How to claim compensation for manual handling injuries at work
If you’ve suffered an injury from a manual handling accident in the workplace that wasn’t your fault, speak to our expert solicitors to start your claim for compensation.
Last updated on November 8th, 2023.
The most important things to remember when claiming compensation for manual handling injuries at work:
- Your employer must keep you safe under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations
- You generally have three years from the date of the injury to make a claim
- You can claim if your employer did not keep you safe with training or risk assessment
- You can claim even if another employee caused the injury
- You can claim on a no win, no fee basis.
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How much compensation can I claim for a manual handling injury?
The amount of compensation you may be able to claim for a manual handling accident will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, the impact the injuries may have on your life, and any costs incurred related to the injury.
We’ll assess your claim based on your injuries, known as general damages, and loss of earnings, known as ‘special damages’. We’ll also look at the long-term impact on your life, for example mobility or psychological damage. Our claims operate on a no win, no fee basis, so if you don’t win, you won’t have to pay a penny.
Though there is no specific compensation amount for a manual handling injury, the Judicial College Guidelines from the Ministry of Justice provide recommended amounts based on injuries to specific body parts. For example:
- Back injuries resulting in permanent symptoms can be worth as much as £55,000
- Neck injuries resulting in serious damage can be worth as much as £100,000.
At Express Solicitors, we have 20 years’ experience settling accidents at work compensation claims that others ignore – and we’ve won millions of pounds for our clients in the process. Speak to our specialist no win no fee solicitors today.
Manual handling accident and injury claims calculator
Our manual handling injury claims calculator below provides a guide to the amount of compensation you may be able to claim for your injuries. The calculator considers the part of your body as well as the severity of your injuries, providing an approximate compensation amount.
Find out how much you could claim
Compensation amounts are estimated based on the level of injury below
In addition, to the amount you may be able to receive for your injuries, you can also claim for “special damages.”
Compensation for special damages can be claimed to cover expenses you may have already incurred or will incur because of your injury.
Compensation could be claimed for expenses that may include, but would not be limited to;
- Any loss of income or loss of pension
- Any costs associated with your rehabilitation or ongoing medical treatment
- Any costs associated with adaptations you may need to make to your home
- Any costs for the care you may have or will need to receive, even if a family member or friend provides this.
- Any out-of-pocket expenses you or anyone who has cared for you may have incurred.
Our specialist accident at work injury solicitors recognise the impact an injury can have on your life and your loved ones. As such, we take the utmost consideration into ensuring you are compensated correctly in relation to the severity of your injuries, the effects the injury has had on your life, loss of earnings and changes to your lifestyle.
You’ll claim more with us.
We have recovered an additional £21.2m more in compensation for clients who switched to us from their previous firm.
Contact us now to discover the real value of your claim.
How long after a manual handling injury at work can I make a claim?
Generally, you have up to three years from the date of your injury to make a claim. Additionally, you will have three years from the date a medical professional diagnoses your symptoms as being a result of your manual handling accident.
The three year time limit may not apply under the following circumstances
- If the injury caused the person to become ‘mentally incapacitated’ – for example, if the person suffered brain damage.
- If a piece of equipment was found to be faulty and this was the cause of the accident. In this case, you will have three years from the date this was discovered.
- If the injury happened abroad, compensation time limits may differ. Please ask us if you’re not sure.
How long will my manual handling compensation claim take?
Claiming for manual handling at work can take anything from three to nine months to over a year. As each case is unique, there is no set time frame for a claim to settle. Usually the length of your claim will depend on how complex it may be. In some cases, it may be necessary to wait until both the short-term and long-term damage has been accurately assessed.
Please rest assured that our expert injury at work solicitors will leave no stone unturned to achieve the settlement you deserve. Our solicitors have an extensive history of securing the very highest levels of compensation our clients are legally entitled to. In some cases, we can help you with early compensation payments (interim payments) to cover costs while you’re waiting for your claim to settle.
How much compensation can I claim for an accident at work?
Can I make a no win no fee claim for manual handling compensation?
Yes. Our manual handling accident claims are processed on a no win, fee basis.
