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Upper Limb Injury Claims

What is an upper limb injury?

It’s hard to imagine being able to get through your usual daily routine without the use of an arm or hand, but arm injuries can cause real practical problems – particularly if you’ve broken your arm. Thankfully, arm injury claims can be made by anyone who has suffered elbow or arm injuries in some way because of someone else’s negligence or breach of duty.

Arm injuries can cause significant pain and distress. Even worse, they can make daily activities, work and hobbies difficult or impossible until you have recovered. In fact, it’s not until you’ve injured your upper limbs that you realise how much you rely on your hands and arms (especially if affects your dominant hand).

You may have been injured at work or suffered sporting injuries or been hurt in a restaurant. However, if you’ve suffered an arm injury – whether that’s a broken wrist or a fractured arm or elbow – and it wasn’t your fault, you should be able to bring an arm injury compensation claim.

Arm injuries vary greatly. You may have suffered a complex broken humerus, a sprained wrist or wrist fractures; tendon sprains or shoulder damage – or a more serious arm injury. You may have developed a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome or you may even have lost all or part of an arm. Even minor injuries such as finger injuries or a broken ulna can be painful and difficult to cope with as you recover.

How you can make a claim for an upper limb injury

Whatever your injury, we understand how you might be anxious about the future – especially if you could be left with significant disabilities. This is why it’s so important that an injured person has the right to bring a no win no fee arm injury claim. An upper arm injury can make you dependent on your loved ones for a while; and you could be in significant pain and discomfort, needing ongoing medical treatment. If you’ve suffered severe injuries, you may also be left unable to work – either temporarily or for the foreseeable future, which will probably compound the distress you may be experiencing.

For these reasons, if you’ve suffered an upper limb injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s only fair that they should be held accountable for what has happened. Thankfully, the law allows you to claim compensation for an arm injury in these situations. We know arm injury compensation won’t undo what’s happened, but it can go a long way in helping with your recovery from serious injuries and getting your life back on track.

Getting started with your personal injury claim is simple – simply give a trained legal adviser a call on 0800 234 6438 for free. They’ll talk you through the accident, explain your options then partner you with specialist personal injury solicitors who can give you a free consultation.

Your arm injury claim will be taken on a no win no fee basis which means you will not have to pay out anything if you do not win.

If you prefer, you can fill in this online contact form and request a call back from an expert adviser.

What are the different types of arm injury?

Many arm injuries are classed as an upper limb injury – including to the shoulder, elbow, wrist and the hands and fingers. Some of these injuries are serious and potentially life changing; while lesser injuries such as a broken wrist are relatively mild with a quick recovery. The most common types of such an injury include:

Fractures and broken bones

There are three main bones in the arm itself (the ulna, radius and humerus). Fractures and broken bones, such as a straightforward broken humerus, can heal quickly and with no long-term effects – even if they do cause a few weeks’ worth of inconvenience and prevent you from carrying out your normal activities for a while.

However, some fractures can be complicated and need surgery. Serious fractures can lead to ongoing problems which can make it difficult to get on with your day-to-day life, and may impact your ability to work, drive and enjoy your hobbies.

Torn ligaments, tendons and muscles

Injuries such as a pulled arm or wrist muscle can be mild or turn out to be more serious. Elbows are particularly susceptible to excess stress, causing a sprain or a painful condition called tennis elbow. In serious cases, such as a ruptured bicep muscle, full recovery can take months causing temporary disability.

The muscles in the hands can also be strained, torn or sprained under stress or a quick twisting movement.


Dislocation is an extremely painful injury where the bone, such as the shoulder or the elbow, is pulled out of its natural alignment. The bone is dislodged from the joint, causing severe pain that eases once it’s ‘put back’ into place. However, dislocation can leave residual pain, swelling and bruising and can also affect the nerves, such as the median nerve in the case of an elbow dislocation.

Dislocation can also be caused by trauma, such as a sporting injury or a workplace accident, but thankfully it is relatively rare. That said, once dislocation has occurred it can leave a joint weakness, raising the risk of a subsequent dislocation.

DID YOU KNOW: Dislocation injuries can take 12-16 weeks to heal completely. Psychological damage can take much longer.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is an arm injury or upper limb disorder caused by pressure being exerted on the main wrist nerve. It is often caused by repetitive hand movements, which is why it is a common work related upper limb disorder. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness and pain in varying degrees.

