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Any activity that puts excessive force on the muscles that connect the wrist to the elbow can strain the inner part of the elbow joint. The body reacts to this strain with painful inflammation. Those affected complain of an ache or pain in the elbow joint and the surrounding muscles. When they lift their wrist with the palm up (as if picking up and holding a tray) the pain worsens and movements that involve flexion or pronation can be unbearable.
The risk of developing epicondylitis is higher in manually intensive occupations, but anyone including typists, computer programmers or office workers could be at risk of developing epicondylitis. Those who regularly operate heavy vibrating equipment are also liable to suffer from epicondylitis as well as vibration white finger (VWF).
Your employer has a duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in repetitive manual work or use a keyboard regularly. They should comply with the appropriate regulations governing preventative measures and equipment. If your employer has failed in their duty to protect you in the workplace you are well within your rights to bring a claim against them.
Epicondylitis and tennis elbow government help and benefits
An independent body called The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) advises the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on whether a disease should be included in the list of ‘prescribed diseases’ and therefore whether anyone who suffers from such a condition is entitled to help from the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit Scheme (IIDB).
The latest IIAC report published in June 2015 says that it can find no evidence to support adding epicondylitis or any specific occupational exposure to the list of prescribed diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is paid.
Government help and benefits for epicondylitis therefore is restricted to those based upon the nature and the severity of the disability you experience as a result of suffering epicondylitis, not the disease itself. To find out exactly what you are entitled to, speak to your lawyer or trades union representative or visit your local Jobcentre Plus. Other useful sources of help and information include Arthritis Research UK.
There have been many recent changes to benefits, such as personal independent payments (PIP) gradually replacing disability living allowance, but in general government support is still either means-tested, based on current income and savings, or based on the National Insurance (NI) contributions and an assessment of the level of your disability.
How do I make an epicondylitis and tennis elbow claim
If you or a relative are experiencing problems which you suspect may be a result of repetitive strain injuries sustained at work, the first thing to do is see your GP to get a confirmed diagnosis of epicondylitis. This is not only essential to determine what treatment and rehabilitation you might need, but also gives us a much firmer basis of a recognised and diagnosed condition on which to proceed with your claim.
The symptoms of epicondylitis may appear only gradually, so for a claim to have any prospect of success there needs to be a viable diagnosis and a causative link between the condition and the nature of your work. There are strict time limits within which you must claim, but if successful your claim will help compensate for any loss of earnings and meet the cost of any care or future treatment and rehabilitation you may require.
It is sometimes possible to get legal advice through your trades union, which may have arrangements in place with a specified panel solicitor. You are not obliged to use the firm proposed and can ask any law firm to represent you in these cases.
However, these claims are as complex and demanding as any medical negligence or personal injury case. Whichever firm you select, is important that they specialise in this work and have good, established, relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts whose evidence will be crucial to your claim.
If I have an epicondylitis and tennis elbow case
Epicondylitis is a form of repetitive strain injury (RSI), but it's important to remember that RSI is only an umbrella term used to describe a group of musculo-skeletal disorders, not an actual disease.
These conditions are generally caused by repetitive movements or overuse, however, it is often difficult to prove conclusively that the condition was a result of your work. Establishing causation (linking the injury to the work environment) is crucial in these claims. A diagnosis of epicondylitis by your GP is no guarantee that a claim will succeed.
Recent changes to the law mean that the onus of positively proving that the employer was at fault has now shifted to the claimant in an industrial disease or injury claim. However, employers are still obliged to provide the correct equipment and training to ensure industrial diseases and injuries are prevented. If they obviously failed to do so, then we are more likely to be able to prove their negligence and causation and make a successful claim.
Access Legal's expert epicondylitis lawyers will listen to your story to see whether you do have a case. Don't worry about the cost of making a claim and don't be put off seeking our help because you are concerned about your future employment. The law protects employees who make a valid claim and we will always find ways to help you, including no-win-no-fee, that best suit your individual needs.
More about epicondylitis and tennis elbow claims
Epicondylitis is caused by an inflammation of the epicondyle - the area immediately around the elbow joint. Lateral epicondylitis (‘tennis elbow’) is the most common form of the condition, affecting the outer part of the elbow. Medial epicondylitis, (golfer’s elbow) affects the inner part of the elbow.
Office workers, labourers, painters and decorators, truck drivers and fork lift operators are particularly susceptible as their work routinely involves the kind of repetitive movements that put strain on the joints. Butchers and automobile assembly line workers seem especially at risk of contracting both lateral and medial epicondylitis.
Whatever the occupation of the victim, epicondylitis can have chronic and lasting effects, making even small everyday tasks like writing, picking up smaller objects and opening a door extremely painful.
Your employer has a legal duty to protect your health and safety, especially if you are involved in any form of repetitive manual work. If overuse of the elbow was foreseeable and preventable, your employer is obliged to take steps to prevent or mitigate the possible risks involved.
Settlement for tennis elbow repetitive strain injury
Our client was employed as a line operative. Her job involved opening boxes of skillets, turning the open box upside down, emptying the skillets onto a conveyor then placing a weight against the upright skillets
As a result of her physically demanding job, she was diagnosed with tennis elbow.Find out how Access Legal helped their client secure the compensation she deserved by reading the full case study here.
I joined Access Legal in 2008 as head of the Personal Injury Team in Birmingham and was made a Partner in 2011. I have been undertaking personal injury work for over 20 years, specialising in industrial disease claims. I only act for the victims of industrial diseases and accidents.View full profile
'You need to have a legal team who are caring, who you absolutely trust and who will tell you the truth. Certainly from our point of view Denise Stephens from Access Legal has been absolutely amazing.'
Our experts understand the importance of dealing with claims quickly and sympathetically. We'll work hard on your behalf to give you financial security and fund any care and support you may require.Why Access Legal