No win no fee agreements are also known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFA). This agreement means that there is only a fee on the condition that you win. It means you are safe to pursue a compensation claim knowing that you have no financial risk if it’s unsuccessful.
When your claim is successful, the other side (typically their insurer) pays most of the legal costs, and the law firm takes a fixed and agreed percentage of your compensation. This means you’d never be out of pocket when claiming, and with us, you keep the majority of your compensation.
When making a no win no fee claim, we take out an insurance policy on your behalf, which protects you in the rare event the claim isn’t successful. This is known as an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy, which means you have no upfront costs and nothing to pay if you lose the case.
When can I start my claim?
You can start your no win, no fee manual handling accident claim straight away. We generally advise that you start your claim as soon as you feel well enough to do so. This helps us to gather the most accurate evidence to support your claim.
Your claim will start with a friendly consultation call with one of our legal advisors. We’ll discuss your manual handling injuries, and any evidence you can provide to support your case. We can help you to gather this – you can use witness statements, photographs, medical records and details of any training records at work.
Once we have all your evidence, our expert solicitors will start to assess your claim based on your injury, loss of earnings and long-term impacts. We’ll come up with a proposed compensation amount and make a claim against your employer’s liability insurance.
If your employer accepts responsibility, you’ll receive your compensation payment. While you’re waiting, we may be able to offer early compensation payments. These may help if you are not currently earning. Remember, we work on a no win, no fee basis – you only pay if we win.
What are the Manual Handling Regulations?
Under the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR), employers must manage all manual handling risks. This is broken down into three key responsibilities:
- To avoid hazardous manual handling wherever possible
- To risk assess any unavoidable manual handling
- To reduce the risk of injury, for example, with equipment.
If you feel your employer has not met these obligations, and you have suffered an injury at work, speak to our solicitors today and see if you can make a compensation claim.
What are my employer’s responsibilities for manual handling?
It is your employer’s responsibility to keep you safe under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. To avoid manual handling at work injury claims, employers must:
- Regularly assess the workplace and try to prevent unnecessary manual handling at work
- Carry out a risk assessment for any manual handling that could result in injury
- Reduce the risk of manual handling, for example, by using equipment.
According to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, employers must carry out a risk assessment “where manual handling is unavoidable”. They must then act on its recommendations.
Similarly, this risk assessment should also consider the employees themselves, and the impact that the manual handling can have on individuals. The assessment should cover:
- The worker’s strength and abilities
- How often manual handling is required
- The size and weight of the items
- How far objects need to move
- Providing adequate breaks.
Where employers can prevent risk, they should – for example, providing equipment to help with heavy loads.
What can I do to help as an employee?
If you are going to make a manual handling injury claim against your employer, you need to be able to prove that it was not your fault. If you cannot prove this, you may only be able to claim for the amount that was your employer’s fault. This is known as “split liability” and means that both you and your employer can take responsibility for the injury.
To avoid split liability, you must remember your responsibilities as an employee, which are:
- To follow all health and safety guidelines as given by your employer
- To alert your employer to any dangerous manual handling practices
- To pay attention to your own actions and their effects on yourself or others
- To use all safety equipment with full training as provided.
You can make a full claim for manual handling at work compensation if you believe your employer was totally at fault. Our expert solicitors will help you to present your evidence and negotiate for the largest compensation amounts possible.
Can I claim if I was injured by another member of staff?
If you were injured at work by another member of staff, you may still be able to make a compensation claim. In these circumstances, the fault would lie with your employer, who has a duty to keep you safe – including making sure that other members of staff are behaving safely.
Our expert legal teams can help you to draft a claim against your employer, which will not affect the business or your colleague. Compensation payments are paid by your employer’s liability insurance.
We understand the financial impact of an accident.
In 99% of cases, we recovered more compensation than the insurer’s first offer. We’ll provide financial security with our interim payments wherever possible, meaning you don’t need to rush into an offer that is lower than you’re legally entitled to.
How to prevent manual handling accidents in the workplace
You can prevent manual handling accidents by carrying out risk assessments in the workplace. A set of guidelines commonly followed by employers is known as TILE:
- Task: Think about how the object will be moved – will it require pushing, lifting or carrying?
