Knee Injury Compensation
Introduction to Knee Injury Compensation
Knee injuries occur for a variety of reasons, and the complexity of the knee joint means that even the most “trivial” injury can result in a long recovery period. Whether tripping, slipping, falling from a height, or injuring a knee in a vehicle crash or sporting accident, it is likely that you will be immobile for a long period of time – during which you may not be able to work, drive or perform many of your regular daily tasks.
A claim for knee injury compensation has to take this potentially long recovery period into account, plus any psychological injury you experience as a result of the physical injury. Researchers have claimed that people who suffer a physical injury can often develop post traumatic stress disorder, as the frustration of limited movement leads to depression. As with any claim for personal injury compensation, where your quality of life deteriorates due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to include that factor in a knee injury compensation claim.
What Constitutes Negligence in a Knee Injury Compensation Claim?
There are many ways in which somebody can be negligent, and thereby liable, for causing your knee injury. A motorist who fails to pay due care and attention when driving, an employer who neglects to perform health and safety checks on a construction site or a bar owner who allows his ice-making machine to leak freely onto the floor are all examples of people displaying a “lack of care” which could result in an injury. These examples are by no means exhaustive, and if you believe that you have sustained a knee injury due to the lack of care by somebody who had a “duty of care” to you, should speak with a solicitor about making a knee injury compensation claim.
A solicitor will be able to listen to the circumstances surrounding your knee injury and determine whether you have a claim for knee injury compensation to pursue against one or more negligent parties and, depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, advise you of how much knee injury compensation he would expect you to receive. This initial figure will be a very useful piece of information for you to have from the beginning of your knee injury claim, as we shall see.
Making a Claim for Knee Injury Compensation
Most claims for knee injury compensation will be directed to the Injuries Board Ireland. A form, which is available from their web site has to be completed and submitted with a medical report from your doctor. It will also support your knee injury claim if you are able to accompany your application for knee injury compensation with a copy of the accident report if your injury was sustained in a road traffic accident or at work. The application can be completed online (except in the case of children’s knee injury compensation), but you will almost certainly need advice on completing the section in which you claim special damages.
Special damages are the “out of pocket” expenses you incur due to the knee injury. In some cases this may amount to a few trips to the hospital and a taxi fare or two because you are unable to drive. However, in more severe knee injury compensation claims – where young people, for example, suffer catastrophic knee injuries which mean they are unlikely to walk again – special damages may include the costs of adapting your home for wheelchair access and a loss of income for life!
The Knee Injury Claim Process
The Injuries Board Ireland will acknowledge receipt of your claim and request consent from the negligent party to proceed with an assessment of the knee injury claim. Once this consent is forthcoming, the Injuries Board Ireland may request that you attend a further independent medical examination to ascertain the extent of the injured knee and the length of time it will take to make a full recovery. Thereafter, they will assess your injury against the Book of Quantum and issue you and the negligent party with a Notice of Assessment, stating how much knee injury compensation they feel you should receive.
If both you and the negligent party accept the assessment of the Injuries Board Ireland, they will issue an Order to Pay, and your knee injury compensation settlement will be sent to you. If however, either party disputes the amount assessed, the Injuries Board Ireland will issue you with an authorisation to pursue your claim through litigation in the courts. Litigation will also be required in the event that the negligent party denies their responsibility for your knee injury, or claims that you contributed to it by your own lack of care.
Litigation and Knee Injury Compensation
The exception to this process is when a knee injury has been caused by medical negligence. This could be due to surgery which has gone wrong or the failure to diagnose an injury which consequently deteriorated. Claims for knee injury compensation which are due to medical negligence are resolved by medical opinion – where an expert will testify that “on the balance of probability” your injury was avoidable and caused by a lack of skill – or failure to display that skill – by a medical practitioner who owed you a duty of care. The Injuries Board Ireland declines to assess knee injury claims where liability is in doubt, and medical negligence is a further example of how your knee injury compensation claim may end up in court.
If you have engaged a solicitor from the very beginning of your knee injury claim, he will have already compiled the strongest possible case on your behalf, and has probably already tried to agree a negotiated settlement with the negligent party’s insurance company while the Injuries Board Ireland were still doing their assessment. To save you going through the trauma of a court case, your solicitor will continue to work for a speedy and satisfactory conclusion to your knee injury compensation claim, but sometimes litigation is necessary.
Children and Knee Injury Compensation
Children are prone to knee injuries more often than adults because of the active pursuits they participate in. Not all knee injuries are caused by negligence, but when a child suffers a knee injury it can have serious consequences to their long term physical development. Children have a growth plate adjacent to their patella tendon and, if this is damaged in a knee injury, it can affect the balance of a child’s physical progress.
Fortunately children are not constrained by the Statute of Limitations, and have two years from their eighteenth birthdays (adults get only two years from the “date of knowledge” of a knee injury) in which to make a knee injury compensation claim. This means that if a development problem does become apparent, the child’s knee injury compensation claim can include the costs of surgery or physiotherapy to correct the problem.
Third Party Capture and Knee Injury Compensation
The relevance of discussing how much knee injury compensation you should receive with a solicitor may not only apply to the Injury Board Ireland’s assessment. When insurance companies acknowledge that their client is guilty of negligence, they may make an approach to you with an offer of early settlement of your knee injury compensation claim. Being aware of how much knee injury compensation you are entitled to can prevent the possibility of being undercompensated in a hasty acceptance of their offer.
Although an insurance company’s prime concern is for their own financial situation rather than that of an injury victim, their approach (or attempted “third party capture”) is not necessarily a bad thing. It opens the door for negotiation between your solicitor and the insurance company and can often speed up the compensation process, resulting in your receiving a fair and adequate knee injury compensation settlement long before the Injuries Board Ireland has made their assessment.
Knee Injury Compensation Summary
Knee injuries, no matter how they are caused, can be painful and leave you immobile for long periods of time. Children, in particular, can suffer physical development issues along with other emotional difficulties which come from having limited movement. A solicitor can help you with a knee injury compensation claim by determining first of all that your injury was indeed due to negligence, and then by making a preliminary assessment of how much injury compensation you should receive. The solicitor will also help you through the claiming process and be able to represent you in court – fully prepared for your case – should litigation become necessary. As with any personal injury or medical negligence compensation claim, it is your best interests to contact a solicitor at the first possible opportunity after you have received treatment for your knee injury to discuss your knee injury compensation claim.