Knowledge base

Arm Injury Compensation

Arm injury compensation

Arm injuries – whether they are obvious with the injured person in a cast or a sling, or cause chronic pain that might not be observable by the general public – are both common and capable of causing pain and suffering on a daily basis.

We use our arms for almost everything – making them both a common area for injury and a difficult area to rest and recover from when we do find ourselves incapacitated.

If you have suffered an injury to your upper or lower arm/forearm – whether at work, in public, or in a car accident – you might consider whether you could be eligible for a compensation claim.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Can I claim arm injury compensation?

If you have suffered damage or injury to your upper or lower arm, you may be able to claim compensation. Depending on the circumstances, this may be possible if:

  • It happens at work – your workplace failed to provide you with a safe environment.
  • It happens during a car accident – the other driver was negligent.
  • It happens in a public place – the area was not safe and public liability insurance will kick in.

Arm injury at work – can I claim compensation?

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:

  • providing safe systems of work
  • maintaining safe machinery and equipment
  • maintaining a safe workplace; and
  • providing employees with adequate facilities, training, supervision and instruction.

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.

Supermarket worker injured
Example: Angela had a broken wrist from ice-skating when she was in her teenage years. She now works as a shelf stocker in a supermarket. One evening, she is stocking a shelf with jam jars when the shelf collapses. She tries to support the shelf with her hand, or risk all the jars breaking. Her wrist ends up badly fractured in multiple places. It was vulnerable to injury because of her previous break as a teenager. It turns out that the supermarket was supposed to replace old shelves about 6 months ago but hadn’t gotten around to it. Its managers had been warned that they were at risk of collapsing.
In this case, Angela would be able to claim compensation for her injuries. Even though her previous injury made her wrist fractures worse, the supermarket should have provided a safe system of work. By failing to replace the shelves, it did not do this.
Example: Harry is on a working holiday visa in Northern Queensland, picking strawberries. The farm owner has left the tractor running while he goes to open the gate. Harry can’t hear him properly and thinks he asks Harry to grab something from the tractor when he is actually telling Harry to stay away from it. Harry can’t hear him because of the motor noise. Harry has not received any training in how to use tractors or how to stay safe around them. Harry’s shirt sleeve gets stuck in the grill and he suffers severe lacerations to his forearm.
Harry would be able to claim compensation for his injury as a result of his employer’s failure to provide a safe work environment and put in safe workplace practices. Generally, the employer will take out WorkCover insurance so the workplace does not pay for this compensation. It is a statutory-based scheme in Queensland so payments come from the government.

More info: Work injury compensation

Arm injury from car accident – can I claim compensation?

 Car accidents commonly cause an arm injury. If you are injured in an accident that is totally or partially the fault of another driver (including if you are a passenger of that driver), you can claim against their Compulsory Third Party Insurer. 

Wearing a seatbelt
Example: Maddy and her friend Anne were driving to a party – Anne was driving, Maddy was in the passenger seat. Maddy was not wearing a seatbelt.
Anne swerved suddenly to avoid an oncoming vehicle that had drifted across into her lane, risking a head-on collision. The oncoming vehicle still hit the side of Anne’s car.
Maddy suffered a full bicep tendon tear as a result of trying to support herself against the car door upon impact.
In this case, while Maddy would have a claim against the Compulsory Third Party insurer of the other vehicle, they would argue that Maddy’s negligence in failing to wear a seatbelt was responsible for a significant portion of her injury. They would argue that any compensation for which she was eligible ought to be reduced by the amount she is responsible (her ‘contributory negligence’).


More info: Motor vehicle injury compensation claims

Arm injury in a public place – can I claim compensation?

Occupiers (including owners of private property and public authorities), have a duty of care toward people coming onto their premises. 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.

Injured forearm or upper arm – what can I claim for?

Arm injury claim checklist icon

General Damages

General damages can compensate you for the pain and suffering you have experienced as well as any permanent loss of enjoyment of life as a result of your 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 arm injury such as severe bone and joint damage with a poor outcome after surgery is rated 31 to 50 with a corresponding compensation range of $65,960 to $131,200 whereas a moderate arm injury including permanent and significant tissue disruption from tendon or ligament tears is rated 6 to 10 with a corresponding compensation range of $8,630 to $15,350.

