Last updated on May 14th, 2022 at 09:12 am
Elbow injuries are fairly common and can be extremely painful and debilitating. While the vast majority of elbow injury compensation claims will originate from the workplace, there are other common scenarios such as elbow injury from a car accident and simple trips, slips and falls on dangerous surfaces.
If you believe you have received an elbow injury as a consequence of negligence by one or more third parties then you may have an elbow injury compensation claim.
How Common Are Elbow Injury Compensation Claims?
Official statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that around 42% of musculoskeletal injuries received in the workplace involved the upper limbs and neck. As the elbow is a vital element of the arm we can estimate that a significant number of these injuries involved damage to the elbow joint and surrounding tendons, muscle and ligaments. Elbow injury claims are among the most common in the following industries and scenarios:
- Office workers
- Construction workers
- Law enforcement
- Sporting injuries
- Retail premises
- Road traffic accidents
- Wet/unsafe surfaces
- Cycling accidents
While there are lots of other scenarios where elbow injury claims can occur, this list gives you an idea of some of the more common environments. Aside from the obvious fractures/breaks, there is an array of other injuries which can significantly impact the use of the elbow joint and cause significant pain.
Common Injuries To The Elbow
Over the years we have seen the emergence of various trends in the compensation market with regard to elbow injuries. The injuries received can range from relatively minor to severe and in some cases amputation may be required. A selection of common elbow injuries include:
It may sound a little strange but a relatively painful break/fracture of the elbow joint/bone, where the break is clean, will in general heal much quicker than those injuries involving muscles, tendons and ligaments. We are literally talking about recovery within weeks as opposed to months although during the recovery period a significant level of disability may be experienced. In cases of non-complicated fractures, there is no reason why a full recovery cannot be achieved while more complicated fractures may well require additional medical attention.
Where a joint such as the elbow receives a severe blow the body will often revert to safety mode and introduce what is known as a bursa, effectively a fluid-filled sac around the damaged joint. This fluid will help to protect the joint from further damage but during this period it can be extremely tender, painful to touch and swollen. In the vast majority of cases, it is just a matter of time before the joint recovers and the fluid is naturally dispersed. However, there will be occasions where the fluid becomes infected or is simply not disbursing, which can lead to a range of different medical procedures and even surgery. Bursitis is an extremely painful condition and one which is recognised by the medical profession and the courts.
Have you developed bursitis from working practices and believe it is a consequence of negligence in the workplace? If so you may want to refer to our guide to bursitis compensation claims.
Muscle And Ligament Damage
As we touched on above, a clean fracture/break of the elbow joint/bone is often easier to mend than muscle, ligament or tendon issues. There will be occasions where the muscle, ligament or tendon is displaced from the bone and surgery would be required to reconnect. Even where surgery is not required the recovery process can take in excess of a year before full mobility is regained. Immobility surrounding the elbow joint has an impact from the shoulder, right down to the hands and fingers.
Repetitive Strain Injury
In years gone by repetitive strain injury was dismissed by many medical professionals, insurance companies and employers. This has changed in recent times and now repetitive strain injury is a recognised medical condition with an array of tests available. The degree of severity can vary enormously but it tends to occur where repetitive tasks are undertaken for a prolonged period of time. Where the elbow is concerned, the ligaments will become inflamed with limited mobility and increased pain. There are now procedures in the workplace to reduce instances of repetitive strain injury although the condition can take many years to emerge.
If you have developed RSI and believe you can claim compensation you can read more on the claims process for repetitive strain injury here.
Calculating How Much Compensation For Elbow Injury
Calculating how much compensation for elbow injuries will vary according to the severity, along with other factors. There are two specific types of compensation awarded by the courts which are known as general damages and special damages.
This element of a compensation package relates solely to pain and suffering as a result of the elbow injury received. In general terms the compensation currently available is as follows:
- Severe elbow injuries – £39,170-£54,830 compensation
- Less severe elbow injuries – £15,650-£32,010 compensation
- Moderate or minor elbow injuries – up to £12,590 compensation
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While general damages address the immediate pain and suffering of the victim, the subject of special damages is very different. This takes into account additional costs incurred and future costs expected because of the elbow injury. The following issues are taken into consideration:
- Loss of earnings
- Cost of medical treatment
- Cost of future medical treatment
- Potential future loss of earnings
- Additional travel expenses
- Medical equipment required
- Adaptions to the home
While general damages are to a certain extent set levels of compensation, with guidance provided by the Judicial College and accepted by the courts, in some ways special damages can be an open-ended liability. If you imagine a severe elbow injury that causes a lasting disability, and inability to work, we can only imagine the potential compensation for a relatively young individual. When it comes to special damages the courts will consider each claim on a case-by-case basis.
Criteria For Claiming Elbow Injury Compensation
If you fulfil the following three criteria in relation to your elbow injury then you may well be able to claim negligence and compensation:
- The accident was the fault of somebody else
- The accident occurred within three years of the claim
- There is evidence to prove injuries were received as a direct consequence of negligence
Where there is a specific accident resulting in an immediate elbow injury, such as a road traffic accident, the three-year window of opportunity to claim compensation generally starts on the date the accident happened. The situation with conditions such as repetitive strain injuries is slightly different because very often the condition will be diagnosed many years down the line and will likely have been a consequence of prolonged negligence. In this instance, the three-year window of opportunity will begin when the diagnosis is received.
Claiming Elbow Injury Compensation With A Personal Injury Solicitor
The vast majority of personal injury solicitors in the UK will have significant experience with elbow injury compensation claims and will provide free advice and opinion on the strength of your claim during an initial consultation. If they are of the opinion that they could get you compensation for your elbow injury, they would most likely offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. A No Win No Fee arrangement is especially useful to those who have limited financial resources to hand and allows them to hold potentially negligent parties to account.
After appointing a personal injury solicitor their first action will be to present your elbow injury claim and supporting evidence to the courts. At this point, the defendant will receive a copy of the claim and evidence allowing them to consider their position. In cases where negligence is fairly obvious the defendant may accept negligence and request an out-of-court settlement. While this ensures that the defendant’s legal costs are minimised it will also ensure a speedy settlement of any compensation.
There are situations where negligence is denied in an elbow injury claim, or there’s an element of shared negligence. In these scenarios, a judge would be required to consider all evidence and decide whether compensation should be awarded. Where negligence has been proven, the judge will also announce an appropriate level of elbow injury compensation to be paid to the claimant.