Shoulder Injury Compensation Claims

We are expert compensation lawyers with offices across Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and major regional centres. Free initial advice and 100% risk-free claims with no upfront costs and our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.


If you've suffered a shoulder injury due to someone else's fault or negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. With your daily life impacted and medical bills piling up, we understand that you may be seeking information about your rights to compensation.

This guide has been specifically designed to help victims navigate the often confusing personal injury claim process, explaining your rights to compensation, common causes and types of these injuries, the process for lodging a claim, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim in Queensland.

Smith's Lawyers team of shoulder injury compensation experts offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments. We operate Queensland wide and all claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.

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Understanding Your Rights after a Shoulder Injury in Queensland

These types of injury can have severe financial impacts that often affect both the injured person and their family. Serious shoulder injury claims have risen by 27% since 2001, so if you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are schemes in place to cover you in the event of an injury. 

Here’s a brief overview: 

  • Car and Road Accidents: Under the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Claims Scheme, if you've suffered an injury due to a road accident, you may be entitled to claim compensation. This scheme covers injuries caused by the negligent driving of motor vehicles that are registered in Queensland.
  • Work Accidents: If your injury occurred at work, you might be eligible to claim workers’ compensation. This is typically a statutory claim via WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workplace compensation insurer if they are self-insured), regardless of who is at fault. If your employer was negligent, a Common Law claim could also be considered. These claims often provide higher compensation but require proof of negligence.
  • Public Place Accidents: Should your injury have occurred in a public place due to another party's negligence, you may be able to file a Common Law claim against the public liability insurer. This can include accidents in shopping centres, parks, or even someone else's private property.
What is a Shoulder Injury?

A shoulder injury can cover a wide range of afflictions, from muscle sprains and strains to more severe shoulder injuries like dislocations or fractures which can cause permanent impairment. These injuries can significantly impact your ability to perform everyday tasks like driving, lifting items, or even typing. 

Your shoulders are the most movable joints in your body. They can also be unstable because the ball of the upper arm is larger than the shoulder socket that holds it. This instability means they are more easily injured than some other areas of the body. 

Shoulder injuries are not uncommon either. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, shoulder and arm injuries accounted for 17% of hospitalised injury cases among Australians. The insights show that men are particularly at risk, making up more than half of these instances.

Common Causes of Shoulder Injuries

These types of injuries can occur unexpectedly and drastically impact your life. Understanding the common causes can be the first step towards securing the compensation you're entitled to.

Here are the most typical causes: 

Shoulder injuries can be quite debilitating, affecting your work and daily activities. If you've suffered an injury due to any of the above causes, consult with Smith's Lawyers expert team of personal injury lawyers to receive free initial advice on what your next steps should be.

Common Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries can occur in numerous ways, especially due to road, workplace, and public place accidents. Understanding these injuries is key in seeking suitable compensation. 

Some common types include: 

  • Rotator cuff injury: Prolonged repetitive actions or sudden force can result in a tear in the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff tears are very painful, often causing weakness and a loss of mobility
  • Separated shoulder: Often caused by a harsh blow or a fall, a separated shoulder refers to the tear of the ligaments connecting the collarbone to the shoulder blade.
  • Dislocated shoulder: Also extremely painful, a dislocated shoulder occurs when the upper arm bone pops out of the cup-shaped socket that's part of the shoulder blade. This is common in accidents involving a hard blow or extreme rotation of the shoulder.
  • Frozen shoulder: Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this is more prevalent in the workplace, where repetitive motion or holding a single position for extended periods can cause stiffness and pain in the shoulder.
  • Fractures: Fractures in and around the shoulder are frequently caused by a direct blow or a fall. Depending on the severity, it can involve the clavicle (collarbone), the proximal humerus (top of the upper arm bone), or the scapula (shoulder blade).

Each of these injuries have different impacts and recovery times, playing a significant role in the compensation claim process. Understanding the injury type can help you seek appropriate injury compensation advice.

Workers Most at Risk of Shoulder Injuries

While a shoulder injury can happen to anyone, certain professions account for higher numbers of compensation claims in Queensland. Different industries have inherent risks, with some more predisposed to these incidents than others. 

Here are some of the most prevalent:

Remember, even if you're in one of the above high-risk occupations, seek medical attention to properly diagnose the cause of your discomfort. From there, you can take steps towards lodging a compensation claim for your injury if it is suspected to be work-related.

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

Understanding the compensation claims process

If you've suffered a shoulder injury due to a road, workplace, or public place accident, it can be daunting to navigate the claims process. Once you have been diagnosed and treated by a medical professional for your injury, you can begin the process of getting the compensation you’re entitled to. 

The process is typically as follows: 

1. Seek free initial legal advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for shoulder 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 on. 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 evidence, 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 to lead 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 not successful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you cannot not be out of pocket.

