It may not be until you’ve badly hurt your arm that you realise how difficult it is to live your daily life with limited mobility and reduced independence. Often, injuring your arm in some way is just ‘one of those things’ – twisting awkwardly when you stretch your arm out, banging your elbow against a door or tripping over a rock when out walking and falling on your arm.
But if you’ve injured your arm in an accident that was somebody else’s fault, it can be particularly frustrating. It’s only fair that the person responsible should be held accountable for what has happened. Thankfully, the law allows you to claim fair compensation for an injury caused by someone else.
Arm injuries can happen at work or in a supermarket; in road traffic accidents; in trips in the street due to uneven paving; falling over hazards in restaurants; and in public parks and during sporting activities, as well as in other situations.
But whatever the cause, an arm injury can really take its toll on your daily life. Even a mild injury, such as a sprained muscle, can be very wearing and prevent you undertaking your usual hobbies or work activities. You may, for example, be unable to drive or go back to work for a while.
Serious arm injuries and conditions may be having a significant impact on your life and it’s only fair that your compensation reflects the full extent of how your injury is effecting you.
You may even have to face having time off work to recover. For some people this could make paying the bills a major challenge and this could impact on your physical recovery.
Depending on the circumstances, there is a wide range of arm injuries and conditions. You may have fractured a bone; you may have tendon injuries in your elbow or wrist; you might have sprained your shoulder; developed a painful nerve condition; or even suffered an amputation injury to part of your arm. Occupational conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome and the painful condition vibration white finger.
Whatever the nature of your arm injury, if someone else was to blame, you can bring a claim for injury compensation. In some cases, you may be unsure whether the incident was the result of another person’s negligence or your own carelessness. If you are unsure, always discuss your specific situation with specialist legal advisers because they will identify when someone else should be held responsible.
Depending on where the incident took place, your claim could be against organisations such as a local authority or your employer; a supermarket chain; the highways agency; or an NHS trust.
Importantly, if you’ve sustained an arm injury through no fault of your own, a specialist solicitor can discuss your situation with you and guide you through the process or making a personal injury claim.
Your claim will usually be taken on a no win no fee basis which means you will not have to pay costly solicitors’ fees if you do not win. You can call free on 0800 234 6438 to speak to an expert legal adviser or, if you prefer, you can fill in the online contact form.
Arm injuries can include damage to any part of the arm, including your wrist and elbow. Because of the complex joints and muscles in our arms (and how we use them for most activities), the range and severity of arm injuries vary hugely – from bruises to serious bone injury, ruptured tendons or even amputation.
This means the impact of one person’s arm injury on their life is likely to be very different to someone else’s. A complex elbow injury may, for instance, take much longer to heal than a clean break of the bone.
Typical examples of common arm injuries for which you can make a compensation claim include:
There is a risk of injury to the arm and to the hands and shoulder both at work and outside of the workplace, for example, in public places, restaurants, in healthcare settings, shops and elsewhere. Examples of how arm injuries and conditions affecting the arm can be caused include:
Accidents in the workplace are the most common cause of arm injury. When you think about it, a large portion of any worker’s week is spent in the workplace and if your work is physical, there is a greater risk of injury. Overuse can trigger an arm injury or condition; and where machines, tools and vehicles are being operated, there is a real risk of injury.
Even so, the law imposes strict health and safety responsibilities on employers to ensure the workplace is safe. They must have procedures and processes that identify promptly any risks to worker health and safety and to deal with identified problems in a timely way.
These are known as ‘risk assessments’ and should be carried out regularly – and acted upon when risks are identified.
As well as these general obligations, there are specific requirements imposed. For example:
If you have been injured in an accident at work, or developed a hand or arm injury as a result of your work, it is quite likely that your employer failed to fully comply with its health and safety obligations to protect you.
When a serious injury does happen in the workplace or an occupation condition develops, the employer has a legal duty to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). These reportable incidents include those that result in a broken, fractured or amputated arm and serious burn injuries.
It is important to take specialist legal advice before making an injury claim against your employer. It is understandable to be worried about suing your employer. But we can reassure you that your claim will be against the employer’s insurance company and not the employer directly.
The compensation will then be paid by the insurer and not out of the employer’s own pocket.
The fact that you’re self-employed does not prevent you from making an injury claim – you are legally entitled to do so. You may, for example, be a casual labourer or a self-employed electrician injured while at work or you’ve developed a painful arm condition because of equipment you’ve been using over a period of time. Even if you are self-employed – or working as a sub-contractor or freelancer – you are protected in the event of an accident at work under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as well as other laws.
Businesses are legally required to ensure those working on their premises can work and carry out their duties in a safe working environment, free from the risk of injury. This duty of care extends to workers who are not employed directly by the business.
