Shoulder Injury Compensation
Introduction to Shoulder Injury Compensation
The shoulder is comprised of three major bones – the clavicle (collarbone), scapula (shoulder blade) and humerus (upper arm bone), which are connected by numerous muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is the most flexible joint in the body and consequently the most unstable, due to of the range of motion that is allowed. The shoulder area also contains the brachial plexus, which is a bundle of nerves that acts as a communication highway between the brain and your arms and, because of the shoulder’s close proximity to the spinal cord, any severe shoulder injury can have long term consequences in other areas of the body.
There are many reasons for a shoulder injury- the physical impact of a collision which fractures the clavicle, scapula or humerus, or damages the soft tissues around them is the most common, but internal injuries can be caused by manual handling accidents and repetitive strain. Nerve damage injuries such as brachial plexus injury can be sustained by a child at birth or an adult in a motorcycling accident and, where any of these injuries were avoidable and caused by the negligence of another, you are entitled to make a shoulder injury compensation claim.
Determining Negligence in a Shoulder Injury Compensation Claim
Many instances of negligence are straightforward to prove. The car driver who pulls across a road junction without looking, an employer who fails to adhere to health and safety regulations or the local council who allow the footpaths to deteriorate to an unsafe state, are all examples of negligent parties who may be responsible for you or a loved one sustaining a shoulder injury. Determining negligence in other cases however can be more complicated – such as the baby who develops shoulder dystocia in the womb and sustains a brachial plexus injury when medical staff attempt to free the infant. A shoulder injury compensation claim in this case would have to demonstrate that the actions taken by the medical staff were avoidable at the time the injury occurred and were caused by a lack of skill.
As the shoulders are also the axes for the upper limbs, any injury which restricts the use of an arm can affect your quality of life severely. Not only is the initial trauma which causes the injury painful, but the frustration of not being able to work, drive and perform regularly household tasks can lead to anxiety and depression. This is why it is important that a shoulder injury compensation claim accounts for post trauma consequences, and should be pursued with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.
Making a Shoulder Injury Compensation Claim
The way in which a shoulder injury claim is made is going to depend on the cause of the shoulder injury. Claims which involve alleged medical negligence have to be dealt with by the courts, as determining negligence in these cases requires expert testimony that the medical staff displayed a lack of skill (or a failure to display that skill) in their actions – or lack of them – which resulted in the shoulder injury. These types of shoulder injury claim require a significant amount of investigation in order that your solicitor can construct the strongest possible shoulder injury claim on your behalf.
Other causes of a shoulder injury are dealt with by the Injuries Board Ireland. An application is made to them – supported by a medical report and a copy of any accident report – for an assessment of your shoulder injury claim. Once the negligent party has advised the Injuries Board Ireland that he consents to their making an assessment, an independent medical examination may be required in order to confirm the extent of your injury, after which the Injuries Board Ireland will issue a Notice of assessment. If both parties agree with how much shoulder injury compensation the Injuries Board Ireland has determined you should receive, an Order to Pay is issued and your shoulder injury claim is settled.
Shoulder Injury Compensation and Litigation
If, however, the negligent party denies that he is responsible for your injury, or claims that you contributed to it by your own negligence, the Injuries Board Ireland will decline to assess your application for shoulder injury compensation. In this instance, they will issue you with an Authorisation to pursue your claim through the courts. This course of action will also be necessary if either party disagrees with the assessment of the Injuries Board Ireland.
In many cases – particularly when your solicitor has already constructed a strong case – claims for shoulder injury compensation which have been declined by the Injuries Board Ireland, or assessments which are disputed by either party, are resolved by negotiation rather than by trial. Your solicitor will have prepared your shoulder injury compensation claim to go to trial, but will only use that means of obtaining a fair settlement for you when all other routes have been exhausted.
Shoulder Injury Compensation and Third Party Capture
Negotiations may have started well before the Injuries Board Ireland made their assessment, especially if you have been approached by the negligent party’s insurance company with an offer of early settlement for your shoulder injury claim. This practise is known as “third party capture” and, although designed by the insurance companies to save themselves money, opens the door for negotiations between their legal representatives and your solicitor.
Insurance companies sometimes only take days after their negligent client has injured you in an accident to get in touch, so it is important that, as soon as you have received medical attention for your shoulder injury, you contact a solicitor. By discussing your shoulder injury claim with a solicitor at an early stage, it will prevent you from falling into the insurance company’s trap and risk being undercompensated. Once you have settled a shoulder injury compensation claim, it is impossible to go back for more.
Shoulder Injury Compensation and Children
There are certain differences in the procedures when a child is making a claim for shoulder injury compensation. First of all, they are not constrained by the Statute of Limitations, and have two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make a shoulder injury compensation claim. Although it is better not to leave a shoulder injury claim for any longer than possible, there are benefits if a child has suffered a shoulder injury which will affect their development in later life. For example, some brachial plexus birth injuries heal themselves within a matter of months, whereas others create lifelong arm mobility issues.
A child can make a shoulder injury claim at any time before they reach the age of eighteen, but have to be represented by a parent or guardian acting as their “next friend”. All applications to the Injuries Board Ireland for a child’s claim for shoulder injury compensation have to be posted – they cannot be completed online, and any compensation settlement – no matter how it is reached – must be approved in court by a judge before payment can be made.
Shoulder Injury Compensation Summary
Shoulders are susceptible to a full range of injuries, and although many of them heal by themselves over time, others may require surgery to affect a complete recovery. When a third party has breached their “duty of care” and is responsible for causing you a shoulder injury due to their negligence, you are entitled to claim for shoulder injury compensation.
The consequences of a shoulder injury – especially when children are the injured party – need special consideration to ensure that adequate compensation is received. Both physical and psychological injury should be taken into account in a shoulder injury compensation claim, plus special damages if there are long term health issues and additional care is required, or if your future income is affected by your shoulder injury.
Irrespective of whether your claim is for alleged medical negligence or personal injury, you should always engage the services of a solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity, to advise you about your entitlement to shoulder injury compensation and to assist you at the start of the claims process. At a time when you may be feeling both physically and emotionally traumatised, this is something which can be taken out of your hands, allowing you to focus on making a quicker recovery from your shoulder injury.