Upper body injury compensation claims

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Jonathan Speight

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee upper body injury claim

Upper body injuries are those sustained above waist level; for example the head, back, arms, neck, shoulder, chest and abdomen.

The upper body comprises many joints, bones and muscle groups and contains many vulnerable vital organs. With so many parts, upper body injuries may vary in severity, but even at relatively low levels of trauma quality of life may be adversely affected.

What are the main types of upper body injury?

Head, Eye and Brain 

A slip, trip or fall, possibly caused by an uneven pavement, may cause a person to bang his head, as may falling from a height or being struck by a vehicle. Trauma to the head may cause only mild concussion, but can be very serious if the skull is fractured causing brain injury. Head, eye and brain injuries are often dangerous and complicated and may have serious long-term effects for patient and family.

Neck injuries

The most common injury to the neck is whiplash. A frequent result of vehicle collisions it may also be a consequence of slipping and falling backwards - perhaps on a wet floor. More critical injuries to the neck, such as fractures to the vertebrae, may occur from more serious falls, including falls from heights in the workplace.
At best, neck injuries can be debilitating but at worst can be life-changing, requiring long-term care.

Injuries to upper limbs

A common cause of upper limb injury is a simple trip or slip. Sprained or broken wrists and shoulder dislocations are often caused by a person putting out a hand to stop his fall. 

Road traffic accidents involving pedestrians may be a cause of injury to the upper limbs. A study in the USA found that although lower body injuries predominate, 26% of people struck by a vehicle are likely to sustain injuries to the upper limbs.

Painful injuries to the hand and arm impact on almost every daily task - the reduced movement and dexterity often requiring lengthy physiotherapy. Being unable to drive or use machinery may result in financial hardship through being unfit for work. 

Where insufficient safety measures exist in the workplace, accidents involving machinery may result in traumatic amputation of hands and fingers, leading to long-term disability.

Back injuries

Ranging from mild sprains to major spine injuries, damage to the back may occur as a result of falls from standing, falls from height, road traffic accidents and crushing incidents. Mobility may be affected in the short and long-term; surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation may be required.

Where there are spine and nerve damage there may be total loss of function and chronic disability.

Injuries to chest and abdomen

The main cause of injury to the chest and abdomen are road traffic accidents involving vehicles, or being crushed beneath a heavy object falling from a height.

Even airbags, although life-saving, may inflict injuries to the chest or ribs, and sometimes cause facial injuries such as burns when they inflate on impact with the head.

Fractures to the ribs and sternum may cause damage to respiratory organs; crushes to the abdomen affect the stomach, liver, kidneys and spleen.

Emergency surgery may be required and a lengthy recuperation period before a person is restored to health.

Is it possible to bring a claim for upper body injuries?

Depending on the type and severity of the injury, the impact on a person may be short or long-term. Claims for special damages may be brought to recover the cost of any treatment or prescriptions, additional out of pocket expenses such as taxi fares or extra child care costs, as well as loss of income. It may be possible to claim for gratuitous care - where no money is exchanged but a person (usually family member or friend) gives up their time to carry out errands and chores for the Claimant above those usually expected.

General damages may be claimed for the inconvenience, discomfort and pain experienced, as well as the psychological impact. 

No Win, No Fee arrangements with upper body injury compensation claims

No Win, No Fee agreements, also known as CFAs or "Conditional Fee Agreements", comprise the basis of a claim.

A CFA details the service delivered by the solicitor, and crucially, a "success fee". This success fee will be the percentage to be taken from the award when your case is successful.

With a Quittance solicitor, you can focus on recovery and rehabilitation, knowing that there will be absolutely nothing to pay if the claim is not successful.

Next steps

Learn more about claiming compensation

Making the right decision depends on possessing the right information. Get answers to your questions before you choose a lawyer.

If you have more questions before calling, see our FAQ pages.

Compare personal injury solicitors

The vast majority of injury solicitors covering upper body injury tend to work on a no win no fee (conditional fee) basis, however what will their fees be if the case is successful?

For more information on how much more of your compensation you could receive with Quittance's injury lawyers when compared with typical solicitors , compare personal injury quotes here.

Get a injury claim started

You can begin the claim for compensation online or call 0800 612 7456 (or 0333 344 6575 from a mobile).

If you need a specific question answered before making a decision, request a callback or call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.