Leg Injury ‍Compensation Claims

Have you suffered a broken leg injury, knee injury or foot injury? Suffering a leg injury of any kind can have a huge impact on your work, your mobility and your enjoyment of life.

Getting the compensation you deserve can help to minimise these impacts by allowing you to get the right treatment and focus on your recovery, so you can get back to doing the things you love.

Many people recover fully from leg injuries, but the process of getting back to full strength can be smoother if you have the financial peace of mind that you can get from a successful leg injury compensation claim, handled by experienced personal injury lawyers.

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The Most Common Leg Injury Claims

While not all leg injuries are serious enough that you'd immediately think of claiming personal injury compensation, it's important to consult a specialist personal injury lawyer to advise you about your circumstances. Obviously, more serious leg injuries are likely to result in more impact on you, and therefore a higher need to claim compensation. But even a leg injury that is seemingly minor, like an ankle injury, toe injury, or soft tissue injury such as bruising, may be significant for you. Our specialist personal injury lawyers know what to look for and will compassionately discuss your case to give you the best legal advice.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified fractures as the most common type of injury overall and across many cause categories, in cases where injury caused hospitalisation. So it's not surprising that leg injury compensation claims are commonly made for fractures, such as a broken foot or ankle.

Fractures can be caused by:

  • Trauma such as a fall or impact from a motor vehicle accident
  • Osteoporosis
  • Repeated stress on the bone

Leg fractures come in a number of different types, let's take a further look into these.

Common Leg Fracture Injuries

It's important to remember that leg injury compensation is not available only for breaking the large bones in the leg (the femur, tibia and fibula). Knee injuries, ankle injuries, toe injuries and other broken bones can cause just as many issues and lead to a significant number of leg injury compensation claims.

1. Compound or Comminuted Fracture

A broken bone is classified as a compound or "open" fracture if the broken bone comes through the skin. Obviously, this type of fracture also results in soft tissue injuries, and causes significant pain and suffering. Because they involve breaking the skin, compound fractures can result in infection, which can have serious consequences, including leg amputation in more severe cases.

A comminuted fracture occurs when the bone breaks into several pieces. If this is the type of broken leg injury, knee injury or ankle injury that you suffer, it will often also cause soft tissue injury, and will clearly have huge consequences including impaired mobility.

Compensation payouts for this kind of leg fracture tend to be higher than for less serious leg injuries, although each case depends on the circumstances.

2. Displaced Fracture

A displaced fracture occurs when a bone is broken and parts of the bone separate from each other. Also a significant type of leg injury, displaced fractures are often accompanied by soft tissue leg injuries and significant pain.

3. Stress Fracture

When a broken leg consists of a stress fracture, it means there is a crack or several cracks in one or more leg bones, but the bone does not separate due to the damage suffered. For this reason, stress fractures can be more difficult to detect. These leg injuries can still have serious consequences, especially if they remain untreated for some time because they are not picked up on a medical examination like an x-ray.

The 3 Most Common Causes of Leg Injuries

Some common causes of leg injuries are discussed below, but our personal injury solicitors have experience dealing with people like you who claim compensation for injuries that have occurred from many different situations. The way a court determines how much compensation you're entitled to is to consider both the impact the injury has had, and the way it happened.

The main relevance of the way the injury happened is in considering whether someone else's negligence was the cause of your injury.

Workplace Accidents

In 2019-2020, leg and foot injuries accounted for 27,742 or 23% of all serious workplace injury claims.

Workplace accidents can occur in a number of ways, including:

  • Stress on the body - this might cause a stress or 'hairline' fracture
  • Slips, trips and falls, discussed more below
  • Being hit by a moving object, like a piece of machinery, which can easily cause broken legs or other leg injuries
  • Hitting an object with part of the body, for example, dropping a heavy object which can cause a foot injury

Learn more about how you might be entitled to make a WorkCover claim.

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Car or Motor Vehicle Accident

Car accidents are frequently the cause of leg injuries. Road traffic accidents often involve a person suffering multiple different injuries at once, and recovery can therefore be longer.

In 2018-19, leg, foot and ankle injuries accounted for nearly 21% of hospitalisations from car accidents. Injuries consisting of fractures were the most common cause of transport injury hospitalisations.

