Sacroiliac Joint Injury Claims

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If you're a victim of a sacroiliac joint injury and want to know what the next steps you need to take are, it’s important to first understand that you may be entitled to compensation. This page aims to guide you through the process of getting appropriate compensation for your suffering and potential monetary loss.

It outlines key information on your rights, common causes of these injuries, the claims process, frequently asked questions, as well as time limits for claims within Queensland.  

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights after a Sacroiliac Joint Injury in Queensland

If you've endured sacroiliac joint pain due to someone else's negligence, it's important to understand your rights to compensation. In 2021, more than one-third of body stressing claims in Australia affected the upper or lower back, making back pain one of the most common areas of injury. 

Such an injury can severely impact your life, with the financial burden often falling on the families and partners of the injured individual. While this process may seem daunting, understanding the following compensation schemes can help you determine your next steps. 

Here is a brief summary of these schemes: 

  • Car and Road Accidents: The Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme can provide compensation if your SI joint pain was caused by a motor vehicle accident.
  • Work Accidents: WorkCover Queensland or employer’s insurance can provide a statutory claim if you were injured at work, regardless of who was at fault. If your employer was negligent, you could also make a common law claim.
  • Public Place Accidents: If you were injured in a public place, you can file a common law claim against the public liability insurer responsible for the area.
What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injury?

If you suffer from lower back pain, it could be the result of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, also known as SI joint dysfunction. The sacroiliac (SI) joints are located on each side of the spine between the two pelvic bones. They play a critical role in supporting your upper body and transferring weight and forces between your upper body and legs. 

Injury to this area of the body is often caused by abnormal motion or malalignment of the SI joints and is characterised by lower back pain and stiffness and can cause leg pain in both legs. 

These types of injuries can be difficult to distinguish from other lower back pain, so it’s crucial to be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. This will also be important when it comes to making your claim, as your injury needs to be documented accurately.

Common Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Injuries

SI joint pain or injury can be the result of several different situational factors, including accidents in the workplace, a public place, or on the road. Being aware of what can cause such injuries will help you to understand how your injury may have occurred so that you can seek appropriate compensation. 

Below, we've provided some of the most common causes: 

  • Physical Trauma: A sudden, harsh impact on your lower back or hips, such as a fall or a car accident, can lead to such an injury. Around 15-30% of chronic lower back pain is attributed to Sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
  • Prolonged or Repetitive Movements: Jobs requiring repetitive bending, twisting, or lifting may cause strain on the SI joint, leading to an injury over time.
  • Arthritis: Arthritic conditions like osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease) and ankylosing spondylitis (an inflammatory disease) can lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can loosen and stretch the ligaments around your sacroiliac joints, leading to instability and pain.
  • Previous Spinal Surgery: If you've had surgery on your lumbar spine, the altered movement can put additional stress on these joints, increasing your risk of sacroiliac pain.
Workers Most at Risk of Sacroiliac Joint Injuries

Certain professions and industries pose a greater risk for SI joint injuries due to the nature of the work or the increased possibility of accidents in these areas. 

The following have been identified as the most at-risk sectors for sacroiliac joint pain or injury: 

  • Construction workers: These individuals often lift heavy objects with their upper body and perform repetitive, strenuous motions. This can place unnecessary stress on the sacroiliac joint, causing injury. The most common cause of sacroiliac joint injuries at work is heavy lifting, accounting for 55% of cases.
  • Office workers: Prolonged sitting can add stress to your lower spine and SI joints, increasing the risk of injury to this area. Additionally, poor ergonomics or posture can exacerbate the issue.
  • Healthcare workers: The physical demands of lifting or moving patients can lead to sacroiliac joint injuries. Nurses, physiotherapists, and caregivers in particular are at greater risk.
  • Commercial drivers: Long hours spent driving can inflict persistent vibration and jolting, exerting stress on the sacroiliac joint.
  • Agricultural workers: Farm workers often engage in heavy physical labour, repetitive bending and lifting of objects, all of which can strain the SI joints.
  • Fitness Instructors: They are at risk due to the consistent, intense movements they perform while teaching classes, potentially leading to overuse or strain of the back region.