- Individual: Check if the employee is physically strong and capable enough to carry out the task.
- Load: See how heavy, large and awkwardly shaped the object is. It may need two people to carry.
- Environment: Look at the route before you move the object. Are there steps, uneven floors or wet surfaces?
Your employer should also:
- Eliminate risks or provide equipment
- Train personnel or only allow trained personnel to take part
- Store documentation with all up-to-date training records.
If your employer has taken every duty of care to follow these steps, you may need additional evidence to make a compensation claim. Workplace accidents are not totally avoidable, but your employer should do everything to minimise risk. If you have been injured and you feel you were not to blame, we can help you to present the evidence to support your manual handling compensation claim.
Unlimited legal support.
That’s right, we provide unlimited legal support for our prospective clients. Not sure if you have a claim, or if you even want to make a claim? You can speak with us for as long as you like and as many times as you like. We’ll let you know your legal rights, completely free of charge and with no obligation to make a claim.
What are the most common types of manual handling injuries?
The most common types of manual handling injuries are sprains and strains. These may result in short or long-term pain, all of which we will consider when settling your manual handling compensation claim.
You may even have a long-term injury that was made worse by manual handling. We can help you to get the medical evidence you need to prove this.
Some other examples of injuries caused by poor manual handling include:
- Breaks and fractures
- Hernia (organ displacement/protrusion due to strain)
- Injuries to the upper and lower limb muscles
- Internal injuries
- Back and neck problems.
Certain workplaces may have higher risks, such as warehouses and construction sites. As such, employers must comply with the Manual Handling Operations 1992. If you’ve suffered a manual handling industry caused by employer negligence, we can help you to make a compensation claim.
The most common manual handling compensation claims occur in the following workplaces:
- Accidents in warehouses and factories – for example, if employees push, pull or lift heavy loads
- Accidents on building and construction sites – for example, moving drills, mixers, bricks or pallets
- Care homes – for example, if workers do not have hoists to carry residents.
What are the risk factors with manual handling at work
- The item weight
- How often you pick up or carry the item
- The distance you have to travel with the item
- How far the item is from the ground
- Any twisting, crouching or bending required to pick up the item
Any of these risk factors may result in manual handling common injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders, joint damage, or harm to the back and upper limbs.
The type of workplace may also increase your risk, for example it is more common for accidents to happen in workplaces such as hospitals, farms and building sites.
Examples of manual handling injuries
Manual handling injuries are most often caused by lifting, resulting in sprains, strains and back issues. Your role may also influence the injury, for example, if you are a care worker who has to assist people getting in and out of bed.
Manual handling injuries caused by lifting
If you’ve not been trained to lift awkward or heavy objects appropriately, you may suffer a back injury. Under the Manual Handling Regulations 1992, your employer must:
- Carry out risk assessments for heavy loads
- Provide training in line with Health and Safety guidelines
- Offer equipment where necessary.
If you’ve been injured at work, we can help with manual handling compensation claims on the basis that training or equipment has not been provided. Please contact us if you are not sure.
Manual handling back injury claims
Manual handling at work is most likely to result in back injuries, usually due to incorrect posture or not spreading the load between the back and legs appropriately. Back injuries are the most limiting because they can make walking difficult, or constrain even simple movements.
Similarly, back pain can be long-term, which can affect a person’s ability to do their job, or carry out their hobbies. This in turn may lead to depression. When you make a back injury compensation claim with us, we’ll consider every impact of your injury – not just the immediate damage, but the psychological effects.
In extreme cases, back injuries could be life-changing – for example, spinal cord damage. The seriousness of your injury is one of the key factors for deciding your total compensation amounts.
Back injuries are largely preventable with training and equipment. We can help you to make a back injury at work claim against your employer if you’ve been let down.
Muscular manual handling injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries are very common in jobs requiring any physical exertion – even lifting in the office. Sprains and strains can occur if employees repeatedly over-pull or twist tendons. You may experience pain over time, or it can come on suddenly due to being overstressed.
It is your employer’s duty to carry out risk assessments in the workplace, including for repetitive tasks. If you’ve become injured because your employer has not done this, you could claim compensation.
