Broken Arm Compensation Claims

Another term for a broken bone is a 'fracture'. A fracture in any of the bones in the arm can be referred to as a broken arm.

There are several types of fracture, and they vary in seriousness. If you have suffered an arm injury involving a fracture, the extent and location of it will greatly influence how much the injury affects the use of your arm.

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Types of Broken Arm Injuries

Some types of fractures include:


This is also known as a 'stress' fracture and is one of the common arm injuries caused by overuse or repetitive strain, including in sportspeople.

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In this type of fracture, tendon injuries occur and the force involved leads to part of the bone being pulled away by the tendon.

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A comminuted fracture means the bone has been broken in multiple places, or has shattered.

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This is a very serious type of fracture, where the parts of the broken bone have moved out of place. It often causes soft tissue injury and bleeding.

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A simple fracture is one resulting from force on the bone causing it to be break. It can be 'complete,' where the bone breaks into two separate pieces, or 'incomplete,' where the break does not go all the way through the bone.

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An open or compound fracture is one where the pieces of bone break the skin, increasing the risk of complications like infection of the wound.

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The Different Arm Bones

There are three major bones in the arm, being the humerus, radius and ulna.

The humerus is the large bone in the upper arm. It joins the shoulder at the top and the elbow at the bottom.

The radius and ulna are both located in the lower arm or forearm. These bones are often fractured when the hands are used to break a fall. In many cases, they will both be broken at the same time.

Put simply, the radius is the bone on the outside or thumb side of the forearm, when the palms are facing upward, and the ulna is the one on the inside or body side.

Strictly speaking, the position of the radius changes depending on how the hand is moved, because it twists around the ulna.

Common Causes of Broken Arm Injuries

Broken arm injuries often occur as a result of:

  • road traffic accidents
  • workplace accidents
  • slips, trips and falls
  • sports injuries
  • repetitive strain injuries leading to stress fractures
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Broken Arm Compensation Claim Types

Some common scenarios in which arm injury compensation payouts are awarded include where a broken arm occurs:

  • As a result of a workplace accident, or an injury caused by work
  • During a motor vehicle accident
  • Due to a slip, trip or fall

Broken Arm at Work

There are several mechanisms by which a fractured arm might occur in the workplace or as a result of the work you do. Safework Australia reports that in 2019-2020, for injuries resulting in serious worker's compensation claims:

  • 11% involved fractures
  • 25%, or just under 30,000, involved the arms or upper limbs. In Queensland in 2019-20, over 6,000 people sought compensation for fractures, resulting in over $178 million in statutory claim payouts.

Most of the types of arm fractures described above will occur as a result of an impact, for example when the arm hits, or is hit by, an object or piece of machinery. Impacts can also be a result of a fall or motor vehicle collision at work.

Hairline or stress fractures in the arm can be caused by repetitive strain, generally due to performing tasks of a repetitive nature, or that involve repetitive motion, especially for prolonged periods.

Talk with an experienced workers compensation lawyer to learn more.

Broken Arm Due to a Motor Vehicle Accident

A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness (AIHW) found that transport accidents led to 63,900 hospitalisations and 1,400 deaths in 2018-19.

It further reported that 21% of the hospitalisations involved arm or shoulder injury. Fractures were the most common type of injury.

Motor vehicle accidents have the potential to result in significant impacts to the bones in the lower and upper arm, including, for example, the arms being struck by debris or impacting the road surface. They also involve extreme forces, which can increase the seriousness of any fractures that occur, for example, by causing the bone to fracture in several places (comminuted fractures). Open fractures are also commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Find out more about making a car accident compensation claim.

Broken Arm Caused by Slip and Fall

Arm injuries from a slip and fall can occur at work or in personal or recreational activities, like sports, or just in everyday life.

The AIHW reports that in 2018-19 falls resulted in 231,000 hospitalisations, and 23% of those involved injury to the shoulder or arm.

According to SafeWork Australia, 23% of workplace injuries that led to serious worker's compensation claims were caused by trips, slips and falls.

The mechanism by which the arm bones are fractured in a fall can be as simple as the instinctive breaking of a fall by putting out your hands.

  • As a result of a workplace accident, or an injury caused by work
  • During a motor vehicle accident
  • Due to a slip, trip or fall

What Evidence is Required to Make a Broken Arm Worker's Compensation Claim?

As a general guide, a successful claim for arm injury compensation will be supported by:

  • Medical evidence about -how the injury was caused or developed
  • Symptoms including pain, suffering and impairment
  • Short and long term impacts to the injured person's work and everyday life
  • The prognosis, or how likely it is that the injured person will recover
  • Treatment that has been provided and what will be needed in the future

Financial evidence about:

  • Medical expenses, including fees for doctors and specialists, hospitalisation costs, medicines, and likely future costs of rehabilitation
  • The worker's usual income and projected future earning capacity
  • Any other financial losses

Personal injury solicitors experienced in arm injury claims can provide specific advice about the evidence that will best support your case.

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Is There a Time Limit for Making a Broken Arm Compensation Claim?

There are strict time limits to make personal injury claims for arm injury, whether you make a statutory (WorkCover) or Common Law claim.

