Ex miners claim under-payment of industrial injury compensation

A group of ex miners have gone to court over the amount of compensation they received after they developed Vibration White Finger during the course of their work. The group comprises of around 20 ex miners making claims against their previous solicitors. They had made claims for industrial injury compensation through a government scheme but many were poorly advised and did not receive as much compensation as they should have.

Vibration White Finger is one of the symptoms of Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), which affects the hands and arms and is caused by extensive use o f vibrating tools.

Symptoms may include numbness or tingling in the fingers, aches in joints, bones and muscles. The fingers may also go white and cool because of blood vessels narrowing. The next step is that they go blue because of the reduced blood supply and then bright red, as the vessels open up again. This last stage may also involve tingling, throbbing or pain.

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is preventable but once damage has been done, the damage is permanent. Nearly 2 million people across the country are at risk of developing the syndrome. The results can affect your ability to do tasks and cold temperatures can cause painful relapses.

For the group of ex miners, the area of contention is regarding activities that the individuals will no longer be able to do, such as gardening and DIY. To pursue a claim for this sort of activity, the solicitor would have had to conduct extra questioning which would have taken extra time without much financial incentive for the solicitor. The solicitors that they used did not pursue this area because they did not put their client’s interests first.

Another issue has been that some solicitors have deducted “fees” from the compensation payments awarded when they were also being paid through the scheme. In 2009, the LSC recovered £3.6million of “inappropriate deductions” from law firms which were then returned to the miners and their families.

These cases demonstrate how important it is to make sure the solicitor you choose for your industrial injury compensation claim will maintain the highest standards of customer care and will always put the customer first. The best way to choose a trustworthy solicitor is from a personal recommendation and by selecting a firm that has many years of specialist experience. Macks Solicitors are proud to say that many of our clients come to us as a result of a personal recommendation.

It is your employer’s responsibility to protect you from Hand-Arm Vibrating Syndrome. The tools that you use should have as low a level of vibration as possible and you should always have the most suitable tool for the job available. Tools should be properly checked and maintained and you should get sufficient break time in between sessions where you will be exposed to vibration. There are also ways to maintain good circulation – keep warm by wearing gloves and a hat if necessary and massage and exercise your fingers during breaks which will help prevent Vibration White Finger.

If you believe that your employer has not taken the steps that they should have to protect you from Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, you may be able to submit a claim for compensation. The first step towards making a claim should be speaking to an expert solicitor about the details of your claim and how to proceed.

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