Manual handling accidents in care homes
Care home workers may be at risk of manual handling injuries due to repeated lifting – for example, moving patients out of their beds. Some care homes may provide hoists to help patients get out of bed, but if the employee is not properly trained, this may result in injury.
The most common lifting injuries in care homes are lower back pain, injured discs, strained muscles and torn ligaments. You can make a no win, no fee claim against your employer’s liability insurance if you’ve been injured through poor training or lack of equipment.
Average compensation amounts for manual handling at work injuries
|Part of body||Severity of injury||Amount of compensation||Types of injuries|
|Head||Minor||£1,880.00 to £10,890.00||Covers head injury with recovery within a few weeks. Higher compensation if symptoms include headaches.|
|Head||Moderate||£13,430.00 to £112,130.00||Symptoms ranging from poor concentration, lower and higher risk of epileptic attacks, minor personality changes, depression, more severe intellectual impairment, or injuries/symptoms leading to a vegetative state.|
|Head||Serious||£186,890.00 £240,590.00||Covers reduced life expectancy, serious physical symptoms, serious changes to personality or intellect, large dependence on others due to paralysis or otherwise.|
|Head||Severe||£240,590.00 to £344,640.00||Covers minimally conscious state (life expectancy less than 15 years), severe disability, brain damage with little/no response, vegetative states needing full-time nursing.|
|Eye||Severe||£56,080.00to £229,260.00||Complete blindness on one/both eyes or severe visual impairment on one/both eyes.|
|Face||Minor||£1,460.00 to £7,460.00||Light or no scarring on the face, but no fractures, loss/damage of one/two front teeth, simple fractures of the jaw or nose, but with a possibility of complete recovery.|
|Face||Serious||£15,320.00 to £26,010.00||More serious fractures such as a broken jaw or nose, breaking/damage/loss of several teeth.|
|Face||Severe||£26,010.00 to £38,850.00||Severe injuries resulting in facial disfigurement, several jaw fractures, chronic tooth pain, and scarring. May lead to eating restrictions or higher risk of joint arthritis. Covers negative effects on mental health.|
|Ear/ hearing||Minor||Up to £5,980.00||Possible Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), slight/occasional tinnitus.|
|Ear/ hearing||Moderate||£12,700.00 to £25,350.00||Partial hearing loss or mild to severe tinnitus.|
|Ear/ hearing||Serious||£25,350.00 to £38,850.00||Complete deafness in one ear. Severity varies based on additional symptoms (e.g. dizziness, tinnitus, etc.).|
|Ear/ hearing||Severe||£77,430.00 to £120,040.00||Complete deafness in both ears. Higher compensation for child injuries also resulting in a loss of speech.|
Manual handling compensation claim amounts for back, neck, shoulders and upper body injuries
|Part of body||Severity of injury||Amount of compensation||Types of injuries|
|Neck||Minor||Up to £6,680.00||Soft tissue injuries or whiplash with recovery within 3 – 24 months. Compensation factors include severity of pain and amount of negative effects on everyday life.|
|Neck||Moderate||£7,410.00 to £47,760.00||Covers injuries that accelerated a pre-existing condition, disc lesions, cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent and/or recurring pain, all caused by fractures or dislocations.|
|Neck||Severe||£56,100.00 to £139,210.00||Serious fractures, severe soft tissue damage, chronic pain conditions, disc damage, partial paraplegia, or significant, permanent disability.|
|Back||Minor||£2,090.00 to £10,670.00||Includes lighter strains, sprains, disc prolapses, and soft tissue injuries. Recovery between 3 months and 5 years.|
|Back||Moderate||£11,730.00 to £26,050.00||Includes: spinal fusion, compressed or fractured lumbar spine (possibly resulting in higher risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain), prolapsed discs and other injuries that may require surgery and a continued acceleration/worsening of a pre-existing back condition.|
|Back||Severe||£36,390.00 to £151,070.00||Typically requires surgery. Injuries include: damaged spinal cord and partial paralysis, psychological issues, loss of bladder and/or bowel function, disc lesions, impaired movement, arthritis, etc.|
