Wrist injury compensation claim advice
Our wrists tend to be routinely prone to injury, not least thanks to they are relatively fragile and the fact that (being adjoined to our hands) they are positioned more at the ‘business end’ when we instinctively throw out our hands in front of us to break a fall.
Elsewhere wrist injuries can come about in far less obvious ways, and as if by stealth compared to physical accidents we’re party to. For example repetitive strain injuries (RSI), such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis, both of which can come about by recurrent motions (which see us repeating the same task over and over again) which place unnatural strain and/or pressure on joints, muscles and tendons located in the vicinity of the wrist.
What are the most common causes of wrist injuries?
As intonated above, there are a host of obvious – and conversely, not so obvious – means of injuring our wrists, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
That said the two stand-out (and according to the experts, most common) scenarios whereby wrist injuries can materialise as an unwanted end product, surround both employment-related spheres and slips, trips and falls. Beneath we discuss the main points of each;
Employment-related accidents – If you weren’t already aware of this, your employer is contractually/legally obliged to ensure that their staff members are safeguarded against most workplace injuries which might befall them if health and safety measures weren’t in place and habitually adhered to and practiced.
Essentially an employer has what’s called a ‘duty of care’ to their employees, which translates as meaning that they must provide a safe working environment for you to work in. so, should someone slip, trip or fall based on the inescapable (and proven) fact that an employer has failed to ensure that staff have a safe environment, will afford the injured party to pursue a claim for compensation on the grounds of workplace negligence.
In addition to going to all lengths required of them to make sure that employees have a safe working environment in which to go about their business (by way of equipment, machinery and various other core components integral to the fulfilling of the remit of employee roles being constantly signed off as safe to facilitate amongst many other vital aspects), an employer also must protect you from fellow workers. Or to be more precise, from fellow workers doing things/putting others in positions whereby an individual’s health and safety is in some way compromised and which could lead to potential injuries occurring.
Avoiding accidents in the workplace is of paramount importance in the eyes of the Health and Safety Executive, so in the event of someone leaving something in what’s deemed to be an unsafe condition/place (or have put items in designated walkways on a factory floor/left bags or boxes of files in unsafe places in offices/etc), ultimately the employer is contravening the duty of care agreement. And that’s because the buck officially stops with them for the most part.
Incidentally, the duty of care provisions, protocol and practice also extends to cover sub-contract workers who may be working in your place of work too
Further/alternative types of work-related wrist injuries – By this we refer to instances where repetitive strain injuries come into play (or rather work), and typically comprise of tendonitis, cervical radiculopathy and thoracic outlet syndrome and carpel tunnel syndrome chiefly.
To those not in the loop, our wrist is constructed of 8 small bones (carpal bones) which are held together by ligaments. In addition to these ligaments, many small muscles, nerves, tendons and blood vessels pass through the wrist to supply your hand.
Furthermore, the nerves for the arm and wrist leave the spinal cord at the cervical spine (our neck), and compression of the nerves anywhere along their course can cause pain, tingling, numbness and burning. You can strain or sprain these ligaments or muscles from a sudden movement, improper movement, or – and is more likely to be the case here – through over use
Pavements and roads (public places) – It’s only natural that should we encounter raised paving stones or potholes we instinctively swerve their presence to avoid endangering our health/sprawling towards the ground having tripped over the pavement hazard. But that’s all very well when we see them in the first place. If we don’t (and subsequently end up tripping or falling and injuring our wrist), it could be possible that the injured party can proceed to make a wrist injury compensation claim against the responsible party.
For example the council if it is on a public road or footpath, or the business or land owner if it said obstacle was situated on private property. Again businesses owe a duty of care to their visitors as well as their employees (the latter consideration we tackled earlier)
In terms of individual conditions which can amount to wrist injuries in one form or another, the following list captures the core elements associated with injuries which impact on our wrists as a matter of course at various junctures;
- Sprains and strains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendon sheath inflammation
How can the different parts of the wrist become injured?