If you’re in one of these professions and have suffered an injury at work, Smith’s Lawyers are here to help. We are experts in Queensland personal injury law and undertake all claims on a risk-free basis with our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

Claiming compensation for sacroiliac joint pain in Queensland may seem daunting, but the process can be broken down into digestible steps. Following treatment from a medical professional, we advise that you seek professional legal advice to understand the complexities of your individual case better.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Sacroiliac Joint Injury Claim?

Once you decide to progress with your sacroiliac joint injury claim, it’s crucial to gather information that corroborates your claim. This evidence serves to validate your experience, helping you achieve the justice and compensation you deserve.

It may include:  

  • Medical records: Your healthcare provider's notes and records provide an irrefutable testament to your condition. This can span from initial diagnosis all the way through to ongoing treatment, detailing your injury’s severity and impact. 
  • Evidence of loss: Any financial loss you've incurred as a result of the injury is significant for your claim. This includes loss of wages, medical expenses or any other financial burdens directly related to your injury. 
  • Photographic and Video evidence: This type of evidence may not be available in all situations, but if available can be quite effective. Capturing the scene of the accident/injury or the progression of your physical condition over time can be convincing. 
  • Witness statements: These testimonials help establish the accident's setting and reinforce your claim. If you're making a work injury claim, your colleagues might be critical witnesses. Make sure to collect their accounts as soon as possible to ensure accuracy.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount 

Let's delve deeper into how your sacroiliac joint injury claim is calculated. Here are some primary factors: 

  • The Severity of Your Injury: More significant injuries usually equate to a larger compensation payout. For instance, if the injury has caused permanent damage or requires ongoing treatments.
  • Your Occupation: Your profession plays a crucial role in determining compensation. Professions that regularly demand physical labour might climb the compensation ladder, as an injured worker might struggle to return to their duties or find similar work. The median time off work due to a sacroiliac joint injury is 10 days.
  • Impact on Your Life: If your life has been dramatically altered due to the injury, such as needing assistance with daily tasks or an altered lifestyle, then this can enhance your claim.
  • The Age Factor: Younger claimants are often eligible for more significant settlements. The rationale is that younger people have a longer remaining working life. Thus, the impact of loss of earnings may be larger.
  • Medical Expenses: Expenses related directly to the injury, such as doctor consultations, medication, physical therapy, or any required surgery (such as sacroiliac joint fusion surgery), are also considered. 

It's important to remember that no two injuries are compensated exactly the same. For instance, Mary and Paul, both suffering from SI joint injuries, may receive different settlements.

Mary, a 25-year-old construction worker, had to switch careers due to her injury. The injury's impact on her work is more significant; hence, she may receive a larger settlement.

Meanwhile, 55-year-old Paul, who sustained the same injury but works in a less physically demanding job, may receive a smaller compensation due to a lower estimated loss of earnings. 

These examples demonstrate why it’s essential to have expert representation from a law firm to ensure your claim accurately reflects the full impact of your injury and that you receive all the compensation you're entitled to.

Time Limits for Sacroiliac Joint Injury Compensation Claims

In Queensland, Australia, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of a road, workplace, or public liability incident to lodge a claim for a sacroiliac joint injury. Read on for more specifics. 

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How can sacroiliac joint injuries impact the ability to work?

SI joint injuries can result in debilitating pain and restricted mobility, making even the most basic tasks unbearable. Crucial work activities such as lifting, bending, and prolonged sitting can become extremely challenging and, in some instances, impossible. Often, victims of these injuries might find themselves unable to complete their usual duties effectively, which could affect their earning capacity considerably.

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Do I need a medical report to make a sacroiliac joint injury claim?

Yes, a medical report documenting your injury is crucial when making a claim. This establishes the extent of your injury and its impact on your life, making it a key piece in your compensation claim.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Last updated:
March 6, 2024

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 help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.