WorkCover Claims

Generally, you can make a WorkCover claim if an accident occurred at work, or travelling to or from work, and that caused your arm injury; or if you suffered the arm injury in the course of performing your work duties.

A claim must be made to WorkCover or a self-insurer within 6 months from when the injury occurred or when your injury is first linked to your workplace duties by a doctor.

Common Law Claims

Most arm injury compensation claims will be based on a claim of negligence. Very basically, a negligence claim is available when a person or organisation:

  • Owes you a legal duty to care for your safety and wellbeing
  • Fails to do so to a reasonable standard
  • You suffer injury as a result

There are also strict time limits for negligence claims. Generally speaking, in negligence claims you are required to commence a claim with the court within 3 years of the injury occurring. Before lodging a court claim there may be certain steps you must take under the law to notify the person you are claiming against that you intend to make a claim.

These time limits can be relatively straightforward to work out if your injury is caused by a single incident. However, an arm injury consisting of a stress fracture can develop over time, which might affect when you need to lodge your claim.

Obviously, the first step after an arm injury is to get the right treatment. However, you might also consider speaking to personal injury lawyers early to preserve your rights to claim compensation. Our law firm offers a session of free legal advice for any potential case, where we can discuss the claims process, including timeframes. If you decide to proceed, your legal team will ensure your arm injury claim is progressed efficiently and doesn't miss any of the strict time limits involved.

How Long do Broken Arm Settlements Usually Take?

The length of time it takes to resolve your arm injury compensation claim will largely depend on whether or not you can reach a settlement rather than having to go through a full court process including a trial. It will also depend on the type of arm injury compensation claim you are making.

Statutory Claims

Statutory claims with WorkCover or a worker's compensation self-insurer are usually decided quite quickly, sometimes less than 20 days after lodging the claim, if they are given all the right information. This allows you to start getting WorkCover payouts for some of your lost wages and medical expenses to help in your recovery.

As part of the statutory WorkCover process, you may be offered a lump sum payment. Depending on the severity of your arm injury, you may be able to accept this lump sum payment and also be eligible to make a claim for compensation in the courts.

According to a report on the Queensland Workers Compensation scheme, in 2019-20 it took, on average, just under a year from the date of lodgement to finalisation of a common law claim.

Common Law Claims

It's more difficult to estimate how long the claims process is likely to take if your injury didn't occur at work, but was caused by someone else's negligence, for example in a motor vehicle accident.

The timeframes for workers compensation common law claims can be used as a guide, but timeframes for non-work related injuries may be longer, as there are specific laws and processes for workplace injury claims that can speed up the process.

Experienced personal injury lawyers can assist you to claim compensation in the way that is best for you, considering the likely timeframe and outcome. Seeing a lawyer early about a no win no fee claim means you can get the information you need to consider all of your claim options.

What Are The Average Payouts For Broken Arm Claims?

You may be surprised to learn that the level of injury involved in the broad category of 'broken arms' can vary greatly. This description can refer to:

  • Minor arm injury, like a small stress fracture
  • More serious arm injury, involving severe breaks and associated soft tissue injuries
  • Extensive and life-altering injuries like multiple broken bones requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation

To determine how much compensation you are entitled to, WorkCover or a court will look at many factors including:

  • The seriousness and physical impact of the injury
  • Whether you are likely to recover fully - if you will be permanently affected the "degree of permanent impairment" or DPI will be determined and taken into account
  • Whether you can return to work and your normal duties, need to take time off work to recover, or need to change jobs
  • If your earning capacity will be affected in the future, and by how much
  • Your past and future medical bills
  • The likely cost of ongoing medical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation, including travel costs for attending medical appointments
  • Lost earnings like wages or self-employment income
  • An additional amount for pain and suffering, called 'general damages', which is set by law

Given all these factors, it's difficult to give an average figure that would be helpful to you in trying to understand how much compensation you might receive in an arm injury claim.

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Can I Represent Myself When Making a Broken Arm Worker's Compensation Claim?

It is possible to represent yourself to make a claim for worker's compensation if you have suffered an arm injury at work, or if your injury was substantially caused by your employment. A statutory claim to WorkCover or a self-insurer can be relatively straightforward, as long as you have your evidence together and stick to the time limits. However, many people find they appreciate having legal help as they navigate the claims process.

For arm injuries that occur somewhere other than work, for example, sports injuries or those caused by road traffic accidents, you would need to seek compensation through a Common Law or court claim.

Making a Common Law claim in Court can be stressful and many people find it daunting as they are not accustomed to it. Personal injury law can be complex and the legal process difficult to navigate. While claiming compensation is not likely to ever be easy or stress-free, personal injury lawyers can advise you on the law, prepare your case, and answer any questions you have along the way. In the hands of experienced compensation lawyers, your claim can be managed while you focus your energy on your recovery.

Lodge A "No Win No Fee" Claim

If you suffer injuries whilst at work, and you are looking for further information in terms of making a claim. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer a free consultation for injured people looking to seek compensation. As mentioned before, we also have a "No Win. No Fee. No Catch." policy, which means you will never be out of pocket.

Get in touch with us today to give yourself the best opportunity to understand your rights.

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