Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation Claims

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If you have been suffering from a Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) as a result of someone else's negligence, you should know that you may be entitled to compensation.

This page aims to provide essential guidance on how to navigate the aftermath of such an injury. Take a moment to read through and familiarise yourself with your rights to compensation, various causes and types of RSI, time limits for making a claim in Queensland, and the steps to receiving the settlement you deserve.

Smith's Lawyers team of repetitive strain injury compensation experts offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in hospital, in-office or via phone. We operate Queensland wide and all claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

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Understanding Your Rights after a Repetitive Strain Injury in Queensland

Strain and sprain injury claims accounted for over a quarter (28.5 per cent) of all injury claims lodged in 2022–23. If you're a victim of a repetitive strain injury (RSI) in Queensland due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation as these injuries often result in a heavy financial burden for both the injured individual and their partner or family members. 

Different compensation schemes are available based on the nature of the accident: 

  • Car and Road Accidents: The CTP Claims Scheme provides compensation for injuries incurred in motor vehicle accidents.
  • Workplace Injury: A workers’ compensation claim can be made if the injury occurred at work. Statutory claims can be made through WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workers compensation claims scheme if they are self-insured), regardless of fault. If your employer was negligent, you can also make a common law claim. Smith’s Lawyers are expert workers compensation lawyers..
  • Public Place Accidents: If you're injured in a public place, a common law claim can be made against the public liability insurer.

Remember, every case is unique, so it's essential to seek advice from a professional legal advisor like Smith's Lawyers. All our claims are completely risk-free with no upfront costs.

What is a Repetitive Strain Injury?

A Repetitive Strain Injury is damage to your muscles, tendons, or nerves caused by repetitive motions and constant use. They are sometimes referred to as a repetitive stress injury, as they place stress on the area of the body that eventually becomes injured as a result. 

Symptoms of repetitive strain injuries can include pain, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, tingling or numbness, throbbing, weakness, and sensitivity to cold or heat. These symptoms can eventually limit your ability to perform normal tasks or activities, so it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. RSI most commonly occurs in the shoulders, neck, elbows, forearms, wrists, hands and fingers.

Common Causes of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Repetitive strain injuries can occur in many different circumstances. For instance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, RSI account for 9% of all reported workplace injuries or illness. However, they are not only caused in the workplace, numerous factors can contribute to the development of RSI.

Here are some of the most common factors: 

  • Frequent, repetitive movements: These injuries are often caused by doing the same motion or activity repeatedly. This can seriously strain your muscles and joints over time.
  • High-intensity activities without proper rest: Continually performing intense tasks can put a great strain on your body, leading to injury if you don’t allow sufficient recovery time.
  • Poor posture or activities that require an awkward position: Frequent slouching and keeping your body in unnatural positions can exhaust muscles and lead to RSI.
  • Stress: High stress levels can make you tighten your muscles and neglect proper rest, increasing the chances of repetitive stress injuries.
  • Lack of variation in tasks: Doing the same activities for prolonged periods can strain specific muscle groups.
Common Types of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Identifying the types of repetitive strain injuries is paramount in recognizing what caused them, and in making a case for getting you the appropriate compensation that you're entitled to. 

These injuries can include: 

  • Workplace injuries: These typically happen due to repetitive tasks, heavy lifting, or prolonged periods of staying in the same position. Examples include carpal tunnel syndrome due to continuous typing, or back injuries from lifting heavy objects frequently.
  • Road incident-related injuries: These can occur when dealing with the constant vibration and repetitive motions required when driving or riding. Examples include whiplash due to a sudden stop, or barrister’s ligament (tennis elbow) from continuous steering wheel handling.
  • Public place injuries: These injuries often occur due to slips, trips, or falls that can result in RSI. Examples include ankle sprains from an unexpected fall due to an uneven public walkway, or misstepping on a stair.
Workers Most at Risk of Developing Repetitive Strain Injuries

Jobs involving tasks of repetitive nature over a long time are at much greater risk of developing RSI injuries. 

The following are some key professions and industries that are most at risk:

  • Abattoir and Meat Process Workers: Roles such as meat packers can be highly repetitive and physically demanding, leading to a high risk of RSI. The continuous strain on the hands and wrists from loading, packing, and moving meat products can result in injuries over time.
  • Data Entry Clerks: These professionals spend hours typing on a computer keyboard, leading to substantial strain on their wrists and hands. The lack of adequate breaks can further worsen the strain.
  • Factory and Assembly Line Workers: These workers perform the same motions constantly throughout their workday, putting them at a high risk of sustaining RSI. This includes manual assembly and machine operation tasks.
  • Construction Workers: Construction work often involves heavy lifting and the continual use of tools, which can increase the risk of injury, particularly in the hands, arms, and shoulders.
  • Healthcare Workers: The healthcare industry accounted for the largest proportion of claim lodgements in 2022-23. Nurses, therapists, and others in the healthcare industry often perform repetitive tasks such as lifting patients or utilising medical equipment, which can lead to these kinds of injuries.