In the worst cases, sleep can be difficult and normal daily activities can become challenging because of the hand and fingers being numb and painful. The only cure for carpal tunnel syndrome is surgery, though different treatments can help with the symtoms.

Similar upper arm conditions, typically caused by workplace conditions, include repetitive strain injury (RSI) and hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVs) which is nerve damage.

Burns and scalds

Burns to the arm can be mild or they can be very serious and cause significant physical problems. They can be caused by hot surfaces and liquids as well as electrical currents and chemicals. Significant burns – third and fourth degree burns – can lead to permanent scar damage which might need plastic surgery. This can be particularly distressing when, for instance, you will want to wear short-sleeved tops in the warm weather.

Some types of workplace present a very high risk of burns and scalds, particularly factories, construction sites and labs. You can claim compensation for minor burns and scalds as well as serious burns if you weren’t to blame.


Amputation of the arm – or even the arm and shoulder – is, without a doubt, the most distressing and serious arm injury you can imagine. It leaves the injured person with permanent and substantial disablement. A successful arm injury claim following an amputation will understandably lead to a substantial award to reflect the pain and distress this will cause.

Amputation can be caused instantaneously in an accident; or doctors may decide that surgical amputation is necessary to save the person’s life. An upper arm amputation injury is life-changing – even losing a finger can be devastating. Expert personal injury solicitors will help you secure maximum compensation to pay for the support you need.

DID YOU KNOW: A production employee lost three fingers and part of the palm of their right hand when an accident occurred while cleaning a screw conveyor. The company was found to have breached health and safety rules and fined £70,000 plus costs of more than £4,500.

What’s the typical recovery time for arm injuries?

This depends on the nature of the arm injury. The recovery time is, however, important because it will be a crucial factor for your injury solicitors when they’re ready to begin negotiating how much your arm injury compensation claim is worth. If you’re likely to be fully recovered within a month, your injury claim will receive less than a more serious injury with a recovery time of 12 months or more.

There are examples of normal recovery times for some arm injuries:

  • Normal fractures and breaks – 6–8 weeks
  • Strains and sprains – 3-6 weeks for mild cases and several months for serious cases
  • Ruptured muscles – 3-4 months
  • Burns – weeks or many months depending on severity
  • Amputation – amputation wounds usually heal in 4-8 weeks. The physical and psychological healing and adjustment will be ongoing.

Arm injury claims will take into account the recovery time for your particular injury. We understand how a lengthy time for rehabilitation is inconvenient and distressing. Our trained advisers are experienced in providing sympathetic guidance on the claims process so that you are able to understand how your arm injury compensation will be calculated.

You can contact a legal adviser using the online claim form, or call for free legal advice on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: A passenger on a paddle steamer who suffered a broken arm when the vessel crashed into a pier on the Isle of Arran in 2020 was awarded a five-figure compensation payout from the owners of the vessel.
SOURCE: Daily Record

Upper limb injuries as a result of work

We all use our hands and arms in the workplace – including office workers and those who work in factories or shops. This means wherever you go to work you are at some level of risk of an arm injury – however low the risk might be in reality. Fortunately, most of us never suffer an injury of any sort at work, so it’s extremely distressing when an accident does happen.

It is reasonable to expect to go to your workplace, do your job and come home ‘in one piece’. No-one anticipates going to work one day and break an arm or sprain your wrist. The fact is, if you’re using machinery or tools, working in a factory or on a construction site, or preparing hot food and drinks in a restaurant – you could suffer a work related upper limb injury or develop an industrial disease.

Find out more about making supermarket injury claims.

Examples of how arm injuries and conditions are caused include:

  • Falls from heights, causing arm and shoulder injuries
  • Hands and arms trapped by machinery and doors
  • Inadequate training
  • Failure to provide effective personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Burns caused by hot liquids, electrical currents or chemicals
  • Broken arms or crush injuries caused by forklift or other types of workplace vehicle
  • Conditions such as hand arm vibration syndrome
  • Criminal assaults

Importantly, most workplace accidents are preventable and if you’ve been unlucky enough to have been injured at work – it’s probably because your employer breached its duty of care to you. The law imposes strict health and safety responsibilities on employers to ensure your workplace is safe and free from the risk of injury to you and other workers.