Medical Costs

To diagnose and treat an arm injury you may need to consult your general practitioner, consult a specialist, obtain x-rays or MRIs, take pain medications and wear medical supports 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.

Hospital and surgical costs

Arm injuries may require surgery to repair tendon or ligament tears. Surgery may also be required to repair particularly bad breaks or fractures. Surgical and hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Rehabilitation costs

Rehabilitating after an arm injury may involve physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, home and vehicle modifications and ergonomic aids. Your reasonable costs of rehabilitation can be claimed back as compensation.

Estimating loss of future earning capacity

Loss of income and future earning capacity

If you suffer an arm injury you may need time off work for several weeks or months immediately after the incident. You can claim compensation for lost income. If your arm injury prevents you from working 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 may be difficult or impossible for someone who has suffered an arm 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.

Loss of Superannuation

Compensation can be claimed for superannuation that would have been paid on lost income.

Care & Assistance

Arm 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.

Professions at risk of developing arm injuries

Professions that require manual labour and load-bearing activity are at higher risk of arm injuries. This may include construction workers, heavy labourers, carpenters, industrial workers and athletes.

Common forearm and upper arm injuries

Suffering upper arm injury
  • Broken bones, fractures or damage to ligaments and tendons.
  • Sprains and strains.
  • Tendinitis from overuse of forearm muscles. Pain is often felt at the elbow or wrist, where the tendon attaches to the bone.
  • Repetitive strain injury - from overuse, sometimes relating to sports. It can also result from excessive computer use. Injuries of this nature are becoming increasingly common.
  • Nerve injury – for example, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Any or all of the above can also cause acute pain, as well as chronic pain and issues such as arthritis. 

Common causes of arm injuries

 Arms can be injured for a multitude of reasons:

  • Trauma – falling objects, the limb being trapped or crushed, or breaking a fall, coming into contact with dangerous items or simply suffering from impact.
  • Overuse, or use under excessive strain.
  • Use over a prolonged period.

If you have had an injury to your shoulder, elbow, hands or fingers, you should also check out further information we provide about these specific injuries.

How will my arm injury payout be calculated?

Calculator and money icon to show how arm injury payouts are calculated

In general terms, the settlement amount for an arm injury 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 arm injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:

  • the severity of the injury: more severe injuries will attract more compensation
  • the age of the patient: young people are likely to receive greater compensation than older people for a similar injury as it will impact their lifestyle and employment for a longer period of time.
  • level of health prior to the incident: an active and healthy person may suffer more from an injury because they are unable to exercise the way they did prior to the accident and may become predisposed to mood disorders and other health conditions they may not have suffered were it not for their injury.
  • pre-incident lifestyle: injured claimants who formerly engaged in activities they can no longer participate in may experience greater an impact from their injuries.
  • occupation: greater compensation will be payable where a person’s ability to work in their former occupation is impacted severely by their injuries, for example, a professional rugby player will suffer a greater loss as a result of an arm injury than a person who works part-time in an office and will, therefore, receive greater compensation for their injury.

What time limits apply to an arm injury claim?

Time limits for arm injury compensation

For most personal injury claims, 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 and who you are suing, specific pre-court procedures may apply. Pre-court procedures specify other time limits which are much sooner. If you miss these time limits you may lose your rights to claim unless you can convince the court that you had a good reason for delaying and why you should be allowed to claim. The time limits specified by some pre-court procedures are set out below. 

If your injuries were sustained at work: Statutory workers compensation claims in Queensland must be filed within 6 months from the date of the accident or the date you become aware of your injury. If you intend to sue your employer for negligence (otherwise known as a common law claim) you must request an assessment of permanent impairment from the workers’ compensation insurer within 2.5 years of the injury.

If your injuries were sustained in a motor vehicle accident: Pre-court procedures require you to serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within 9 months of the injury, or within 1 month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever occurs first.

If your injuries are the subject of a public liability claim: If you are making a claim for personal injuries against an occupier, property owner or public authority, pre-court procedures require you to serve an official Notice of Claim on the party you believe to be at fault within 9 months of the injury, or within 1 month of your consultation with a solicitor in relation to your claim, whichever is first. 

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.

Next steps: what to do if you have suffered an arm injury?

Depending on the nature of your injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available. Check your rights to claim with a free consulation with one of our senior arm injury compensation lawyers.

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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