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Compensation Claims for Ligament Damage

Compensation Claims for Ligament Damage

Compensation claims for ligament damage can be complex and there are many factors you should consider when pursuing a claim. To aid you, this guide covers some of the essential information you may need, however ligaments are present in every joint in the body – and a ligament injury in the neck will affect you differently from a torn knee ligament therefore you are best advised to discuss any potential claim for torn ligament compensation with a personal injury solicitor.

Common Ligament Injuries

Typically the most common compensation claim for a ligament injury is due to a rear-end vehicle collision which causes damage to the soft tissues of the neck, shoulders and upper back. Known most commonly as whiplash, the head is usually immobilised in a neck brace to limit the amount of movement the victim can make and ensure they recover from the ligament damage caused.

Other common compensation claims for ligament damage include:-

  • Ligament Injuries caused by Slips, Trips and Falls
    It is common to see torn ligaments at ankle and knee joints where the ligament is stretched too far at the point of injury and tears, however you could also sustain hand ligament injury, wrist ligament injury or thumb ligament injury from putting your hand out in front of you to break a fall after a slip or trip.
  • Ligament Damage caused by Manual Handling
    Incorrect manual handling practices in the workplace can result in torn ligaments in the shoulders, elbows and hands, it worth bearing in mind that ligament damage could develop over time through repetitive strain brought on by poor manual handling practices rather than in one sole incident.

Whether your accident results in torn, sprained or ruptured ligaments, it will result in a painful injury often with a long recovery period during which time the victims’ quality of life may suffer. The minimum recommendation from a doctor to someone who suffers a torn ligament will be to undertake physiotherapy after their injury to ensure that the body is fully supported and can move comfortably although some may be unfortunate enough to require surgery if they suffer severe damage to the ligament.

Steps to take in the aftermath of your accident

Your first priority in the aftermath of an incident where you sustain an injury to a ligament is to seek professional medical care. This will ensure that you do not exacerbate the injury and will also guarantee that a record of the injury is made in your medical history which will substantiate your compensation claim for ligament damage.

Before initiating a claim for torn ligament compensation you must establish whether you sustained your injury due to the negligence of a third party that had a duty of care for your well-being. Demonstrating that the injury you sustained was the fault of somebody who was responsible for your safety at the time can be complicated, particularly if your mobility is restricted by your injury.

Therefore it is recommended that you discuss claiming compensation for a ligament injury with your solicitor to ensure that evidence of negligence is gathered efficiently

Making and collecting accident reports, gathering the contact details of witnesses who saw your accident, obtaining photographic evidence of the hazard which contributed to the accident or helping acquire CCTV footage of the incident are all pieces of evidence that could possibly be used for compensation claims for ligament damage and your solicitor should be able to help you to gather them.

How to initiate a Compensation Claim for Ligament Damage

Compensation claims for ligament damage firstly require the solicitor to write a “Letter of Claim” to the negligent party´s insurers, advising them that you are claiming torn ligament compensation caused by the negligence of their policyholder.

The insurance company has twenty-one days in which to acknowledge the “Letter of Claim” and a further ninety days to inform your solicitor whether or not their policyholder accepts liability for your torn ligament.

Should the policyholder accept liability – and provided the full effects of the torn ligament injury are known – your solicitor will determine how much compensation you are eligible for and enter into negotiations with the insurance company.

If the policyholder denies liability, your solicitor will discuss with you that other options you have available, including whether it is worthwhile pursuing your claim for torn ligament compensation through the courts. If you decide to pursue your claim further, your solicitor will issue court proceedings however this does not mean a court appearance is inevitable as insurance companies may feel the costs involved in defending a court action may be excessive in relation to the value of your claim and offer an out-of-court settlement.

How Much Compensation for a Ligament Injury Am I Entitled to?

The factors that affect compensation claims for ligament damage include the location, nature and severity of the injury. The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injury Cases is used to determine the financial value of your ligament injury, this value is then altered to take into account your age, sex* and your general state of health prior to accident in which you suffered your injury.

*Generally women receive higher compensation settlements for ligament damage as their injuries tend to be more debilitating due to their weaker muscles.

You may also be entitled to include psychological trauma when claiming compensation for a ligament injury for anxiety or depression suffered if your injury resulted in any immobility for you during your recovery, however any emotional trauma must be verified by a psychologist in order for it to be included in a compensation claim.

You could also be entitled to claim ‘special damages’ which is the legal term used to describe any expenses you have incurred or any loss of income you have experienced which is directly associated with your torn ligament injury provided you have receipts for your expenses.

‘Loss of Amenity’ is another element which may be part of your claim, it enables you to claim compensation for the deterioration in the quality of life you have suffered as a result of your injury for which someone else was responsible. This factor can cause a great variation in the settlement amount awarded for ligament damage as the life of a claimant can be affected quite differently depending on the location of the injury. Below are some examples:-

A Compensation Claim for Thumb Ligament Damage

Tearing the thumb ligament may reduce your motor skills in the injured hand, it could also result in a reduction in the strength of grip which could permanently prevent a claimant from performing everyday domestic activities. For example you may be unable to continue playing your favourite sport, play a musical instrument or you may have difficulty with operating a computer or writing.