6. Shoulder injury compensation payout

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.

Getting appropriate guidance from a legal professional can be invaluable in assisting you through this process, ensuring you receive appropriate compensation for your injury and the impact it has had on your life.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Shoulder Injury Claim?

To support your shoulder injury claim, you'll need to provide several pieces of crucial evidence. This evidence will substantiate your claim and help secure a fair settlement. 

Here's a quick rundown of what you might need: 

  • Medical Reports: A detailed medical report outlining the extent of your shoulder injury, treatment received, and prognosis for recovery.
  • Accident Report: If your shoulder injury resulted from an accident, a copy of the accident report can serve as crucial evidence.
  • Photographic Evidence: Photos showing your injury immediately after the incident and during the healing process helps to illustrate the severity of your injury. Also, photos of the accident scene can help establish liability.
  • Witness Statements: If there were any witnesses to the accident that caused your injury, their testimonies can provide powerful support to your claim.
  • Proof of Financial Loss: You will have to present evidence of any financial losses you suffered due to the injury. This might include invoices for medical treatment, receipts for medications, and proof of loss of earnings.
  • Personal Diary: Keeping a diary detailing your injury's impact on your day-to-day life can be persuasive evidence. The diary should track your pain and suffering, emotional distress, and any difficulties you face performing daily activities.

Note that every case is different and the necessary evidence might vary. Your lawyer will advise you on what additional evidence you might need specific to your unique situation.

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When calculating compensation for a personal injury claim, several factors come into play, which determine the ultimate settlement amount. 

Here are the key aspects considered: 

  • Severity of the injury: Greater severity typically leads to higher compensation amounts due to increased medical costs and the potential for long-term impacts on work and lifestyle.
  • Impact on earning capacity: Work-related injuries, including shoulder injuries, account for an approx. 72 lost workdays per claim in Australia. If your ability to work is compromised, you may be eligible for compensation to cover lost wages and future earning capacity.
  • Age: Younger claimants, with more of their working life ahead, may receive higher amounts if their earning capacity has been affected.
  • Medical and rehabilitation costs: All expenses related to treatment, therapy, and ongoing medical care are taken into account.
  • Pain and suffering: Any physical and emotional distress caused by the accident can be compensated.

Importantly, the same injury can result in different compensation amounts. Two individuals with identical shoulder injuries may end up with very different settlements. 

Consider, for example, a 30-year-old construction worker and a 70-year-old retiree, both suffering from the same injury. 

The impact of the injury on the construction worker's ability to work will be far greater, leading to a higher compensation claim. On the other hand, the retiree might receive less because his income wouldn't be as significantly affected.

These considerations demonstrate why it’s crucial to have skilled representation from a law firm. This can help 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 Shoulder Injuries

Typically, the time limit for shoulder injury claims in Queensland, Australia, is three years from the date of the accident. This applies to road, workplace, and public liability claims. 

Specifically, for work-related injuries, you have:  

  • 6 months from the date of the accident/injury/illness to lodge a claim with WorkCover Queensland (or your employer's workers' compensation insurer if self-insured). This is an essential first step for all cases regardless of fault.
  • 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start court proceedings for a common law claim. These claims can be run in addition to a standard WorkCover claim where the negligence of your employer or another party caused or contributed to your accident and injuries.

For motor vehicle related injuries, in Queensland you have:

  • 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.

However, exceptions exist for individuals under the age of 18. In such cases, the three-year time limit begins from their 18th birthday. This highlights the importance of seeking legal advice as soon as possible, as exceptions such as this can complicate the process.

At Smith’s Lawyers, we're here to help. We offer free, no-obligation case reviews to check your legal rights and keep you informed. Our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise ensures all claims are risk-free.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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What steps should I take if my shoulder injury was caused by a road accident?

Firstly, seek immediate medical help and ensure your injuries are properly recorded. Report the accident to the police, recording all details of the event and involved parties. Collect any potential evidence, like photos or witness contact details. Then, get in touch with a personal injury law firm like Smith's Lawyers to handle your compensation claim.

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How long do shoulder injury claims take to settle?

Typically, these types of injury claims take between 12 to 18 months to settle. Factors such as the severity of your condition, the complexity of your claim, and how promptly the other party responds can often lead to additional time needed to resolve the claim.

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Do I need a lawyer to make a shoulder injury compensation claim?

While you can make a compensation claim without a lawyer, having one is extremely beneficial. A lawyer specialising in personal injury can help navigate legal complexities, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure proper documentation. They can also assist in maximising your compensation by accurately assessing the claim's worth. Our personal injury lawyers can also assess if you are eligible for any other claims such as total and permanent disability (TPD) claims.

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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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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Shoulder injury compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
February 19, 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.