Filing a shoulder injury claim can help you get compensation for damage incurred to your arm.
The truth is that an injury of this nature can be quite debilitating. It commonly affects a person’s use of their arm or hands, which can lead to financial hardships, especially when they are unable to work or perform daily activities.
The shoulder joint is the ball-and-socket joint at the top of the arm. It is the major joint that connects the upper limbs to the trunk and is one of the most mobile joints in the human body. However, the shoulder’s mobility range affects its stability and injuries are common.
Many victims suffer in silence when going through this kind of trauma. However, if you have suffered a shoulder injury which was not your fault, you could seek recourse through a civil court action.
Type Of Shoulder Injuries
Ageing, manual labour, repetitive movement and sports are all factors that can cause shoulder problems. However, injuries to this joint can also occur due to a bad fall or accident. Some common examples include:
1) Broken Bones
Breaks in the shoulder can affect the humerus (a long bone in the upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and the clavicle (collarbone). You may sustain this type of injury because of a blow to the shoulder or falling onto a hard surface with the arm outstretched.
Shoulder fractures are also common in motorcycle accidents and can cause pain, swelling and bruising. You may need up to six weeks to heal. Treatment may involve the simple use of a sling, but, in more severe cases, surgery may be required to realign and fix the broken bone(s).
2) Torn Rotator Cuff
This injury affects the tendons and muscles that stabilise the shoulder. It can trigger shoulder pain, weakness, and popping sensations during arm movements. The rotator cuff can tear gradually or due to sudden injury, and it is a common injury in manual handling compensation claims. Recovery can span between four to six months, depending on the size and severity of the tear.
3) Dislocated Shoulder
When the ball of the humerus pops out of its socket, it is referred to as a dislocated shoulder. Common in rugby tackles and falls, this type of injury occurs when the upper arm joint is in a vulnerable position. It can restrict full arm function for up to 16 weeks.
Symptoms can include discomfort, numbness, weakness, inflammation, and an arm that looks out of place. The surrounding tissues and ligaments may overstretch and tear as well, due to the dislocation of the bone.
4) Labral Tear
The labrum is a piece of rubbery fibrocartilage tissue attached to the shoulder socket. It can tear due to a traumatic injury or repetitive motion in the upper arm.
With this painful condition, swelling occurs in fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning between bones. Repetitive motions that put pressure on the shoulder joint can cause bursitis.
This could be due to repeatedly lifting something above your head, for example. There are many other ways the shoulder could get hurt and injured besides those listed above.
However, not all types of damage will qualify for compensation. For instance, you cannot make a shoulder injury claim for problems that are due to natural causes, such as the normal ageing process or due to an underlying medical condition.
Generally speaking, someone else needs to have been responsible for the injury, in order to make a valid claim.
Reasons To Claim Shoulder Injury Compensation
There are three reasons why you may want to consider filing a shoulder injury claim for compensation. You have the likelihood of building a strong case if:
- Someone else is to blame for your injury,
- The liable party owed you a duty of care; and
- You can prove that there was negligence on the part of the third party involved in your accident.
Below are some of the common circumstances in which you may have a valid claim for shoulder injury compensation.
Shoulder Injury From Accidents At The Workplace
Statistics reported from the Labour Force Survey indicate that there were 555,000 non-fatal injuries at work in Great Britain during 2017/18. Although such injuries are common, the good news is that employers are legally required to provide a safe working environment.
The Health and Safety Executive is the agency responsible for providing the framework for work-related safety issues in the UK. Employers are obligated to put in place precautions that prevent physical harm to their employees.
Statutory rules and regulations also require them to educate and train staff adequately on safety matters and provide employees with the necessary protective equipment.
Businesses or organisations can be liable for negligence, if they fail to adhere to health and safety legislation. If you suffer a shoulder injury at the workplace, then you may qualify for worker’s compensation. Such incidents may happen due to (but not limited to) the following reasons.
- Slipping on wet or poorly maintained floors
- Using uncomfortable office furniture
- Dangerous practices or procedures
- Inadequate training
- Lack of personal protective gear
- Manual handling accidents
- Lifting and carrying heavy objects
In the UK, most employers are obliged to purchase liability insurance as per provisions in the Compulsory Insurance Act 1969. If this form of worker’s protection is available, it may offer wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the line of duty.
