Are you one of the 370,000 people in Britain affected by an upper limb disorder (“ULD”)?

An umbrella term referring to conditions affecting any part of the arm and neck, ULDs include problems with soft tissue muscles, tendons, ligaments, as well as circulatory and nerve supply to the limb.

And because the symptoms associated with ULDs are wide reaching, they can easily be overlooked. Take, for example, that seemingly innocuous pain or tingling in your hand that you may have put down to nothing more than a hard days’ graft.

But rather unfortunately, that pain, aching, burning, redness or swelling that you might have fobbed off can easily escalate, and lead to loss of earnings and the ability to work.

And since ULDs are often directly linked to workplaces activities, your employer might owe you compensation.

Here are the basics on work related upper arm disorders (‘WRULDs’) and how to start a claim for compensation.

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What is a Work Related Upper Limb Disorder (WRULD)?

Upper limb disorders are conditions affecting the arm and neck, including injuries to the soft tissue muscles, tendons and ligaments, and problems concerning the circulatory and nerve supply to the limb.

When a ULD has been caused or made worse by work it is known as a work related upper limb disorder, or WRULD for short.

Those affected by WRULDs are often diagnosed with the following conditions:

  • Tennis Elbow;
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome;
  • Epicondylitis;
  • Tendonitis;
  • Trigger Finger; and
  • Golfers elbow.

However, any ‘recognised medical condition’ associated with the symptoms described below could in fact be a WRULD.

What are the symptoms of WRULDs?

The symptoms of WRULDs are far reaching, and can range in severity.

As the name suggests, the symptoms affect all areas of the arm, from the finger tips right up to the shoulders and neck, and include:

  • Generalised pain
  • Aching
  • Burning
  • Redness; and
  • Swelling

 

These symptoms are often brought on following increased work load, repetitive movements, changes in posture and lifting unusual or awkward loads at work.

Whilst the symptoms vary, they can progress from at first being rather slight, to later being catastrophic.

Some of the more common examples of WRULDs are:
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Epicondylitis (commonly known as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow)
  • Tenosynovitis
  • Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Bursitis (in the knee, elbow or hand)
  • Trigger Finger
  • Peritendinitis Crepitans
  • Vibration White Finger (VWF)
  • Hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS)

If you believe that you might have a upper limb condition or it has been confirmed by your GP then get in touch with us today.  Remember that upper limb conditions can also include situations were you have pain, but no specific diagnosis.

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What causes WRULDs?

The risk factors associated with WRULDs are:

  • Posture
  • Force
  • Repetition
  • Inadequate working environments

Posture

Shifting a load or using plant or machinery without adopting a correct posture causes stress to the muscles, tendons and nerve supply and can lead to injury

Force

Exerting excessive force whilst rotating the arm or wrist can lead to injuries of muscles, tendons and nerve supply.

Repetition

Constant, repetitive movements, such as those when working on a factory or production line, and common causes of WRULDs because of the unequal level of stress placed on different parts of the body.

Working environment

Factors in the work environment, such as poor lighting, stress, and repetitive duties are also known triggers of WRULDS

Could my employer be liable for my WRULD?

If you’re suffering from a WRULD, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer.

To bring a successful claim for compensation, you will need to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that your employer has breached their duty of care, and that that breach caused your WRULD.

Does my employer owe me a duty of care?

Every employer has a duty of care to protect the health, safety and welfare of her employees. This duty finds its basis in both common law and legislation.

Did my employer breach their duty of care?

Your employer must have breached the duty of care owed to you.

A breach occurs when an employer’s actions fell below the standard that can reasonably be expected from an ordinary, prudent employer.

This depends on the individual facts of the case, so it is important to keep a detailed record of everything that occurred.

Examples of a breach include an employer’s failure to carry out suitable risk assessments or health monitoring.

Was it the breach that caused my injury?

It’s necessary that your employer breached their duty of care to you, and that the breach caused your WRULD.

An example:

Bob works as a labourer on a busy building site. His primary responsibility is to transport heavy bags of cement to and from the cement mixer. Following a hard days graft, he notices a pain developing in his elbow. This pain progresses, and, following a visit to his GP, he is diagnosed with Tennis Elbow (a type of WRULD).

Bob’s employer didn’t carry out a risk assessment to consider the risks associated with the lifting and transporting of heavy bags of cement. Had they have done so, Bob’s employer could have acted so as to reduce the risk to the lowest practicable level. Had they have done so, Bob’s injury could have been avoided.

Is your injury a ‘recognised medical condition’?

Regular aches and pains are not compensatable, unless they result from a recognised medical condition.

There are a wide range of recognised medical conditions that constitute a WRULD; however, some of the more common diagnoses include the following:

  • Tennis elbow;
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome;
  • Epicondylitis;
  • Tendonitis;
  • Golfer’s elbow; and
  • Tennis elbow

How do I claim for WRULD?

If you’re suffering from a WRULD, Michael Lewin Solicitors can help you bring a claim.

Our Industrial Disease team specialises in WRULD claims, and we’re known for making the claims process as simple as possible.

An initial consultation is completely free, and we accept all claims on a no-win-no-fee basis.

This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you needn’t pay us a penny!

If you want to start your claim for WRULD today, contact Michael Lewin Solicitors on 0113 270 9787 or email cameronpotter@michaellewin.co.uk.

How much compensation could I get for a upper limb disorder?

Putting a figure on the potential claim amount without talking to you first is impossible to say, but we fight for an award for you that covers the following:

  • Pain and suffering caused
  • Medical costs incurred and ongoing
  • Loss of income (past and future)
  • Future medical treatment and care

Get in touch with us today

If you think that you have been affected by a Work Related Upper Limb Disorder, get in touch with us by completing the form opposite, call us on 0113 200 9787 or email us at enquiries@michaellewin.co.uk.

Don’t ignore something now that you will later wish you had claimed for.

If we believe that you have a potential claim then we will act for you on a “No Win No Fee” basis, meaning that if you are unsuccessful you will not pay anything for our work, no matter how long we have been acting for you.

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