Talk with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer for more information.

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Slips, Trips and Falls

In Australia in 2016, over 100,000 people were hospitalised due to a fall - that's 42% of all hospitalisations. You may be most familiar with slips, trips and falls causing injuries to older persons, particularly hip fractures, or with people tripping and falling on a cracked pavement. But this type of accident can happen to anyone and in many different situations, and it can cause very serious injuries.

Common leg injuries people have suffered due to slips, trips and falls include:

  • Injuries to muscles, joints, tendons or the spine
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
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How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Leg Injury?

Only a lawyer with relevant experience can advise you about the amount you are likely to be awarded in a leg injury compensation claim.

The amount of compensation you can claim for a leg injury depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • The seriousness of the injury suffered
  • Your prognosis or expected recovery - how quickly you will recover, whether there will be long-term impacts like impaired mobility (restricted movement) or weakness, and how much medical intervention or therapy you are going to need
  • The impact the injury has had on your life and your ability to work
  • Your financial losses, including the medical expenses you have
    incurred and what you are likely to need to pay in the future - this can include medication, hospital costs and fees for doctors and specialists
  • Lost wages or self-employment income during your recovery and into the future
  • Any other financial losses
  • The pain and suffering you have had to endure because of your leg injury:

In some cases, you may also be able to claim for "psychological injury". Especially in cases of severe leg injuries, after-effects of a leg injury can include loss of mobility, restrictions on social and recreational activities and impacts on your ability to enjoy family life. These can lead to depression or other mental health problems. An injured person who develops these problems may be entitled to compensation for them, in addition to compensation for their physical injuries.

Our specialist personal injury lawyers can advise how much compensation you are entitled to, and can gather the necessary evidence to support your claims.

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Compensation Claim?

Workplace Accidents
The way you make a compensation claim for a leg injury depends on the way it happened.

For workplace accidents, there are two ways to claim. Generally compensation claims for injuries suffered at work will start with a WorkCover claim.
Legal advice from specialist personal injury solicitors can help you decide if it's best to go through this claims process, or to claim through the courts. Our lawyers would carefully consider you circumstance and might advise you to do both, to receive maximum compensation.

1. WorkCover Claim

The first type of claim is made to WorkCover Queensland. There is a specific claims process, which our law firm can help you to negotiate. WorkCover claims usually only require evidence that the injury occurred at work, or while travelling to or from work. There is no need to prove that someone is at fault and you can start receiving compensation payments while your claim is being processed. If your claim is successful, you can receive injury compensation for:

  • lost income
  • hospital and medical expenses
  • permanent impairment, as a lump sum

2. Court Claim

The second type of claim is made through the courts. and often called a 'civil' or 'common law' claim - see below for more detail. Whether to make a court claim is a difficult decision and compensation claims are best assessed by experienced lawyers, who can talk through your options and give you advice to help you make the best decision.

Other accidents
For motor vehicle or other accidents, you will generally need to make a compensation claim in the court.
In personal injury cases, the claim is made against the person or organisation that caused the injury. Some examples of who you might claim against, say for broken leg injuries, are:

  • An employer as discussed above, if you suffered injuries at work
  • The owner of a business where you slip and fall
  • The driver of a motor vehicle involved in a car accident in which you are hurt

If the driver who causes a car accident is unidentified or uninsured, an injured person can claim against the 'nominal defendant', and compensation payouts are made from a fund created for that purpose.

Civil or common law claim through the courts
In the court, leg injury compensation claims are usually based on negligence, though not always, and your lawyer can tell you what's best for your situation.
You can claim compensation based on someone else's negligence if:

  • The person had a duty to take reasonable care to ensure you did not suffer injury- the 'duty of care'
  • They failed to comply with that duty because they did not act in a way that a reasonable person in that situation would act
  • Their failure caused you to suffer the leg injury or leg injuries

To begin a compensation case in the court, the person seeking compensation files a document called a 'claim'. This briefly sets out the basis of the claim and the outcome you want, such as an order for compensation. The claim must be accompanied by a 'statement of claim', which needs to give all the relevant details. There is a time limit for you to file these documents and if they are late, you will usually not be able to pursue your claim. That's why it's important to get the right legal advice early from personal injury lawyers who know the claims process inside out.

