We use our hands for everything so it's not surprising that wrist injuries are very common. The wrist joint enables flexible movements of the hand and is key to grasping and interacting with objects. The wrist joint can generate strong forces required to grip a heavy object as well as delicate movements required for writing.
Wrist pain is common and may be caused by a variety of factors including trauma, impact and repetitive motions. Fractures of the wrist may involve a variety of bones, by far the most commonly broken is the distal radius. Symptoms of a broken wrist include pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising and inability to move the wrist through its normal range of motion.
You may be able to claim compensation for a broken wrist or other wrist injury if it resulted from someone else’s negligence or carelessness. Negligence may arise in a variety of settings.
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.
Examples: Jeff works as a barista and develops a repetitive strain injury in his wrist from operating the coffee machine for long periods. Jeff has complained about his wrist but his employers refuse to provide frequent breaks, adequate time between shifts, rotate his duties or set up his work area in a more ergonomic way. Jeff may be able to claim compensation from his employer for his wrist injuries.
Rick trips and falls on his gym bag which he left on the floor of his office, and fractures his wrist. 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 a wrist fracture or other wrist injury due to a car accident and the collision 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 wrist 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 wrist 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: What does CTP Insurance Cover?
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 left wrist when he slips over on a grape that has dropped off the display in a supermarket. The supermarket has no system for identifying and cleaning up spills. Jeff is able to claim compensation for his injuries from the supermarket.
Rachel is breakdancing at a club when she fractures her wrist while attempting to perform a move. Rachel is unable to claim compensation since her injury did not result from any negligence on the part of the club.
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 trips on a piece of astroturf that has torn away from the base, falling on her wrist and fracturing it. 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 team mates about the risk of tripping. Jackie may be able to claim compensation from the university.
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 a wrist 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 a severe wrist fracture or dislocation has a rating of 25 to 40 and a monetary range of $48,850 to $95,000 whereas a minor wrist injury such as a soft tissue injury or severe bruising is rated 0 to 5 with a monetary range of $0 to $6,950.
To diagnose and treat a wrist 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.
Wrist 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 a wrist 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 wrist 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, or repetitive hand movements may be difficult for someone who has suffered a wrist 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 wrist 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.
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 a wrist 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 the right 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. There are also longer periods if you were under 18 at the time of injury. View time limit information article for more detail.
The wrist joint can be injured in a variety of ways:
Wrist injuries may result from a variety of causes including trauma, impacts, falls, prolonged stress or degenerative conditions.
A repetitive strain injury in the wrist may continue to cause nagging symptoms years after the initial injury and may eventually lead to chronic pain syndrome. Dislocations and injured ligaments also lose the ability to communicate efficiently with your brain reducing co-ordination, and in some cases chronic stiffness.
A wrist that has been broken may cause ongoing aches, stiffness and pain with activity for several years after. 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.
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.
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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