However, a common caveat is that employees who benefit in such schemes have to relinquish their right to claim for negligence.
Employer Liability Insurance is not a requirement for local authorities, law enforcement, nationalised industries, health service bodies or NHS trusts, and ship-owners who offer mutual insurance. When working in such sectors, it will be necessary to seek legal redress for your shoulder accident with the help of a personal injury solicitor.
Shoulder Injuries Due To Road Traffic Accidents
Automobile accidents that cause shoulder injuries are just as frequent as those that happen in the workplace.
Every year, thousands of people suffer an injury on Britain’s roads. If you sustain a shoulder injury while cycling, in a car or motorbike crash and it was not your fault, you can claim compensation from the driver who caused the accident.
Shoulder Injury Accidents In Public Places
Besides employers and drivers on the roads, owners of public facilities have a responsibility to prevent accidents from happening.
For instance, the local council must ensure that pavements and pathways are safe to walk on. That means that if a cracked paving slab triggers a fall that results in a shoulder injury, you may be due compensation from the local authority.
The same applies to restaurants, shop owners, and operators of public establishments. Therefore, businesses that fail to prevent accidents, which lead to shoulder injuries caused by public safety hazards, may be sued for negligence.
Shoulder Injury Claim Compensation Amounts
Many people often want to know how much compensation they can get from a successful personal injury claim. However, it is very difficult to project settlement amounts in this way, since every shoulder injury is considered on its own merit.
The severity of the damage and length of time taken to heal from the injury will have a significant impact on the final pay-out awarded to the victim.
What’s more, the value of the settlement will also depend on the level of any remaining disability or residual symptoms. The pay-out may also reduce if there is any shared liability apportioned to you.
What Damages Are Awarded In A Shoulder Injury Claim?
It is essential to be realistic about what to expect from a shoulder injury claim when it comes to compensation pay-outs. Part of this means getting to know what compensation actually covers.
Final settlements are usually calculated using a combination of two types of compensation, called general damages and special damages.
Shoulder injuries can lead to a financial loss in several ways. For instance, the inability to work with an injured shoulder will lead to absence from work, likely resulting in lost earnings.
You are also likely to incur additional medical costs when seeking treatment, be it for prescribed medication or perhaps for on-going physiotherapy.
What’s more, additional travel expenses may mount up when making trips to and from the GP or hospital. All of these financial costs fall under the umbrella of ‘special damages’, which are considered for reimbursement in a shoulder injury claim.
On the other hand, you can make a claim for ‘general damages’ as well. The pay-out for this type of compensation takes into account the physical and mental toll of an injury on your day-to-day life. It covers such things as pain and suffering.
Gathering Supporting Evidence For A Shoulder Injury Claim
When seeking compensation in this type of claim, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a third party directly caused the accident or incident that led to your shoulder injury. Here are some steps you can take to build a strong case.
- Report the incident to the relevant parties as soon as possible.
- Get timely treatment. Doing so will prevent your shoulder injury from developing complications.
- Obtain an expert medical report that will evaluate your pain, suffering, disfigurement and psychological trauma. A prognosis of your injury will also help estimate the future financial implications your injury will have. Remember to also to keep all documents relating to your medical expenses, such as a detailed travel itinerary to the treatment facility, hospital bills, prescription receipts, bus tickets and so on.
- Ask witnesses who were present at the time of the accident for their contact details or statements to support your case.
- Take pictures of your injury to show the extent of the damage. Photos of the accident scene with evidence of liability can also be helpful.
- File your claim in time. Shoulder injury claims can be statute-barred if you do not file your case within three years of sustaining the injury.
- Make sure to seek help from a claims advisor or personal injury solicitor. There are many law firms these days that offer assistance for shoulder injury claims on a ‘no win-no fee’ basis.
Therefore, you won’t have to spend any money upfront. Also, experienced personal injury solicitors will be able to advise you on whether compensation offers are fair if a liable party opts for an out-of-court settlement.