So if you are self-employed, suffered an injury at work and it wasn’t your fault, you could make an injury claim.
You have the legal right to make an injury claim if you have suffered an arm injury at work. Even so, we understand that you may be worried about possible repercussions if you make a claim.
People don’t willingly make life difficult for the employer; and having exposed problems relating to health and safety in your workplace – knowing you are returning to work – can be a huge worry.
Thankfully, when it comes to making an injury claim against your employer, there are laws in place to protect you from being unfairly dismissed or treated differently, such as the Employment Rights Act 1996. Quite simply, it’s illegal for you to be fired or disciplined for making a claim against your employer.
This means that in the unlikely event you do lose your job, or were harassed for making your claim, you’ll be able to take legal action against your employer because such behaviour is unlawful.
This can be hugely reassuring for injured workers worried about making a compensation claim after an accident at work.
If you find yourself in a difficult position at work as a direct result of your injury claim, talk to your solicitor. You may consider taking action because there could be an unfair dismissal claim in addition to your injury claim.
The general rule is that you have three years from the date of the accident to start legal proceedings for compensation. After three years, you may be ‘time barred’ from making a claim. If you have developed a condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or vibration white finger, the three years starts to run from the date you could reasonably have expected to have known that the incident (or your workplace environment) caused it.
If in doubt about whether you are time barred, don’t assume you can’t make a claim because of the passage of time. We strongly recommend talking things through with a specialist legal adviser free on 0800 234 6438 so that you’re aware of your rights.
This depends on the nature and extent of your injury or condition. The reality is, no two accidents are the same, so it can be very difficult to give an exact figure of how much compensation you might receive for your injury before you start your claim. However, you can be sure your solicitor will always work to secure you the maximum amount of compensation possible. Factors that will be relevant include:
Your solicitor will look at the full impact of your injury and will work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. This will compensate you for the actual injuries and their impact (‘general damages’) and your financial losses (‘special damages’).
General damages vary greatly, depending on the seriousness of your injury or condition. That said, there are formal judicial guidelines which lawyers and judges refer to calculate what someone could be entitled to by way of compensation. For example:
The wide range of compensation potentially available illustrates just how difficult it is to estimate how much any one injury is worth, without knowing the nature and impact of the injury on the individual.
You might, for instance, want to know how much compensation you get for a tendon injury; or how much you can claim for a broken arm in UK. The wisest thing you can do is to get in touch with a legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 to discuss your unique situation, or enter your details into the form on this page to request a call back.
If you have a case, the legal adviser can pass you on to a solicitor who will be able to give you a more accurate picture of how much compensation you deserve.
For example, if you’re wondering how much you should settle for a broken arm caused in a workplace accident, your solicitor will try to negotiate the maximum amount possible with your employer’s insurer (bearing in mind the judicial guidelines mentioned above).
Your injury compensation will also include a portion of ‘special damages’ to compensate you for your financial losses (past and future). Your solicitor will ask you for detailed information about the financial impact of your arm injury before calculating how much to claim.
For example, they will need details of:
Your injury solicitor will work hard to negotiate for you the compensation you deserve. In the case of serious injury, if you are struggling financially as a direct result of your injury, you may be able to secure interim payments of your compensation to cover any immediate expenses before a final settlement is made.
The starting point is – if your arm injury was caused because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you can make a compensation claim. So long as a duty of care was owed to you, and that duty was breached leading directly to your injury, they can be held liable.
You should speak with a specialist injury solicitor as soon as possible while events are fresh in your mind. When you first speak with your solicitor, try to have as much information to hand as possible – including details of witnesses and any photographs or sketches of where the incident happened. This will make it easier for you to answer their initial questions and obtain the best possible early advice.
We strongly suggest you keep a detailed account of what caused the accident (or condition) and keep it updated as you continue on your road to recovery. Make sure you have details of any witnesses to what happened and any CCTV of the incident that may still be available.
Bear in mind some of the physical impact of your injury may not immediately be apparent. Bruising, for example, can take days to become evident. If you’ve not sought medical advice or treatment for an arm injury, it is imperative you do so straightaway because this will be vital evidence for your claim.
You would also be wise to gather details of any loss of earnings directly related to the accident, and other costs such as travel costs and medical-related expenses.
The more information your solicitor has to support your claim, the greater the chances of securing the maximum amount you deserve as early as possible. It will be necessary to obtain an expert medical report to support your claim. However, you don’t need to worry about this as your solicitor will organize this for you at the appropriate time.
Your lawyer will discuss the claims process with you, guiding you through the initial steps and advising you of the options, depending on whether the other side admit responsibility. In the vast majority of cases, the injury claim can be settled without going to court.
To get the ball rolling and start your arm injury claim, contact an injury lawyer today.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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