As well as compensation for your pain and suffering (this is called ‘general damages’), you can also claim compensation for any reasonable financial losses caused by having RSI. This is called ‘special damages’ and your solicitor will ask you about any money you’ve had to pay out as a direct result of your condition.

What compensation amounts do you get for RSI?

It’s natural to want to know how much compensation you are likely to receive for your repetitive strain injury claim, but it depends very much on your own circumstances. However, there are formal guidelines (the Judicial College Guidelines) which lawyers refer to when calculating what compensation payments someone could be entitled to for repetitive strain injury claims.

As a general guide, these are some of the figures provided by the Judicial College for compensation claims:

  • Severe repetitive strain injury with ongoing disability and unable to work: £21,910 – £23,130
  • Moderate RSI which heals within 3 years: £8,640 – £10,750
  • Mild RSI lasting a few weeks or months: £2,200 – £3,530

You can also use our compensation calculator to get a guideline figure.Your solicitor will work hard to secure the maximum compensation amount you’re owed for your injury, allowing you to move on with your life.

A 41-year-old former worker at a Nissan car factory was awarded £100,000 after suffering RSI in his knees from repeatedly having to climb up and down a small flight of steps to check/repair up to 450 cars per shift. His request for reasonable adjustments was ignored and he went on to suffer significant cartilage damage


A 41-year-old factory worker who developed RSI while packing a new product in the finishing department won £3,000 in compensation for his injuries. Geoffrey Coleman was employed at a factory in Kendal, Cumbria

SOURCE: Hazards magazine

What out of pocket expenses can I claim?

Your special damages compensation claim is intended to cover the financial cost of your condition, though it will only cover your reasonable expenses. The most common items that injured people claim for include:

  • Loss of earnings, including loss of future earnings
  • Medical expenses, eg the cost of physiotherapy or splints or supports for muscles / tendons
  • Cost of travel expenses to medical appointments
  • Any time a loved one may have taken off work to help you recover

I’m concerned about my employer retaliating if I make a claim. Should I be?

Anyone who suffers an injury or condition because of their working practices can make compensation claims. However, we understand the worry about possible repercussions at work for those making a repetitive strain injury compensation claim. Thankfully, there are laws to protect you from being unfairly dismissed or treated differently, such as the Employment Rights Act 1996. It is illegal for an employer to sack or discipline a worker for making a compensation claim.

So if you were to lose your job, or suffer harassment after making your repetitive strain injury compensation claim, you should be able to take legal action against your employer under employment laws.

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is also classed as a disability. This means if you’re still working, your employer must make reasonable adjustments while you’re at work. It’s even more important if you’ve formally reported your condition to your employer. If they don’t make any changes and you’re left with no alternative but to leave work, you may be able to make a separate claim for unfair dismissal under employment law.

Will my claim leave my employer out of pocket?

It’s very common for an injured person to ask themselves: Will my employer be left out of pocket? We understand this worry can put additional emotional pressure on you if you’re concerned that by making a claim, your employer will lose money in what are already difficult economic circumstances for many businesses.

However, your employer will have insurance covering the risk of personal injury compensation claims. This means that if you do win compensation, the insurer will make the injury claims pay out – not your employer. This can be hugely reassuring.

Will I need to gather any evidence?

Yes, to build a strong claim against your employer you will need to collect what evidence you can to help with your compensation claim. Your injury solicitor will be able to give you more information on what they will need. For example, it can be useful to:

  • gather photos and descriptions of your workstation or the equipment you were using
  • give details of how long you have been/were employed in your role
  • say whether a risk assessment was carried out before you started your role and whether regular risk assessments were carried out
  • whether your employer made any adjustments when presented with your condition
  • think about what level of training and supervision you were given for the repetitive tasks you had to undertake

It can also be helpful to write down details of any times you informed your employer of the problems you were experiencing, as well as any witnesses. If possible, you should keep records of any medical treatment you’ve received, but your solicitor will request your medical notes in time.

How can we prove that my employer is responsible for RSI?

Your solicitor will have to prove on balance that your employer breached its legal duty of care by failing to protect you from developing RSI as a result of your working practice. For instance, if your solicitor can show that your employer failed under health and safety regulations to risk assess your working environment, failed to allow regular breaks or did not make reasonable adjustments which you requested, your claim should succeed.

However, a sticking point in work related RSI claims can be that employers can try to argue that your symptoms must have been caused by, for example, a leisure activity and not your work. So it’s really important that you give as a detailed picture as you can of what was expected of you at work, when and how your symptoms developed – and details of any outside sports and leisure activities you do so that your solicitor can reject any claim that your RSI is not work-related.

Will I need additional medical evidence?

When an individual claims repetitive strain injury compensation, their solicitor will arrange for them to have a medical assessment carried out by a specialist doctor experienced in RSI symptoms. This will happen in your personal injury case.

The specialist will produce a report on your condition and your prognosis, including whether you’re likely to need ongoing treatment. This medical report will be important evidence to support your case. But you don’t need to worry about the cost, as this will be covered by your no win no fee agreement. You’ll only pay for it if your RSI claim is successful.

If you’re still unsure whether you could make a claim for repetitive strain injury in the workplace, you can call free on 0800 234 6438 to speak to a trained legal adviser. Or you can submit your details using the claim form to request a call back.

How long do I have to start my claim?

Normally, an injured person has three years from the date of injury to start legal proceedings. After the three-year period has passed, you could be ‘time-barred’ from making a claim. However, there is important flexibility in cases such as RSI and other conditions that develop gradually. In these situations, the three-year ‘limitation period’ begins on the date of knowledge, in other words, the date on which you could have been expected to know what caused your symptoms.

Your solicitor will be able to give you expert advice on whether you can make an RSI claim. For help and advice about making RSI claims, speak to a solicitor for free on 0800 234 6438 or if you prefer, you can request a call back using the claim form on this page.

What treatment options are available for RSI?

When you receive your compensation, you can access a range of treatment options that will reduce the symptoms of RSI and help you manage the condition. They include:

  • Physical Therapy: Therapists can offer a range of exercises and strengthening activities that help you regain mobility and flexibility.
  • Massages: Regular massages will enhance your quality of life and make pain management easier.
  • Splints: Splinting is the first line of treatment because it immobilises the wrist and arm, giving them rest. Some people might use splints when they feel their symptoms flare up.
  • Occupational Therapists: Occupational therapy can help you learn adaptive behaviours and give employers tips on using the right equipment, making it easier for you to return to work.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Severe injuries that cause ongoing pain and swelling can benefit from corticosteroid injections.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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