This means employers must carry out risk assessments so that any risks to worker health and safety are identified and then dealt with promptly. Employers also have specific responsibilities, for instance, under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Machine Safety Regulations.

These require employers to ensure equipment and machinery are safe and suitable for use and accompanied by safety measures, such as guards and emergency stop devices. This drastically reduced the risk of upper limb injury to those operating – or working near – those machines.

DID YOU KNOW: The upper limbs are the second most likely part of the body to be injured due to manual handling in the pharmaceuticals industry. The back was by far the most commonly injured as a result of manual handling.

If you have suffered an arm injury while at work, it’s important to act quickly and take specialist legal advice about bringing your arm injury compensation claim and how specialist solicitors can work towards securing maximum compensation.

It might be that you’ve developed a painful condition in either or both your upper limbs as a result of your work. That might be repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome or vibration white finger.

In these cases, you are perfectly entitled to make a claim for compensation – even if it is years since you were doing the work you believed caused your problems. The key thing is to talk the issues through with a trained advisor to find out what your rights are.

We do understand what a distressing time it is and you may well be worried about suing your employer, so it can be immensely reassuring to know that your arm injury claim will actually be against their insurance company and not the employer directly. Your compensation will then be paid by the insurer and not out of the employer’s own pocket.

What if I’m self-employed?

Are you self-employed and want to claim arm injury compensation? An employer’s health and safety duties protect the self-employed and any other worker, not just employed members of staff. This includes agency staff and those on zero hours contracts.

So if you’ve been injured while working, whether or not you’re employed you should still be able to make a no win no fee arm injury claim if the incident was caused by someone else.

By making no win no fee claims, the financial risk of bringing compensation claims is removed: if you don’t win, you don’t pay out any legal fees. And if you win, you’ll pay your solicitor’s a success fee as a percentage of your compensation to cover your legal costs. This will ever be more than 25% of the money you receive.

For more help, simply call a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438 for free or enter your name and number at the bottom of this page to request a call back.

DID YOU KNOW: Around 40% of workplace injuries involve workers’ arms.

Will I need a medical report?

When you make a personal injury claim, you will need to have a medical examination by a specialist doctor so that the full extent of your injury and its impact on your life can be assessed. This is in addition to any medical advice and treatment you’ve already received. The medical expert will then write a report to assist your claim.

You don’t need to worry about this as your solicitor will arrange this for you under your no win no fee agreement. If your claim does not succeed, you won’t have anything to pay; and if you win compensation – your solicitors’ success fee will cover the cost of your medical report and other legal fees and costs.

Upper limb injuries as a result of personal injury in public

It is the reality that whatever we do and where we go there is a risk of accident and injury. Whether you’re at work or at home, in the supermarket or at the park, the most unexpected event can happen and we can get hurt.

If you have been in a public place and have been injured because of someone else’s mistake or carelessness, it’s important to speak to our legally trained advisers; because there’s every chance you can make an arm injury compensation claim.

The fact is, an upper limb injury can be caused while you’re out and about or inside a coffee shop, supermarket or while using leisure facilities. The law states that whoever is the operator or occupier of the land or premises has a duty of care to minimise the risk of personal injury to members of the public and to visitors. If this duty is breached and injuries, such as upper limb injuries, are caused – they will be held responsible and can face arm injury compensation claims.

So if your injury has been caused in a public place, you can make your arm injury claim against the relevant authority or business, whether it’s Tesco, Costa Coffee or the local authority. You need not worry about who that might be if you’re unsure – your personal injury solicitor will take information from you about what happened and will then identify who your arm injury compensation claim will be made against.

The organisation will have public liability insurance in place to cover the cost of personal injury compensation claims from members of the public. Your arm injury claim will be taken on a no win no fee basis so get in touch with us for free on 0800 234 6438.

DID YOU KNOW: A primary school teacher in Cheshire won £155,083 after she was assaulted by a pupil in the classroom. The child grabbed the teacher’s neck and her right hand and twisted her wrist, leaving her with ligament damage.
SOURCE: inews.co.uk

Upper limb injuries from road traffic accidents

Sadly, road traffic accidents are a common occurrence on busy UK roads. While traffic accidents can occur without any injuries being caused, many more road accidents lead to personal injury. Some injuries are minor while others can cause serious, life-changing injuries.