Even before you can start your leg injury claim you need to take certain steps required by a piece of legislation (law) called the Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 - you may hear this referred to as 'PIPA'. As a basic summary, the steps under PIPA are:

  • Notify the person or organisation you want to make the personal injury claim against - the other party (this must be done within 9 months of the incident that caused the injury, or 1 month of seeing a lawyer, whichever is sooner. And the notification must be on the approved form)
  • The other party will respond
  • The parties will exchange reports and other documents
  • The parties will have a meeting or conference to try to reach an agreement about how much compensation should be paid

The procedures are different if your leg injury has been caused by medical negligence. Once in court, personal injury claims must be run in a certain way, which is detailed in a set of rules called the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. Our personal injury solicitors bring claims in the courts regularly and are very familiar with these rules.

Making a claim for leg injury compensation through the courts can be complicated and many people find it daunting. There can be a lot of formalities and it takes significant work to meet all the court's requirements. Injured people often choose to engage a specialist legal representative to help them navigate through the process.

What Evidence is Needed to Make a Leg Injury Compensation Claim?

Any claim will need to be supported by evidence, but exactly what you need will depend on your circumstances and type of claim.

To make a claim for leg injury compensation you are likely to need to provide evidence about the incident that caused your injury, your medical condition including future prognosis for recovery, medical and other expenses you have incurred, and other losses you have suffered like lost wages or self-employment income.

Medical evidence will be particularly important to establish the level of pain and suffering caused by the incident, which you can be compensated for. It's important to tell any doctor or hospital that treats you for your leg injuries that you might be making a compensation claim.

Evidence can be in the form of documents, videos, photographs and reports, or it can be evidence from witnesses, including people who saw the incident and expert medical witnesses. A lawyer can advise you and help ensure you get all the evidence you need.

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How Long Does a Leg Injury Claim Take?

It's difficult to say how long leg injury claims will take until we speak to our clients about their case.

Probably the biggest influence on the timeframe is whether we are able to negotiate successfully with the person who caused your injury, so they agree to pay you a suitable compensation settlement. The person you claim against can be an individual or an organisation like a company. Usually, they will have insurance that they will rely on to pay your compensation, and the negotiations will include the insurance company and their lawyers.

If a settlement can't be agreed and the case goes through a full court process, it can take several years. If you have strong evidence and professional, specialist personal injury lawyers, it can reduce the time it takes to get your case through court. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can also increase your chances of making a successful claim and receiving maximum compensation.

Importantly, if your injury occurred at work, you may be entitled to start receiving payments from WorkCover while you're waiting for your claim to be resolved. This can be vital in getting the help you need to recover.

Is There a Time Limit for Making a Leg Injury Claim?

There are time limits for making any personal injury claim. The limits are strict, and they can be short.

Generally, a court claim must be made within 3 years of suffering the injury. If you were under 18 when the injury occurred, the claim must be made within 3 years of your 18th birthday, but can be made sooner.

It's important to see experienced personal injury solicitors as early as possible. Before lodging a court claim there are a number of legal steps you must take at particular. If this are not done, or not done properly, your claim could be at risk.

For WorkCover claims the time limits are much shorter, sometimes as little as six months.

Can I Represent Myself When Making a Leg Injury Compensation Claim?

Yes, you can. If you are confident that you can put your claim together, negotiate with the other party and present your evidence you can represent yourself.

Ultimately you need to do what is right for you.

Representing yourself in court can be complicated and confronting, especially if you are still recovering from a serious injury or its after-effects. If you're making a claim for accident compensation there can be complexities in the process, and your claim could be delayed or even refused if you don't comply with the requirements.

Many people prefer to engage an experienced personal injury compensation lawyer to help them through any leg injury compensation claim process.

Lawyers who specialise in this field are often willing to represent their clients on the basis that the lawyers fees only need to be paid if there is a successful outcome to the claim. You should be clear with any lawyer about the terms of this arrangement though. Sometimes claims taken on by lawyers on a no-win no-fee basis can still result in costs to you. Smith's Lawyers is a law firm that prides itself on its record of having no clients out of pocket, ever.

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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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