Ankle injuries are very common, and most adults will experience ankle trauma at some stage of their lives. Ankles are key to supporting your body weight and moving your feet.
You may be able to claim compensation for a broken ankle or other ankle injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings such as at work, on the road or in a public place.
If you are injured at work, you may be able to claim compensation from your employer. Employers must provide proper and adequate means for employees to carry out their work. This includes:
If you are injured because your employer neglects to provide safe systems of work, equipment or a safe environment, you may be able to sue for personal injury compensation. This includes injuries incurred over a long period of time, late onset injuries, and aggravations of pre-existing injuries.
Ankle injuries may occur in any workplace as a result of slippery floors, obstructed or littered walkways, poor footwear or poor lighting, however,they are particularly prevalent in physically active jobs such as athletes, labourers and tradespeople.
Examples: Jeff is carrying a large pile of files into a dimly lit storage room when he steps on an obstacle on the floor and rolls his ankle. This aggravates a pre-existing weakness from an old football injury. Jeff may be able to claim compensation from his employer for the aggravation.
Rick seriously sprains his ankle when he trips on a gym bag he left on the floor of his office. Rick may not be able to claim compensation for his injuries as they were due to his own negligence. However, he could apply for Workers Compensation payments while he is off work.
See also: WorkCover Claims
If you sustain an ankle fracture or other injury due to a car accident and it was totally or partially due to the fault of another driver or vehicle owner you can claim compensation from the owner of the vehicle that caused the accident through their Compulsory Third Party insurer.
Examples: Jeff crashes his motorcycle and sustains a severe ankle fracture and dislocation when a speeding vehicle collides with him. Jeff can claim compensation from the owner of the speeding car through its CTP insurer.
Rick sustains a serious ankle fracture among other injuries when he runs a red light and T-bones another vehicle. Rick is unable to claim CTP compensation for his injuries because the accident was totally his fault (although exceptions may apply for catastrophic accidents). If the accident occurred after July 1, 2016 he may be able to seek necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitation services through the National Injury Insurance Scheme of Queensland (NIISQ).
See Also: Road injury compensation
Occupiers (including owners of private property and public authorities), have a duty of care toward people coming onto their land. They must take reasonable care to make sure entrants are not exposed to risks that are likely to cause injury. This means if there is something that is potentially dangerous on their property they must rectify it or warn people of the danger.
Common scenarios include someone slipping on a floor surface, tripping over an unexpected obstacle on the ground, falling into an unmarked hole in the pavement, or being hit by falling debris from a building site.
Examples: Jeff fractures his ankle when he accidentally steps into a 20cm hole while jogging on the grass verge which council workers have left uncovered. The hole is somewhat concealed in the grass. Jeff may be able to claim compensation for his injuries.
Rachel is dancing in high heels at a club when she rolls her foot rolls severely sprained her ankle. Rachel may not be able to claim compensation since her injury did not result from any negligence on the part of the club.
See Also: Public place injury claims
By participating in contact sports you accept an inherent risk of injury. However, if you are injured because of someone else’s negligent act, inadequate supervision, unexpected violence or unsafe facilities, you may be able to claim for compensation.
If you play sport for a club, at school or university you may be able to claim compensation under their insurance policy. If you have been injured because of unsafe sporting facilities or equipment you may be able to claim against the occupier or organiser of the event.
Example: Jackie plays university soccer. She attends training one afternoon and rolls her ankle on a piece of astroturf that has torn away from the base, fracturing her fibula. The grounds keeper and coach knew of the damaged astroturf but allowed the players to train on it and had failed to warn Jackie and her teammates about the risk of tripping. Jackie may be able to claim compensation from the university.
In general terms, the amount of compensation is gauged by comparing what your life was like before the injury and what it is like now as a result of the injury.
Someone whose injury has had a greater impact on their life will be entitled to more compensation than someone whose injury has had only minimal impact.
