The elbow is one of the most commonly utilised joints in the human body, used for many everyday tasks. Injuries to the area can be debilitating and impact on your ability to perform simple routine tasks and may make you eligible for elbow injury compensation.
Common injuries to the elbow can be broadly categorised into two areas: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Sudden or acute injuries are caused by a direct blow, penetrating injury and/or fall, or by twisting, jerking, jamming or bending an elbow abnormally. Injuries can range from bruises and ligament and/or tendon damage to fractures and breaks. Overuse injuries, on the other hand, occur when too much stress is placed on the elbow joint or surrounding tissue, usually as a result of performing the same motion or activity repeatedly. The muscles and tendons in the forearm become strained due to the repetitive or strenuous activity causing pain around the elbow, particularly when using the wrist and hand.
Can I claim compensation for Tennis Elbow?
The most common type of overuse injury is ‘tennis elbow’ (Lateral Epicondylitis). As the name suggests, the condition was historically diagnosed in tennis players as a result of the repeated gripping and wrist extension associated with holding and swinging a racquet. Despite its name, the injury is not limited to tennis players or athletes. In fact, the condition is most commonly found in people who perform work that involves repeated movements of the wrist and forearm such as painting, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and butchery. It can also be sustained through activities that involve fine, repetitive hand and wrist movements, such as playing a musical instrument or using a keyboard and mouse for long periods of time.
With treatment and physiotherapy, the injury has a normal course of between 12 and 18 months, but in some patients, symptoms can be persistent and non-responsive to treatment, resulting in longer rehabilitation times. Symptoms vary but can include:
- pain when opening the fingers;
- swelling around the elbow joint;
- weakness or stiffness in the forearm;
- pain when performing certain routine movements such as shaking hands or turning a doorknob.
In Victoria, the WorkCover scheme provides compensation for workers who have sustained an injury in the course of their employment. If you have been diagnosed with Tennis Elbow or another elbow injury as a result of the work you perform, you may be entitled to claim compensation under the scheme.
How much can I claim for a broken elbow?
Elbow injuries can also arise following a single traumatic incident such a slip, trip or fall at work, or as a result of a road accident. Common injuries may include bone fractures, cracks or breaks. If you have broken your elbow at work or as a result of a traffic accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
The amount of compensation you may receive depends on a range of factors including the severity of the injury and your entitlements under the relevant compensation scheme. Broadly speaking, you may be able to claim:
- Medical and hospital expenses including treatment and rehabilitation costs;
- Compensation for loss of wages and superannuation;
- A lump-sum payment if the accident results in permanent impairment;
- Damages for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities and potentially also loss of income (past, present and future) if the injury occurred in negligent circumstances and is serious;
- Legal costs associated with your claim.
Is there a time limit for making an elbow injury claim?
Yes. Victorian legislation imposes strict time limits on bringing a claim for an elbow injury. These time limits vary depending on:
- The way you sustained your injury – whether at work, in a transport accident or in some other context; and
- The scheme under which the claim is brought – whether WorkCover, TAC or Common Law
In order to access benefits under the TAC scheme, you must generally lodge a claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) within 12 months of your motor vehicle accident. The TAC has a discretion of up to three years to accept lodgement of a claim, however after three years your time to bring a claim extinguishes.
Under the WorkCover scheme, you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days of becoming aware of the injury. You must also lodge a WorkCover claim form as soon as practicable following the injury.
A common law claim for damages in relation to an injury sustained as a result of someone else’s negligence must be brought within six years of the date of injury. In some circumstances, the time limits can be extended.
If you are unsure about how much time you have to lodge your claim, we advise you to seek professional legal advice.
How much time will it take to get compensation for an elbow injury?
As with all personal injury claims, the time it will take to get compensation depends on a number of factors including:
- the severity of your injury;
- the complexity of your case;
- the length of time it takes for your injury to stabilise;
- the type of compensation sought and the governing compensation scheme.
What to do if this information applies to you
At Gordon Legal, we understand that compensation claims are personal. For personalised and individual advice, we offer consultations to discuss your matter.
Please call Gordon Legal (Melbourne) on 1800 21 22 23 or our Geelong office on 1800 21 22 23 to speak with a member of our team.