Our feet are a key feature of the impressive machinery of the human body. Put together with a network of large and small bones, multiple ligaments, tendons and nerve endings – they are crucial to all of us for getting from A to B.
A foot injury can disrupt your daily work and personal routines significantly. This article looks specifically at the complications that can arise when you suffer a crush injury to your foot.
If you have suffered a crushing injury to your foot – whether at work, in public, or in a car accident – you might consider whether you could be eligible for a compensation claim.
If you have suffered damage or injury to your foot, you may be able to claim compensation. Depending on the circumstances, this may be possible if:
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.
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.
More info - see WorkCover injury compensation page
The most common scenario in which a crushed foot injury occurs in car accidents is when a passenger or pedestrian is outside a vehicle which runs over their foot. 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.
If a car runs into and crushes the foot of a pedestrian who is jaywalking, it is likely that the driver’s insurer would argue the pedestrian’s contributory negligence in breaking road rules. The pedestrian would not be likely to be able to claim compensation unless they could demonstrate that the driver was negligent and aggravated the injury that was their fault, in some way.
More info - see road and car injury compensation page
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.
A pedestrian may, for example, suffer a crushed foot injury from workplace machinery that is not properly secured. A member of the public may suffer a similar sort of injury in shopping centres in the event that travelators, escalators or lifts are not working properly. Some people may also have had their foot crushed by another person’s heavy trolley in a supermarket.
Example: Carol is grocery shopping on a busy Saturday morning at her local supermarket.
Another shopper, whose trolley is severely overloaded, runs over Carol’s foot, breaking several bones. Carol is a waitress and cannot work for 6 weeks.
It turns out that the trolley wheel was defective, and the shopper was unable to control it properly.
In this case, the supermarket’s public liability insurer would argue that the shopper contributed to the accident by overloading his trolley. However, they would likely be required to pay some compensation to Carol given the defective trolley and the supermarket’s obligation to provide a safe environment.
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 crushed foot injury that results in permanent pain and / or disability is rated 13 to 25 with a corresponding compensation range of $22,200 to $51,150 [CHECK] whereas a minor crushed foot injury that may result in a limp that does not interfere with the person’s daily activities is rated 4 to 8 with a corresponding compensation range of $5,800 to $12,530 [CHECK].
A crush injury severe enough to cause - or require - partial or full amputation of your foot is traumatic. The amount of treatment required during and after the procedure is significant, as are the support and therapy (both physiological and psychological) required afterwards.
In the case of amputation, recovery time can be months, with the gradual introduction of range-of-motion and desensitisation exercises. Given the severity of the injury, patients usually expect significant pain, especially in those first weeks. Recovery can take months. Sometimes sensitivity and range-of-motion related pain can continue well beyond this, depending on the circumstances.
Whether a prosthesis is required (and what type of prosthesis) will depend on the proportion of the crushed foot that has been removed, and the individual’s functional requirements. Therapy to learn to use the prosthesis is usually required. Often a patient suffering this type of trauma may also require counselling.
To diagnose and treat a crushed foot 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
Crushed foot 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.
Rehabilitating after a crushed foot 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.
Loss of income and future earning capacity
If you suffer a crushed foot 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 crushed foot 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 a crushed foot 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
Crushed foot 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 that require manual labour, as well as load-bearing activity and working with heavy machinery are at higher risk of crushed foot injuries. This may include construction workers, heavy labourers, farmers and industrial workers.
Crushing injuries can involve some complicated results because of the large number of small, fragile bones and nerve endings in the foot.
The injury can also be deceptive – often, the foot may look OK on the outside but have serious internal damage.
The range of possible results of crushed foot injuries can include:
Any or all of the above can also cause acute pain, as well as chronic pain and issues such as arthritis.
Foot crushing injuries commonly happen for the following reasons:
In general terms, the settlement amount for a crushed foot injury is gauged by comparing what your life was like be the injury and what it is like now, because 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 a crushed foot injury will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:
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 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 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 be they turn 18.
Depending on the nature of your injury and the circumstances which caused it, compensation may or may not be available. Seek expert advice now to check your rights.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
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