Occupational HAVS Injury Claim Case Study

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Our client, a welder from Stirlingshire, had been diagnosed with Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) and believed that he had developed the condition as a result of occupational conditions. He hoped to secure a suitable settlement of work-related vibration injury compensation and was referred to Thompsons through his union.

The background

The claimant provided our industrial injury solicitors with a full outline of his employment history. We were able to ascertain that he had been exposed to vibration in the course of his employment – beginning with his first job in 1982 – and that this period encompassed approximately seven different employers.

Our team undertook investigations into each of these employers and attempted to identify insurance interests for all of them. Of the seven, we were able to trace insurance for approximately four; this covered the majority of the claimant's occupational exposure to vibration.

The consequences

We recovered the former welder's medical records and instructed an expert medical report from a consultant general and vascular surgeon; this confirmed the diagnosis of HAVS at Stage 2V and 1SN on the Stockholm Scale, a relatively mild form of the condition.

We disclosed the medical report to the insurers with settlement proposals. However, we received no satisfactory response so proceeded to raise court action in the All-Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court.

We then proceeded to instruct an expert report on liability from an ergonomics consultant at Hu-Tech. This evidence advised that three of the four defenders were likely to have been in breach of their duties under the control of Vibration at Work Regulations, so we decided to proceed on this basis.

The settlement

Matters were discussed at a pre-trial Meeting where the defenders argued that the HAVS injury claim was time-barred as the claimant had been aware of his symptoms for a number of years before seeking advice about pursuing a claim.

Despite the potential time-bar issues, our industrial injury solicitors negotiated a settlement of £3,022 for our client. This reflected the risks in proceeding to court as well as the many complexities of the case.

On 14 June 2019, the client agreed to accept the negotiated settlement.

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