Upper limb injuries are common in traffic accidents – whether that’s a bone fracture, crush injuries or serious bruising. But if the accident was someone else’s fault – usually the other driver – you can claim arm injury compensation. In these cases, injury claims would be against the insurance company of the driver involved.

Sometimes the driver will accept responsibility at the scene. Unfortunately, they often go back on that when the insurance companies get involved; but your personal injury solicitor will be able to explain the no win no fee claims process to you if liability is disputed.

You may be very worried in case you are found partly to blame for the accident. For instance, you may not have been wearing a seatbelt at the time. But this will not stop you making a road traffic accident claims; it simply means that you may not receive the full amount of your compensation. For example, if you are found 20% to blame, any compensation you could receive is likely to be reduced by 20%.

What can arm injury compensation claims cover?

It’s natural to want to know what you might be entitled to after suffering an upper limb injury. But how much compensation you will win depends on the nature and extent of your personal injuries, your recovery time and the impact on your life.

Usually, fair compensation amounts can be agreed with the other side once all the facts are known. You can be sure that your specialist solicitor will ensure that the compensation awarded will take into account the full physical, mental and financial impact of your particular injuries. You can claim for:

Your injury, pain and suffering

This is called ‘general damages’. The amount you receive will reflect the nature and seriousness of your injury and your physical recovery. You may also be able to make a claim for trauma or psychological harm caused by the accident but your solicitor will discuss this with you.

Actual financial losses

These are called ‘special damages’ and are intended to reimburse you for financial losses as a direct result of the accident, such as loss of earnings, prescription costs, medical expenses and travel costs.

Injury claims can also include a claim for loss of future earnings if, for instance, you are unable to carry on in your career because of your accident. If you need to pay for private medical treatment and therapies or for adaptations at home so that you can get home, you can claim compensation for these anticipated medical costs and further financial support required.

Depending on your unique circumstances, your personal injury claim may need to include a number of different elements but you need not worry. Your solicitor will discuss each of these elements with you to ensure you’re properly compensated.

How much will my claim be worth?

Personal injury claims, such as arm injury compensation claims, can be complex because every injury is different; and some people suffer a single injury while others suffer multiple injuries. This means there is no average compensation for an upper limb injury. Other factors are also relevant to how much compensation the injured person may receive, such as how serious the injury is; how long it will take you recover; and what impact it is having on your daily life.

This means it is very difficult to estimate how much your arm injury compensation claim may be worth this early. Upper limb injuries can be minor and take a week or so to recover from; or they can be serious and lead to long-term problems or even permanent disability.

What we can do at this point is give you a rough idea of suggested compensation amounts for a single injury, taking into account formal guidelines which are published for lawyers (the Judicial College Guidelines 15th Edition). For example:

  • Fractured or broken forearm (eg broken radius) – £5,280 to £15,300
  • Moderate elbow injury with long-term issues (eg muscle tears) – £12,480 to £25,510
  • Loss of an arm below the elbow – £76,650 to £87,410
  • Minor soft tissue injury – up to £9,500
  • Minor hand injury – up to £3,460

Bear in mind these examples are intended only as a guide for how much upper limb injury claims are worth – your personal injury solicitor will discuss your own compensation with you in more detail. You can also use our calculation guide here which will also give you a rough estimate of your potential compensation.

Will I have to go to court?

It can be reassuring to know that the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled before they get to court, and your solicitors will work hard to bring your claim to a swift and successful outcome.

To find out more about the claims process, get in touch with our advisors on 0800 234 6438, or use our contact form and we’ll get back to you. We’ll partner you with specialist injury lawyers for a free initial consultation. Solicitors are heavily regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – giving much needed peace of mind.

How to make a compensation claim

If you believe someone else is to blame your injuries, you should be able to take the first steps to make an injury claim. Even if you think you were partly responsibility, it is wise to speak to our specialist advisers to put your mind at rest. You can still make a claim but bear in mind that if you were partly to blame, the compensation awarded may be reduced.

In most cases, arm injury claims must be started within three years of the accident, otherwise you might be ‘time barred’. However, personal injury claims on behalf of children who have suffered upper limb injuries have until they are 21 years old. In practice, you should start arm injury claims as soon as you can while events are fresh in your mind and witnesses can be found.

Get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or fill in one of the online contact forms on this page to get started with claiming compensation.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

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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