Figures from the British Society of Rheumatology suggest that around 7% of the UK population suffer from shoulder pain. One of the main problems with shoulder pain and discomfort is the fact it can have a major impact upon your working life and your private life. The most common injuries include a frozen shoulder, rotator cuff disorders and dislocations all of which can cause considerable long-term pain.
While the vast majority of shoulder injury compensation claims relate to trips, slips and falls, accidents on the road and accidents at work, how do you pursue a claim?
Making A Shoulder Injury Compensation Claim
There is a list of criteria in relation to valid shoulder injury compensation claims which includes:
- The shoulder injury was the fault of a third party.
- You must be able to prove negligence on behalf of the company or person involved in the accident.
- Did the shoulder injury occur during the last three years?
In some cases it can be difficult to prove irrefutable negligence on behalf of a third party because of the nature of the injury. As a consequence, it is possible to achieve a favourable ruling on negligence using the balance of probabilities and it is up to the claimant to present their evidence to the court. In order for a shoulder injury compensation payment to be made by the courts, liability must be proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Shoulder Injury Compensation Claim Time Limit
As with the vast majority of personal injury claims, shoulder injury compensation claims are time-barred to a three-year limit. This effectively means that any compensation claim must be lodged within three years of sustaining the injury after which the claim will be “statute-barred”. As a consequence any claim lodged after the three-year time limit will almost certainly be disqualified and any hope of receiving compensation would disappear.
In some instances we have seen individuals who have received shoulder injuries decide to focus on their recovery process before embarking upon any compensation claims. This can be a dangerous strategy because missing the three-year limit, no matter how strong the case is, could be extremely expensive.
Claims Where There Is Shared Liability
As we touched on above, it can be difficult to prove liability beyond all reasonable doubt therefore the courts will accept proof of negligence on the balance of probabilities. There will also be occasions where there is shared liability for the shoulder injury involving both the claimant and defendant.
To give you an example, if a claimant received a shoulder injury as a consequence of a car crash then in theory they could sue the driver of the other vehicle for negligence and receive compensation. This is fairly straightforward but if the shoulder injury was exaggerated as a consequence of the claimant not wearing a seat belt then the courts would likely rule on shared liability. In this particular situation a compensation figure would be agreed and apportioned under the relevant shared liability ruling.
There will also be occasions where numerous third parties, not including the claimant, are held liable for an accident which resulted in the claimant’s shoulder injury. In this situation responsibility for the total compensation award would be shared amongst the third parties based on their perceived share of liability. As cases involving more than one defendant often drag on for longer than normal, this could result in significant legal costs above and beyond the compensation payment. In situations where shared liability has been accepted it is highly likely that an out-of-court settlement would be negotiated as soon as possible, saving costs and time for all sides.
Common Shoulder Injuries
As shoulder injuries are fairly common in the world of personal injury claims our solicitors have significant experience in this area. Shoulder injuries which occur on a regular basis include:
- Rugby tackle injuries.
- Other sports injuries.
- Manual handling/lifting in the workplace.
- Fitness workout injuries.
- Dislocated shoulder injuries.
- Rotator cuff tears.
There are many different ways in which you can injure your shoulder although in order to pursue a successful personal injury claim you will need to prove negligence and liability lays with the third party which caused the accident.
Shoulder Injury Settlement Amounts
As with any personal injury claim there are two types of damages which can be awarded. The first is general damages, relating to pain and suffering, the second is special damages, relating to financial loss both historic and in the future.
We will now take a look at the different elements when looking at shoulder injury “special damages” which include:
- Lost earnings because of absence from work.
- Loss of future earnings because of an inability to work.
- Travel expenses.
- Medical expenses.
The damages awarded under the “special damages” umbrella are purely financial transactions relating to connected expenses in the past and any potential expenditure going forward. There is no room for variation on opinion with regards to expenses already incurred although when looking towards estimated future costs there can be some variation on opinion – ultimately the court will rule on what is permissible.
While there is no hard and fast rule with regards to levels of “general damages” there are guidelines in place which suggest a range of settlement amounts for specific injuries. There is a range because no two shoulder injury compensation claims are identical therefore each is considered on its own merits. The compensation guidelines are as follows:
- A few hundred £’s-£6000 for soft tissue shoulder injuries. The level of compensation awarded will vary due to seriousness of the injury and recovery time.
- £3900-£9300 for a fractured clavicle. The amount awarded will vary due to points such as how severe the fracture is and what level of disability the shoulder injury is causing.
- £6000-£9700 for a frozen shoulder which inhibits movement and symptoms that might last for a couple of years.
- £9700-£14,600 for a serious shoulder dislocation and damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus with pain in the neck and shoulder.
- £14,600-£36,500 for severe brachial plexus damage which results in serious disability.
It is up to the claimant and defendant to agree an out of court settlement otherwise the award will be dictated by the judge if the claim goes to court.
Supporting Evidence For A Shoulder Injury Claim
In order to pursue a successful shoulder injury claim the claimant must be able to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached this duty which then caused the accident and injury in question. There are instances where it is quite obvious where negligence and liability lay and these cases are often settled out of court relatively quickly. There will be occasions where liability is disputed and your solicitor must be able to build as strong a case as possible for your claim.
Building A Case For Shoulder Injury Compensation
The vital element in any shoulder injury claim is proof. To build a strong claim it is better to have the following proof:
- Proof the accident was reported to the relevant parties as soon as possible. This could be your employer if the incident occurred in the workplace, local council if it was caused by ill maintained pathways or perhaps a shop manager if you slipped and fell on their premises.
- All witness contact details/ statements as corroborating evidence is extremely useful.
- Pictures of the scene of the accident and the extent of your injuries.
- A medical report confirming a shoulder injury as a consequence of the accident.
It is also vital that you write down your account of the accident, when it happened, how it happened and why it happened. Even if you have a valid claim for compensation, the omission of strong evidence to support your claim will encourage the defending legal team to take the case to court. Some information may seem fairly irrelevant at the time but further down the line this could form a useful part of your shoulder injury claim.