A Compensation Claim for a Foot Ligament Tear

If a foot ligament tear prevents the claimant from driving or walking unaided it can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Such an injury would mean the claimant would be partially incapacitated and unable to pursue any pastime that involved the flexing of the ligaments in the foot; such as playing with their children, swimming, running or gardening. For the majority of people a denial of any of these pleasures would represent a significant loss of amenity.

A Compensation Claim for a Torn Anterior Longitudinal Ligament

The anterior longitudinal ligament is the soft tissue surrounding the spine which supports the head, any damage to this could affect the sleep of the claimant as they may be unable to rest comfortably at night which would represent a loss of amenity. This is a common symptom of a whiplash injury where a driver turns his/her head on impact, in severe cases of injury to the anterior longitudinal ligament the victim may be unable to feed themselves, this would have a significant impact in a claim for compensation for a ligament injury.

A Compensation Claim for a Torn Medial Collateral Ligament

A tear to the medial collateral ligament can have quite a considerable impact on the victim’s life as it is likely they will be unable to move for a significant period of time. This could mean that they are unable to attend social events, take family holidays or support their children in extra-curricular events at school, they would be eligible to recover any financial costs associated with these scenarios automatically in their compensation claim but they would have to demonstrate how missing out on the aforementioned events represented a loss of amenity.

Direct Offers of Compensation for Ligament Injuries

Once the insurance company is satisfied their policyholder is responsible for your injury they may approach you with a direct offer of compensation. An unsolicited offer of compensation usually comes very early in the aftermath of an accident, when you are at your most vulnerable. Therefore, it is common that the amount of compensation offered is calculated before the full consequences of your injury are known.

Although an early compensation offer can be very tempting, especially if you are worried about your short term financial position, it is important to remember that you risk being under compensated for your injuries if you accept an early offer of compensation without first consulting a personal injury solicitor. Often in compensation claims for ligament damage the full impact of your injuries are unknown in the immediate aftermath of the accident and accepting an offer without this knowledge could leave you with an inadequate amount of money to support your family or pay your medical care and you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more. If short term finances are a concern, your solicitor should be able to arrange for interim payments of compensation for ligament injury until such a time that your claim is satisfactorily resolved.

Other Factors which may Affect Claims for Torn Ligament Compensation

Other factors which could apply to your claim include:-

  • If a child has suffered ligament damage and a parent or guardian wishes to claim compensation on behalf of the child, they must be appointed by the court to act as a ‘litigation friend’.
  • Your claim may also be affected if you are deemed to have contributed to your injury or accident through your own carelessness, for example you may have adversely affected your injury by not seeking medical attention at the first possible opportunity.
  • There may be personal issues involved for the claimant if they suffer the injury at work and are making a claim against their employer or if they are injured in a car accident and the driver responsible is a relative or friend.
  • Physiotherapy may be required in certain circumstances for up to a year after surgery, as it can take a long time for fractures to heal completely. Although claimants are allowed three years from the ‘date of knowledge’ to claim compensation for a ligament injury, it may take this amount of time to determine the long terms effect of the ligament injury. Therefore, you are best advised to speak to a personal injury claims solicitor once you have received professional medical treatment for the ligament injury you sustained in an accident or acquired due to repetitive strain for which you were not wholly responsible.

‘No Win, No Fee’ Representation in Compensation Claims for Ligament Damage

The most popular method in the UK of pursuing personal injury compensation is through ‘No Win, No Fee’ representation. If a solicitor is confident about your claim for torn ligament compensation, generally they will offer you this conditional fee agreement.

A ‘No Win, No Fee’ arrangement allows a claimant to pursue their claim for a ligament injury safe in the knowledge that, should their claim be unsuccessful, their solicitor will not charge them for legal fees. However, there may be other costs involved and it is imperative that you have these explained to you before you agree to ‘No Win, No Fee’ representation.

It is common for solicitors to offer a free initial consultation to potential claimants, and this will be your opportunity to ascertain if it worthwhile compensation for a ligament injury as well as allowing you to ask any questions you may have concerning the process involved with making a claim and how much compensation for a torn ligament you should be entitled to receive.

Summary of Compensation for Torn Ligaments

  • Factors which may impact ligament injury claims include; the age of the claimant, whether they played a role in their injury and claims made against employers, friends and relatives
  • Always speak with a solicitor at the first possible opportunity you have, even though it may take a considerable amount of time before the full consequences of your ligament injury are known
  • Certain procedures have to be completed before seeking compensation for a ligament injury in order to increase the likelihood of success
  • The value of the settlement you are eligible for will depend on the individual circumstances of your injury, the impact it has on your quality of life and the financial cost of your injury
  • No two compensation claims for torn ligaments are the same – normally because the injuries may be in different locations on the body, but also due to the claimant´s personal circumstances and the impact the injury has on their life.