The amount of compensation payable for an ankle injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:
General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of an ankle injury. They are calculated by reference to the ISV Scale which rates the seriousness of any injury between 1 and 100 and accords a monetary value range to that rating.
For example, an extreme ankle injury such as trans-malleolar fracture with extensive soft tissue damage has a rating of 21 to 35 and a monetary range of $38,770 to $78,200 whereas a minor ankle injury such as a sprain is rated 0 to 5 with a monetary range of $0 to $6,950.
To diagnose and treat an ankle injury you may ned to consult your general practitioner, consult a specialist, obtain x-rays or MRIs, take pain medications and wear special medical braces or apparatus. The expenses you incur to obtain medical treatment including costs of consultations, diagnostic scans, travel costs, medication and medical equipment may be claimed as compensation. You can also claim for medical costs you will incur in the future as a result of your injury.
Ankle injuries may require surgery to repair, reconstruct or replace components of the joint. Surgical and hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.
Rehabilitating after an ankle injury may involve physiotherapy, acupuncture, massage, home and vehicle modifications and ergonomic aids. Your reasonable costs of rehabilitation can be claimed as compensation.
If you injure your ankle you may need time off work for several weeks or months immediately after the incident. You can claim compensation for this lost income.
If your injury prevents you from working in the future to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity. Occupations that require manual labour, heavy lifting, may be difficult for someone who has suffered a serious ankle injury and their capacity to earn income in the future may be reduced. This is usually estimated as a lump sum figure based on the age of the person, their usual occupation and other skills.
Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.
Serious ankle injuries may prevent you from being able to perform tasks such as personal care, cleaning, laundry, mowing your lawns, caring for the garden or other domestic chores. If you formerly performed these duties but are now unable to due to an injury you can claim compensation for care and assistance provided to you by friends, relatives or paid contractors.
In Queensland, there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.
Interest can generally be claimed on compensation for any out of pocket expenses that are incurred before your claim is resolved.
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For most personal injury claims, a legal action must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, your claim will be statute barred and you will lose all rights to claim compensation.
However, depending on where your injury occurred or who you are suing, specific pre-court procedures may apply. Pre-court procedures have their own time limits which are much sooner. If you miss these time limits you may lose your right to claim unless you can provide good reason for delaying and why you should be allowed to proceed with your claim.
The time limits specified by some pre-court procedures are set out below.
If you are under 18 years of age
For minors, the obligation to serve the other party with a Notice of Claim begins when the child turns 18, however, a parent or guardian may do this on behalf of the minor before they turn 18.
The ankle is made up of three bones: the tibia, fibula and talus. One or more of these bones may be fractured or broken usually as a result of trauma. The more bones that are broken, the more unstable the injury will be.
Symptoms of a broken ankle include pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising, inability to move the ankle through its normal range of motion and inability to weight bear.
The ankle joint can be injured in a variety of ways;
Ankle injuries may result from a variety of causes including trauma, impacts, falls, prolonged stress or degenerative conditions. For example:
A sprained ankle may continue to cause nagging symptoms years after the initial injury as ligaments that are stretched never return to their original shape, causing instability in the joint. Injured ligaments also lose the ability to communicate efficiently with your brain reducing coordination, and in some cases chronic stiffness.
An ankle that has been broken will never be as strong as it was prior to the injury and may not be able to withstand the same weight and pressure that it did before, causing increased pain and discomfort. In some cases, ongoing pain and discomfort may affect a person’s mood and impair sleep.
Depending on the nature of your ankle injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help as soon as possible to see if you are able to make a claim.
Smith's Lawyers are Queensland injury compensation experts and run all claims on a truly risk-free basis, 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch.®'. Unlike the vast majority our competitors, this means no upfront costs or risks.
Call us anytime on 1800 266 801, start a live-chat or request a callback. Our Principal lawyer Greg Smith will explain your rights and can arrange a no-obligation home visit if it sounds like we can help.
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