|Shoulder||Minor||Up to £6,730.00||Soft tissue injury resulting in pain. Full recovery between 3 – 24 months.|
|Shoulder||Serious||£10,890.00 to £16,380.00||Fractured humerus, clavicle or rotator cuff needing surgery.|
|Shoulder||Severe||£16,380.00 to £40,970.00||Significant disability caused by severe damage to the neck or brachial plexus.|
|Pelvis & hips||Minor||£3,370.00 to £10,750.00||Complete recovery after minor soft tissue injuries. Little or no disability within 2 years.|
|Pelvis & hips||Moderate||£10,750.00 to £33,430.00||No serious disability, but covers injuries requiring hip operations, replacement of hips (or the need for either in the future).|
|Pelvis & hips||Severe||£33,430.00 to £111,690.00||Severe hip/pelvis fractures resulting in bowel damage or spinal fusion, childbirth complications, hip replacement, and/or leading to higher likelihood of future surgery.|
|Scarring (not facial)||Minor||£2,020.00 to £7,380.00||One noticeable scar or several superficial, unsightly scars on the legs, arms, or hands.|
|Scarring (not facial||Moderate||Up to £7,380.00||Full recovery within 2 years, up to a partial recovery with symptoms that are not largely debilitating.|
|Scarring (not facial||Severe||£6,680.00 to £19,390.00||Several noticeable laceration scars or a single disfiguring scar.|
Manual handling compensation claim amounts for arm, hand, and finger injuries
|Part of body||Severity of injury||Amount of compensation||Types of injuries|
|Arm||Mild||£5,630.00 to £16,380.00||Fractured forearm.|
|Arm||Moderate||£16,380.00 to £33,430.00||Serious arm injury leading to long-lasting symptoms.|
|Arm||Serious||£33,430.00 to £111,690.00||Serious injury resulting in an inability to use the arm(s) to some extent. Does not result in amputation.|
|Arm||Severe||£82,040.00 to £255,930.00||Results may include the amputation of one/both arms. Compensation amount will depends on amputated area, whether phantom pain is experienced, and on other effects on the quality of life.|
|Elbow||Moderate||Up to £10,750.00||Includes: tennis elbow, deep cuts, simple fractures, no permanent damage.|
|Elbow||Serious||£13,360.00 to £27,320.00||Results in restricted movement but does not require surgery or cause disability.|
|Elbow||Severe||£33,430.00 to £46,780.00||Injury causes severe disability or requires surgery.|
|Wrist||Moderate||Up to £8,740.00||Uncomplicated Colles fracture or minor undisplaced fractures with recovery between 1 – 2 years. May include use of plasters.|
|Wrist||Serious||£10,750.00 to £20,900.00||Soft tissue damage or broken wrist causing some permanent disability.|
|Wrist||Severe||£20,900.00to £51,070.00.||Significant permanent disability or complete loss of wrist function.|
|Hand||Minor||Up to £4,050.00||Covers lacerations and crush injuries, and soft tissue injuries (recovery within 6 months).|
|Hand||Moderate||£4,780.00 to £11,330.00||Covers penetrating wounds and crush injuries resulting in permanent but non-intrusive symptoms, or soft tissue damage and deeper cuts resulting in impairment of the hand (may require surgery).|
|Hand||Severe||£24,740.00 to £171,920.00||Covers amputation and rejoining of several fingers, resulting in a clawed, impaired, or unsightly hand, amputation of one/both hands (alternatively, amputation of several fingers rendering the hand almost useless).|
|Finger||Minor||Up to £4,055.00||Includes: full-healed fractured finger bones (healed within 1 year) with/without minor scarring.|
|Finger||Moderate||£3,370.00 to £5,000.00||Includes: complete (or almost complete) recovery after broken finger, amputation or loss of a part of the little finger.|
|Finger||Severe||£10,380.00 to £31,350.00||Includes: complete amputation of one/more fingers, fractures of the index finger. Compensation depends on level of disability and suffering.|
|Thumb||Minor||Up to £4,055.00||Short-term, severe pain gone within 3 months.|
|Thumb||Moderate||£3,370.00 to £10,750.00||Covers fractures with recovery within 6 months, damage to nerves or tendons resulting in partial loss of sensation, and cosmetic thumb deformities.|
