In the last 10 years many miners had claimed damages for Vibration White Finger, a condition that involves damage to blood vessels and nerves in the fingers causing them to turn white, numb and tingly. The Department of Trade and Industry set up a Handling Agreement in 1999 under which miners could claim damages for this condition which was found to have been caused as a consequence of using vibrating tools in the mines. This agreement required miners to undergo tests to establish they had the condition and its severity. The level of the damages they were awarded was dependant on the “stage” the condition they were found to be suffering from had reached.
Unfortunately it has emerged that many miners were allowed to settle their claim without making an additional claim for “services”. Services related to their ability as a consequence of their symptoms to carry out DIY, gardening, car washing and maintenance or window cleaning as a consequence of their symptoms. Successful claims for services often amounted to over £10,000 and miners suffering from stage 2V or above were entitled to submit this claim automatically.
In some circumstances miners were either given no or inadequate advice on their ability to claim for services and as a consequence lost their chance to claim, the last date for the making of such claims being 31st March 2005.
It may be that those miners are able to reclaim their losses in these circumstances. Christine Sands of Jordans Solicitors, who have offices throughout West Yorkshire, is an expert in this area and is being approached by a growing number of West Yorkshire miners who may have lost out.