This refers to claims for osteoarthritis caused by certain types of workplace activities, e.g. mining. This condition occurs over a long period of time - usually after several years of performing the same activity at work.
If you have developed osteoarthritis as a result of a workplace activity, e.g. using a road drill then you may be able to claim compensation.
This medical condition develops when cartilage within a joint wears down due to repeated pressure or as a result of an injury. Constant movements also have this effect.
Cartilage enables the joints to move easily and smoothly. But once the cartilage becomes worn down it causes the bones to increase in size and weight which impedes this movement. This results in pain, stiffness and difficulty in moving.
This is known as osteoarthritis and usually affects the hips, knees, elbow, fingers and thumbs.
If you have developed osteoarthritis due to an injury or excessive force and you suspect this has been caused by your job then you may be entitled to compensation.
Types of work activity which cause osteoarthritis
There are certain types of activity which are likely to cause osteoarthritis. They include:
- Using a percussive tool or machinery, e.g. drill
- Actions which strain the joint to its limits
- Repetitive forceful actions
- Repetitive impact on a joint
If your job involves actions such as these then you should have been safeguarded against the risk of injury or illness such as osteoarthritis.
Your employer has to provide reasonable measures to minimise this risk especially in jobs which are known to carry this risk.
But if this is missing or is not properly implemented then your health is at risk. If this has happened then they may be liable for compensation.
Effects of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition which affects your ability to function on a day to day level. It restricts your movement and if serious enough, can force you to change jobs or give up work altogether.
All of this has serious consequences for you and your family. If you are unable to work then it means a loss of earnings, and possibly pension rights. It also means a vastly reduced income which then affects your standard of living.
Any drop in living standards puts a strain upon you and your family and only adds to the stress caused by your injury.
This is where compensation can help. If you have incurred additional expense as a result of your illness then compensation can cover all of this and moiréwhich may ease the stress a little.
Making a claim for compensation for osteoarthritis
Find a solicitor or personal injury layer who has dealt with workplace illness claims such as these. They should have many years of experience in handling these types of claims and will advise and support you through your claim.
But before this goes ahead they will conduct an initial assessment of your claim to see if there are sufficient grounds for doing so, and that there is suitable evidence to support it.
The onus is on the employer to prove that they took reasonable steps to minimise the risk of osteoarthritis and other similar conditions. If this protection was flawed then they may be held liable for your illness.
For more information about the claims process, visit our making a claim for compensation section.
Time limit for claiming compensation for osteoarthritis
There is a 3 year time limit for personal injury claims but this may differ in workplace claims such as these. Check with your lawyer or solicitor about the time limit for your claim.
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