The recent publication of the 16th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, has brought a number of changes for industrial disease practitioners, in relation to:
- Work-related limb disorders: Vibration White Finger (VWF) and/ or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS); work-related upper limb disorders (WRULD); and cold injuries.
- Noise induced hearing loss.
- Asbestos-related disease.
This article deals with the first of these: work-related limb disorders. Further articles in relation to noise induced hearing loss and asbestos-related disease will follow.
Chapter 8 – Work-related limb disorders
The guidelines for VWF and/ or HAVS and WRULD were previously in Chapter 7 (orthopaedic injuries). They now form part of a new Chapter 8 – Work-related limb disorders.
This new Chapter 8 comprises 3 parts:
- Vibration White Finger (VWF) and/ or Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).
- Work-related Upper Limb Disorders.
- Cold injuries.
Changes to Substance?
Other than finding a new home, there does not appear to be any specific changes to the text or guidelines for VMW/ HAVS or WRULD.
In common with the rest of the new guidelines, pre-Simmons v Castle figures have been removed (as very few such cases are still being dealt with in the courts). All figures have been increased in line with inflation (a 6.56% increase, before rounding).
Cold injuries are the third part of this Chapter and is a ‘wholly new section’. It is broken down into 3 parts.
The lowest level of injury (intermittent/ manageable symptoms) receives awards in the region of £15,000.
The middle category includes cases with aggravating features (dual site; unable to manage; continuous; additional immediate impact; effect on employability/ amenity). An example of a case affecting hands and feet with acute psychological conditions and acceleration of future joint problems, would receive around £32,500.
For more serious cases, the reader is directed to consider Chapter 9 (Chronic Pain).
It does appear that reference to previously decided cases will still be necessary to assess where on the scale any particular case sits.
Chapter 8 promises to be a section to which industrial disease practitioners frequently turn.
The move of the VWF/ HAVS and WRULD sections is largely organisational with no change as to the substance of how such cases might be assessed.
The inclusion of cold injuries is useful, though cases still probably need to be carefully compared to similar previously reported cases.
In Article 2 – I shall look at the update to the Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) section including, for the first time, discrete award figures suggested for an acceleration in need for hearing aids.
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