|Thumb||Severe||£10,750.00 to £46,780.00||Partial/complete amputation of the thumb, surgical wire insertions, nerve damage, fractures, inability to grip.|
Manual handling compensation claim amounts for leg and foot injuries
|Part of body||Severity of injury||Amount of compensation||Types of injuries|
|Leg||Minor||£7,780.00 to £12,010.00||Minor injuries with recovery within a few months (e.g. soft-tissue injuries, bruising, cuts, and contusions). Slightly more severe injuries such as simple fractures of the femur, tibia, or fibula.|
|Leg||Moderate||£15,320.00 to £46,780.00||Minor fractures with partial recovery, serious soft tissue injury, injuries to one leg (e.g. broken bones, crushing injuries), ligament injuries, compound fractures leading to near certainty of arthritis or instability.|
|Leg||Severe||£46,780.00 to £240,590.00||Severe injuries resulting in extensive degloving, bone grafting, permanently reduced mobility, or amputation of one/both legs (above/below the knee).|
|Knee||Minor||Up to £11,730.00||Includes soft tissue injuries (recovery within a few months), a twisted knee, lacerations, or bruising resulting in discomfort or pain.|
|Knee||Moderate||£22,340.00 to £37,070.00||Includes: seriously damaged kneecaps, ligaments, or muscles, dislocation, a torn meniscus, acceleration injuries (over several years), resulting in ongoing discomfort or pain.|
|Knee||Severe||£44,470.00 to £82,080.00||Covers constant pain, severe disability, or muscle wastage. Higher compensation if need for surgery or injury effects quality of life.|
|Ankle||Minor||Up to £11,730.00||Smaller fractures, but bone has not been displaced. May include sprains, injured ligaments (likely leads to scarring). Smaller injuries can allow for full recovery within a year, without any scarring.|
|Ankle||Moderate||£11,730.00 to £42,710.00||Includes ligament tears, fractures, leading to smaller disabilities while standing/moving. Increased risk of osteoarthritis. Operation/cast needed. May lead to inability to work or call for special footwear.|
|Ankle||Severe||£42,710.00 to £59,480.00||Severe injury resulting in deformities, disabilities, or even amputation of the body part down the line.|
|Achilles||Minor||£6,200.00 to £10,750.00||Minor instability due to tendon damage around the ankle. Some more severe cases might involve scarring.|
|Achilles||Moderate||£10,750.00 to £17,970.00||More serious injury and partially ruptured tendon. More severe cases tend to involve disability and/or permanent scarring.|
|Achilles||Severe||£21,320.00to £32,780.00||Restricted movement of the ankle due to severed muscle tissue. Small likelihood of further improvement of limp and residual scarring.|
|Foot||Minor||Up to £11,730.00||Includes: minor fractures, lacerations or contusions (with complete recovery within 2 years), ruptured ligaments or other puncture wounds that result in chronic pain or a permanent limp.|
|Foot||Moderate||£11,730.00 to £59,730.00||Includes: metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and ongoing symptoms, fractured heels (both), restricted mobility, degloving and heel fusion.|
|Foot||Severe||£71,640.00 to £171,920.00||Injury needing amputation of one/both feet or traumatic amputation of the forefoot (to prevent need for complete amputation).|
|Toe||Minor||Up to £8,190.00||One or more broken toes with a varying recovery period. Compensation depends on presence of long-term symptoms and speed of recovery.|
|Toe||Moderate||£8,190.00 to £11,730.00||Multiple fractures, crush injuries to two/more toes, permanent disability. May have involved unsuccessful past operations.|
|Toe||Severe||£11,730.00 to £47,830.00||Severe crush injuries leading to less/surgical amputation of one or two toes (not including the big toe), amputation of all toes or the big toe.|
Why choose Express Solicitors?
Our experienced solicitor team offers two decades’ experience handling workplace injury compensation claims. We operate all claims on a no win, no fee basis, so you can rest assured you will not be out of pocket. We pride ourselves in taking on the manual handling claims that no one else will, so no matter how insignificant your injury may seem, you should get in touch. We’ll talk you through the process and legal rights, and work to get you the compensation you deserve.