It's important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and there are many more jobs that carry a high risk of RSI. If your job involves frequent, repetitive movements, it's important to take regular breaks and use any provided equipment or training to help reduce the risk. 

If you’ve suffered an injury and your employer failed to provide access to the right equipment, breaks and rotation of tasks then you may have the right to workers compensation. Seek free initial advice on an RSI workers compensation claim with the team at Smith’s Lawyers.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

If you've experienced a repetitive strain injury due to a road, work, or public place accident, seek medical treatment and diagnosis first. Following this, you can begin the claim process, which may feel overwhelming at first, but we're here to provide clarity.

Here's a simplified step-by-step overview from start to settlement: 

1. Seek free initial legal advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for RSI injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage a personal injury lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates on. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather evidence to build your case

Once your compensation matter is opened you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical evidence, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File your claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives) such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5: Negotiate with the at-fault party's insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged to lead the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is not successful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you cannot not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred.

It is always recommended to seek legal advice as early on as possible to ensure you understand your RSI injury claims rights. 

While these steps give you an overall picture, the process can become complex when it comes to factors such as gathering evidence and proving negligence. So, it's recommended to have legal guidance from experts in personal injury law. A free case review is a good starting point to understand your situation and the potential avenues forward.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Repetitive Strain Injury Claim?

Building a strong case for your compensation claim after such an injury requires various pieces of evidence. Your law firm will gather this evidence to use when negotiating on your behalf. 

These may include: 

  • Medical Evidence: This is a pillar for any RSI claim - records of your medical examinations, diagnoses, and treatments. It's crucial to consult a doctor as soon as you begin noticing symptoms. The physician's medical opinion will play a vital role in establishing the link between your work and the injury.
  • Employment Records: This includes pay slips, attendance records and job contracts. Evidence that you have been engaging in the tasks that led to the injury over a sustained period will reinforce your case.
  • Witness Statements: Colleagues who can vouch for the nature of your work and validate the repetitive tasks causing your RSI. Their testimonies can add weight to your claim.
  • Expert Opinions: A report from a specialist, like an occupational therapist, can work wonders in establishing how your work conditions contributed to your RSI.
  • Photographic Evidence: This may be of your workplace showing the setting and equipment or your injuries.

Determining the Amount of Compensation

You may be wondering how much compensation you’re likely to receive for your claim. It’s important to note that the amount of compensation you receive from your RSI claim depends on several factors, each significantly impacting the final amount. 

Here are some of the main elements considered: 

  • The severity of your injury: How serious your injury is and the prognosis for your recovery play a significant role in structuring compensation. The greater the severity, the higher the payout.
  • Your current and future earnings: If your RSI hinders your capacity to earn now or in the future, this will be accounted for in your claim. Long-term impact on work capacity tends to increase the compensation amount.
  • Your age: Your age at the time of the injury can affect the claim, particularly when considering future lost income. Generally, younger victims may receive larger settlements due to the potential future impact.
  • The cost of medical care: All your medical expenses, from diagnosis and treatment to ongoing care, are included in the claim. This would also cover any future care or rehabilitation costs associated with your injury.

It's important to note that these types of injuries do not have set compensation amounts. Even if two people have similar injuries, their compensation could vary greatly.

For example, consider two computer programmers with similar RSI injuries. If one is a freelancer nearing retirement with minimal impact on their work, and the other is a young employee who has to quit due to their condition, their compensation amounts will differ.

The latter's payout would be larger due to the injury's significant impact on their ability to earn income over a longer period.

These instances illustrate why it’s critical to have skilled representation from a law firm when making a compensation claim. This can help ensure your claim accurately reflects the full impact of your injury, and that you receive all the compensation you're entitled to. 

Time Limits for Repetitive Strain Injuries

In Queensland, the typical time limit for filing repetitive strain injury claims is three years from the date of your injury

More specifically, for work-related injuries, you have:

  • 6 months from when the entitlement to claim workers’ compensation arises (this is usually when the injury occurs, or the day on which the individual is assessed by a doctor) to lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workers' compensation insurer if self-insured). This is an essential first step for all cases regardless of fault.
  • 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start court proceedings for a common law claim. These claims can be run in addition to a standard WorkCover claim where the negligence of your employer or another party caused or contributed to your accident and injuries.

For motor vehicle related injuries, in Queensland you have:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months, but must be within 3 years of the accident or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form. Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run) or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3 month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit otherwise you will be barred from making a claim
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

However, circumstances can alter the standard time limits. For instance, in cases where the injured person is under 18 years old, the time limit doesn't begin until they reach 18 years old. 

Given these complexities, seeking legal advice promptly is important to prevent missing out on your potential compensation. At Smith’s Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How long does it take to process an RSI compensation claim?

The duration to process a compensation claim for this type of injury can vary broadly. It often depends on the complexity of your case and the cooperation level of the responsible party. However, it usually takes approximately 12 to 18 months to finalise a personal injury compensation claim such as this.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No, our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Repetitive Strain Injury Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
February 29, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.