Yes, and getting straight to the point these normally revolve around the 4 key aspects. In no particular semblance of order these entail;
Bones – There are two bones in the arms, medically referred to as the radius and ulna. The radius and ulna are connected to the carpals which in turn are connected to the metacarpals (the hand)
Ligaments – Likewise, there are two primary ligaments in the wrist, namely the radial collateral ligament and the ulna collateral ligament. Ligaments are the tissue which hold the bones in place in relation to the other bones
Tendons – Again, the power of two plays a pivotal role here as the wrist is made-up of two main types of tendons; they are the flexor tendons (those that allow your fingers to curl) and the extensor tendons (those that allow you to straighten your fingers). Tendons are, ostensibly the tissue that attaches muscle to bone
Nerves – Breaking the numerical mould of two as witnessed above, the nerves located in the confines of the wrist are three-fold; and are as such. The radial nerve (which is on the outside of the wrist), the medial nerve (which passes through the carpal tunnel) and the ulna nerve (which circumnavigates through a channel in the wrist).
What are the most common wrist injury symptoms?
Some common signs and symptoms of wrist injury to look out for include any of those cited below;
- Limited ability to move the joint
What types of wrist injury can I make a claim for?
As we’ve already stressed, there are any number of components of the wrist which can be prone to injury, from bones and ligaments through to tendons and muscles.
With regards to any future wrist injury compensation claim, the exact area of the wrist which has been damaged (courtesy of another party’s negligence we’re at pains to reiterate) – along with the period/extent of subsequent suffering a claimant has endured – will play a divisive part in establishing a ball-park financial settlement figure.
Of course, your ability to move/walk/etc won’t have been compromised by your wrist injury, that much is true, but that’s not to say that your wrist isn’t instrumental in the performing of everyday duties; therefore an injury would make writing, driving and typing extremely challenging. Beneath we scrutinise some of the more broadly-acknowledged wrist injuries and how they might, potentially impact on day-to-day life for the sufferer;
Carpal Damage – Restricted/impeded wrist movement/range of natural motion can make life extremely difficult. As a point in question, were you to damage the vital parts of the wrist which orchestrate carpal activity then you’ll struggle to undertake many otherwise simplistic tasks you’d never normally give a second though
Sprained Wrist – A wrist sprain is caused by the tearing of tissue/ligaments that connect the wrist joint together. Typically, this occurs as a result of stretching your wrist excessively; falling on to an outstretched hand being a common cause. As pain occurs when moving (or pressing) your wrist, it can make work impossible, be that work operating machinery to typing emails. Each and every task thereafter would cause pain
Radius Fracture – Forming one of the two bones in your forearm; the radius bone runs in to your wrist and is, statistically-speaking the one which is broken most often. It causes severe discomfort and swelling, usually resulting in the wrist being too painful to move immediately after the injury. Generally this type of wrist injury could, possibly prevent many people from returning to work for in the region of 3 – 6 months on average
Metacarpal Fracture – Stemming from the wrist to the fingers, the metacarpal bones are the ones that you can feel if you press the top of your hand. These are important for almost everything you do with your hand, and on top of this also have nerves that run through to your fingers allowing your fingers movement. Therefore if severely damaged, freedom of movement will be severely hampered. Depending on the medically-diagnosed extent of a metacarpal fracture, an individual suffering from this would stand in line to receive compensation in proportion to how much it affects their quality of life and work
How much compensation would I be able to claim for a wrist injury?
This really is the million dollar question, isn’t it? There’s no doubting – or indeed, getting away from the underlying fact – that wrist injuries can have a serious and detrimental effect on our lives and so many everyday tasks we normally take for granted would be out of the question for an undefined passage of time.
In terms of an approximate breakdown of what an individual might expect to receive – albeit in very open-ended figures we hasten to add – the following will paint some sort of picture to be going on with. Precise payout amounts will differ wildly according to any number of variables which you can discuss in detail with a personal injury claims specialist before agreeing to actively pursue a claim.
Simple wrist sprains (or fractures) where the victim can recover fully within a few months might be awarded wrist injury compensation of between £2,300 and £3,200
Fractures to either the end of the radius or ulna bone might fetch compensation of up to £5,000, providing the victim makes a swift recovery
More serious, complex wrist injuries which result in long term (or even permanent disability and/or pain) can be awarded wrist injury compensation pay-outs of up to £40,000 (dependent on individual circumstances).