Knowledge base

Knee Injury Compensation

The knee is a complex structure and the largest joint in the body. It is vital for weight bearing and movement and is one of the most stressed and vulnerable joints in the body. As a result, knee injuries are common and can have long term impacts.

Knee injury compensation

Can I claim knee injury compensation?

You may be able to claim compensation for a knee injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings. Call us anytime on 1800 266 801 for expert free initial advice on your specific question.

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

Knee 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.
Knee tendons and ligaments

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.

Note: Weekly WorkCover payments operate under a separate ‘no fault’ scheme, meaning that you can receive weekly payments to cover lost income even if your injury was not because of your employer’s negligence.
Examples: Jeff is carrying a large pile of files from one end of the office to the other, when his foot gets caught in a bundle of electrical extension cable that was left on the ground by a co-worker. Jeff can claim compensation from his employer for the injuries he sustains to his knee. 
Rick has been provided with a ladder by his employer to get down from an elevated platform in the warehouse, and has been instructed to use it for his own safety. The phone rings and Rick jumps down from the elevated platform to get to the phone. The impact causes injuries to both of his knees. 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

Knee injury from car accident - can I claim compensation?

If you sustain a knee 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.

Justice and asserting your rights after knee injury

Examples: A speeding vehicle changes lanes and crashes into Jeff while he is riding his motorcycle. He sustains a severe tibial fracture in his knee from the crash. Jeff can claim compensation from the owner of the speeding car through their CTP insurer. 
Rick is texting while driving and fails to notice that all of the cars in front of him are stopped. He collides with the rear of a car in front of him at speed and sustains knee injuries when his legs hit the dashboard of his car. Rick is unable to claim 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 accident injury compensation

Knee injury from slip and fall - can I claim 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. If this occurs to you, it's best to speak directly to a public place injury lawyer.

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.

Jeff dislocates his knee when he slips over at a shopping centre where cleaners have left a large pool of detergent on the tiled floor. There are no signs set up to warn of the spill. Jeff may be able to claim compensation for his injuries.
Leg and knee pain
Rachel tears ligaments in her knee when she slips at a shopping centre while running down an outdoor staircase in the rain in high heels to catch her movie. Rachel may not be able to claim compensation since her injury resulted largely from her own failure to take care for her safety.

Knee injury from working out - can I claim compensation?

A gym, personal trainer or class instructor may be liable to compensate clients injured while working out if they have been negligent in the way they have provided their services. This can include giving wrong advice or information or supplying faulty or bad equipment.

Gyms usually have comprehensive waivers and exclusions in their contracts which limit their liability. However an exclusion of liability that is too vague or too one-sided may be considered null and void by a court. In cases where there is “gross negligence” a gym or fitness professional will be liable despite anything in their contract.

Example: Jeff attends a personal training session at his gym. The trainer instructs him to perform a lunge movement, but as Jeff attempts to do it he dislocates his knee. Before the exercise session, Jeff had filled out a health questionnaire, in which he described a previous knee injury he incurred in a fall 4 years prior. Jeff advised his personal trainer that he had had not had any subsequent issues with the knee, but said he wanted to be certain that the exercises would not hurt his knee. Jeff may be able to claim compensation from the gym and/or trainer for his injury.

Knee injury from soccer or rugby - can I claim compensation?

Rubgy ball and the risk of suffering knee injuries

By participating in contact sports you accept an inherent risk of injury -Australia has the highest rates of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in the world. 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: Jeff plays university football. He attends training one afternoon and trips on a piece of astroturf that has torn away from the base, falling and injuring his knee. The grounds keeper and coach knew of the damaged astroturf but allowed the players to train on it and had failed to warn Jeff and his team mates about the risk of tripping. Jeff may be able to claim compensation from the university

Slip or fall -  what can I claim for?

General damages

Calculating knee injury general damage compensation

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 your injuries. 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, a severe spinal injury like quadriplegia has a rating of 75 to 100 and a monetary range of $232,600 to $349,400 whereas a minor soft tissue injury is rated 0 to 4 with a monetary range of $0 to $5,560.

Medical costs

To diagnose and treat a 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

Some injuries require surgery to stabilise or repair injured bones or soft tissue. Surgical or hospital costs paid by you can be claimed as compensation as long as the surgery was necessary to treat your condition.

Rehabilitation costs

Vehicle modification after suffering a knee injury

Rehabilitating after an 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 sustain serious injuries 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 to the same extent as you did prior to the injury you may also be able to claim loss of future income earning capacity.

Loss of superannuation

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

Care & assistance

Serious 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.

Knee injury care and assistance

In Queensland there is a minimum threshold for this type of compensation.

Common injuries sustained in slip, trip and falls

A variety of injuries might be sustained in a fall. Those most commonly suffered include:

  • Musculoskeletal injuries - ligaments are stretched too far or torn - particularly vulnerable are the knee, hip and ankle joints
  • Fractures - cracked or broken bones resulting suddenly from trauma or impacts
  • Dislocations - bone slips out of a joint
  • Bruising - ruptured blood vessels resulting in skin discolouration, swelling and tenderness
  • Spinal cord injuries - the delicate spinal chord running through the centre of the vertebrae is damaged possibly causing paraplegia
  • Vertebral injuries - ranging from spinal chord injuries and fractured vertebrae to herniated discs, sprains, strains, bruising and whiplash
  • Lacerations - cuts, wounds and abrasions of varying degrees

Common causes of falls 

Crutches to aid knee injury recovery
  • Slips: Occur where a foot loses traction with the floor due to inappropriate footwear or a slippery ground surface due to a spillage or coating on the floor or a highly polished finish.
  • Trips: Commonly occur where a foot is caught on a low lying object, an uneven surface, a loose mat, open drawer or a cable on the ground.
  • Falls from height: Workers commonly fall from ladders, elevated platforms, buildings or structures in the course of employment. The same may occur in a domestic setting while someone is on a roof or up a ladder cleaning gutters or pruning trees.
  • Falls into holes: Occur when a person falls from ground level into a hole, trench or service pit.
  • Falls down stairs: Caused by a slip or trip on the staircase

Potential long-term impacts of slip and fall injuries

Injuries sustained in a fall may have a permanent impact on your activities of daily life and your ability to perform your usual occupation.

How will my fall injury settlement be calculated?

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 your injuries will vary greatly from case to case, depending on a variety of variables such as:

Long-term impact of knee injuries

  • 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 a 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 ruby player will suffer a greater loss as a result of a back injury than a person who works part-time in an office and will therefore receive greater compensation.

What time limits apply to my knee injury claim?

Time limits to start a knee injury claim

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, you will lose the right to claim compensation.

However, depending on where your injury occurred or who you are claiming against, specific pre-court procedures may apply which may have much shorter time limits. 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. 

Those aged under 18 will typically have until they are 21 to start the claims process.

In addition, getting accurate records such as CCTV or reliable witness statements for example may be difficult if starting a claim several years after the incident.

In summary, it’s best to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you understand your rights and the required evidence to make a strong claim can be gathered. View time limit information article for more detail.

Next steps: what to do if you have suffered a knee injury?

Depending on the nature of your injuries and the circumstances that caused them, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help to see if you are able to make a claim.

Justice hammer and asserting your rights after knee injury

Smith's Lawyers are Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast 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 below. 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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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.

Next steps — get advice now

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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