If an orthopaedic injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Orthopaedic injuries, such as bone fractures and joint issues, cause pain and limited mobility, and often require surgery or physical therapy. If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an orthopaedic injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.
In this article
You are not alone
Orthopaedics is a branch of medicine that deals with injuries and conditions of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and spinal column. Worldwide, around 25% of healthcare expenditure is allocated to major orthopaedic trauma, such as fractures and dislocations. In the UK, hip fractures alone account for 70,000 hospital admissions each year.
The Courts recognise that orthopaedic injuries can cause significant lasting pain and disruption. Depending on the nature and severity of the injury, orthopaedic injury compensation awards can be relatively high.
If you decide to make an orthopaedic injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Do I qualify for orthopaedic injury compensation?
If you've been injured or made ill in the last three years and it wasn't your fault, then you will be entitled to claim compensation for orthopaedic injury.
Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.
Compensation claims with shared fault
It's not unusual for personal injury claims to involve fault on both sides.
In our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, we found that 13.99% of respondents felt they had at least some responsibility for the injuries they sustained.
You may still be able to claim compensation even if your actions may have contributed to the accident. Claims where there is fault on both sides (contributory negligence) are often resolved with a split liability agreement.
How long after an orthopaedic injury do I have to claim compensation?
For most injury claims, you have up to 3 years from the date of your injury to start the claims process.
The 3 year limitation period does not apply to minors (under 18s). A parent, guardian or litigation friend can start a claim on a child's behalf up to their 18th birthday and the child has until their 21st birthday to claim for themselves.
What orthopaedic injuries are recognised by the Courts?
Any injury that affects the musculoskeletal system is classified as an orthopaedic injury. The category includes:
- Breaks and fractures
- Muscle, ligament and tendon injuries
- Serious nerve injuries
- Joint replacement, for example, a hip or knee replacement
- Spinal disorders
Orthopaedic injuries can range from the minor to the very serious. Major tears and fractures may require hospital treatment, including surgery and physiotherapy. Such injuries can take a long time to heal and may cause permanent weakness and instability in the joint. It is not uncommon for secondary conditions, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, to develop.
As an initial step, an injury lawyer will arrange a medical examination. The examination will investigate the extent of the orthopaedic injury and give an independent prognosis of the long-term outcome for the patient. The findings of the independent medical report will be used to support the orthopaedic injury compensation claim.
Identifying the cause of an injury
The cause of most fractures is severe trauma to a bone. Road traffic accidents and falls from height are the primary mechanism of injury resulting in orthopaedic hospital treatment. Trauma is also the primary cause of most muscle, ligament and tendon injuries.
Orthopaedic injuries may also be sustained:
- Through overloading, where the is caused to carry out hard physical tasks without using the proper lifting and carrying aids.
- Through overuse, where carrying out the same activity on a continuous basis for long periods may cause soft tissue damage such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
For the purposes of making a successful claim, the cause of the injury is significant. It must be shown that the accident was caused by another party's act or negligence, and that the accident in question was the cause of the orthopaedic injury.
Quittance's solicitors have a wealth of experience assisting people who have suffered orthopaedic injuries:
- In a road traffic accident
- In an accident at work due to dangerous machinery
- In a slip, trip and fall accident
- As a result of a fall from height
- In a manual handling accident
- Playing sports such football or rugby
- As a result of medical negligence.
Orthopaedic surgery compensation claims
Orthopaedic surgery is a complex branch of medicine and mistakes, while regrettable, do happen. Orthopaedic surgeons are more than twice as likely to be sued than those in any other branch of the medical profession.
Common complications that may arise as a result of surgical negligence include:
- Medical misdiagnosis
- Problems with joint replacement surgery
- Equipment malfunction
- Misreading x-rays, resulting in the delay or lack of appropriate treatment
- Negligent surgical practice leading to nerve or spinal damage
- Post-operative infection.
Medical claims can be much more complex than other types of claim. In a road traffic incident, for example, it is usually straightforward to establish whether the defendant was at fault by referring to driving laws such as the Highway Code. To succeed in a medical negligence claim, the injury lawyer must prove, through the evidence of medical experts, that:
- Serious mistakes were made in the clinical treatment that no competent doctor would have made; and
- Those mistakes caused, or materially contributed to, the orthopaedic injury.
Orthopaedic injury time limits
Anyone who has suffered an orthopaedic injury in the last 3 years as a result of an accident that was not their fault may be eligible to claim compensation.
For medical negligence claims, the time limit is three years from the date the claimant becomes aware of the negligence or error. It may be many months or years after the treatment that a link is made between the claimant's injuries and the medical error.
For all types of accident, determining fault depends on the circumstances of the accident and the law that surrounds accidents of the type that the claimant has suffered. By gathering appropriate evidence, the injury lawyer will demonstrate that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care
- The defendant breached their duty of care
- The breach caused or aggravated the orthopaedic injuries.
Even if it not clear who caused the accident, a claim may still be brought. The injury lawyer will be able to investigate the evidence relating to the accident to establish liability.
How much compensation can I claim for an orthopaedic injury?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
Compensation Calculator v3.04
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
If it can be proved that your injury left you unable to work, special damages can be awarded for any lost earnings, loss of commission or bonuses, and loss of pension contributions. It may also be possible to claim for loss of future earnings, if the medical prognosis establishes that you won't be able to work for any period in the future.
These damages will also cover the cost of any medical procedures you might need to treat or recover from your orthopaedic injury such as surgery, pain medication, physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises.
Average orthopaedic injury general damages compensation
The following orthopaedic injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College.These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.
Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).
|Ankle injury||Moderate||Full recovery or with mild ongoing symptoms||£12,490 to £24,170|
|Arm injury||Moderate||Serious injury with long-lasting effects||£17,450 to £35,610|
|Back injury||Moderate||Full or nearly full recovery within 5 years||£7,170 to £11,370|
|Foot injury||Moderate||Metatarsal fracture with permanent symptoms||£12,490 to £22,720|
|Knee injury||Moderate||Mild long-term symptoms||£13,490 to £23,810|
|Shoulder injury||Moderate||Fracture of clavicle||£7,170 to £11,610|
Can I claim compensation for a psychological injury?
If you have suffered psychological harm in addition to a physical injury or illness, you are not alone.
According to our 2023 Personal Injury Claimant Survey shows that 29.03% of potential claimants sustained a psychological injury, 70.97% of which related to a physical injury.
A specialist solicitor will consider psychological harm when calculating your compensation. Psychiatric injuries are recognised in the official guidelines for compensation, and the cost of treatment and other mental health support should be included in your compensation award or settlement.
Our compensation calculator can estimate your compensation for psychological injuries. Or you can call us on 0800 376 1001 to speak to a specialist advisor.
The claims process for an orthopaedic injury will depend on where and how the accident happened. Click the icons below for more information:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.