The shoulder joint is one of the largest and most complex in the body. It consists of three bones, the scapula, humerus and collarbone, supported by muscles, ligaments and tendons.
The shoulder joints are essential for any pulling, pushing, lifting or carrying activities. Any injury to the shoulder can severely affect your ability to do any manual labour and even eat, drink or drive.
An estimated 7% of the UK population suffers from shoulder problems, and the prevalence increases to 26% in the elderly. A shoulder injury does not only disrupt your work, social and household activities. It may also cause financial hardship to the victims and their families due to being unable to work because of the injury.
Shoulder injuries range from minor sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries to severe fractures, dislocations and nerve damage. The recovery period may take weeks to months, and some injuries may lead to permanent damage.
You could suffer a shoulder injury after a slip, trip and fall, in a road traffic accident or accident at work, and any other circumstances that involve a forceful trauma to the shoulder region. Some injuries may develop over time due to excessive strain and overuse.
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury without being at fault, you might be able to make a shoulder injury claim. The compensation can provide access to the best private treatment available and cover personal and financial damages you incurred due to your accident.
Can I make a shoulder injury claim?
If you want to make a shoulder injury claim, a free consultation with a personal injury solicitor can let you know if you have a valid case. Since most claims are funded with a no win no fee agreement, you can be sure that your solicitor will not start legal proceedings unless you have a fair chance of success.
Usually, it should be possible to claim shoulder injury compensation if:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- As a result, you suffered a shoulder injury
- Your accident took place within the last three years
Your solicitor will take care of proving a legal duty of care by applying various legislations like the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 or the Occupiers Liability Act 1957, depending on the type of accident you were involved in. Usually, the liable party for a shoulder injury might be:
- Another driver that was driving carelessly and caused a road accident
- Your employer, if they failed to take all reasonable measures to keep you safe at work
- The local council, if you suffered a shoulder injury due to a poorly maintained public place
- A manufacturer, if your accident was caused by a faulty product
- A business owner who failed to keep the premises safe for visitors
- Your landlord, if they failed to carry out regular repairs and maintenance work
- A medical professional who provided substandard care, causing you an injury
Your solicitor will look into your case in detail and help prepare everything you need to receive compensation. They will send a claim notification form to the other side and conduct negotiations on your behalf while you can focus on recovery.
What type of shoulder injuries can I claim compensation for?
Shoulder injuries may severely disrupt your daily life and cause a lot of discomfort. Minor injuries like sprains and strains may completely resolve within a few weeks. More severe injuries could leave long-term or permanent effects.
Regardless of how severe your injury is, you deserve compensation for your pain, suffering, and any related financial losses you incurred. The most common reasons for claiming shoulder injury compensation include:
Sprains and strains – sprains refer to ligament injuries, while strains involve a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. The symptoms are similar between sprains and strains and include pain, swelling and trouble moving the joint or muscle. Initial treatment usually involves rest and wearing a device that compresses the area. Later treatment might include exercise and physical therapy.
Shoulder dislocations – this is when the shoulder joint is pulled backwards or rotated too much, which causes the bone to pop out from the socket. The shoulder is the most mobile joint, making it particularly susceptible to dislocation.
Symptoms include intense pain, swelling or bruising, deformity and inability to move. The treatment may involve closed reduction, wearing a splint or sling and physical therapy. In rare cases, you may need surgery.
Shoulder separation – occurs when the ligaments between the shoulder blade and collarbone are torn. This condition is also known as acromioclavicular joint separation or AC joint separation. Symptoms include pain and a bump at the top of the shoulder.
Most injuries heal within two to 12 weeks with rest, physical therapy and the use of a sling. Severe cases may need surgery to reattach the torn ligaments.
Frozen shoulder – involves inflammation of the shoulder joint, causing pain and extreme stiffness. The symptoms usually begin gradually, with pain and a limited range of motion. At a later stage, the pain may start to diminish while the shoulder becomes stiffer and more difficult to use.
Treatment involves medicine for pain relief, steroid injections and physical therapy. The pain usually resolves even without any intervention within one to three years.
Rotator cuff tear – the rotator cuff is a cluster of tendons and muscles which allow you to raise and rotate the arm. You could suffer a rotator cuff injury through overuse, in a fall, or trying to lift a heavy object.
Symptoms of an injury include tenderness and soreness in the shoulder and the inability to raise the arm or lie on the injured side. Treatment depends on injury severity and might need surgery if the tear is complete.
Shoulder impingement – occurs due to the constant rubbing of the rotator cuff against the edge of the scapula, which causes swelling, pain and irritation. It is often set off by movements that require constant lifting of the arms over the head. Treatment for shoulder impingement includes rest, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and surgery.
Shoulder fractures – may result from a fall or blunt trauma and may include clavicle, scapula or humerus fractures. Symptoms include intense pain, swelling, bruising, deformity and sagging of the shoulder. You will likely not be able to move or lift your arm.
Simple fractures may be treated by wearing a sling for up to two months. More complex breaks may need surgery, including placing plates and screws or wires and sutures.
Bursitis – develops when the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that cushions the joint, gets swollen and irritated due to repetitive motions. It may also be caused by a fall or another traumatic injury. Symptoms include pain and swelling, which may be alleviated with rest and pain medicine. If the joint does not improve after six to 12 months, you might require surgery.
Arthritis – may develop due to wear and tear of the shoulder joint from overuse or after traumatic shoulder injuries such as fractures or dislocations. It causes pain and inflammation in the joint, which worsens with activity and improves with rest.
It also leads to loss of motion, especially for activities that require the arms to reach over the head. The treatment involves rest, medication and steroid injections. If these do not work, surgery may be needed to replace the damaged joint.
Some shoulder injuries may be treated at home and do not require emergency intervention. Nonetheless, you should see a doctor right away if:
- Your shoulder looks deformed
- You cannot use it at all
- You experience intense pain
- You experienced sudden swelling
- Your arm or hand is weak or numb
If you or a loved one suffered a shoulder injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be able to make a shoulder injury claim. To find out if you have a valid case, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 678 1410 to speak to a legal adviser.
What are the most common causes of shoulder injuries?
A shoulder injury could be due to sudden, traumatic events or develop over time through overuse and repetitive movements. As long as another party was responsible for your accident, you may be able to make a shoulder injury claim.
Below are a few examples of unfortunate situations that may lead to a shoulder injury:
- Car accidents may cause shoulder sprains and strains, deep tissue bruising or even fractures, depending on the force of the impact. Rotator cuff tear is one of the most common shoulder injuries caused by vehicle collisions. If another driver caused an accident, you should be able to claim compensation for your injury.
- Motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries. The high speeds riders reach and the limited protection available makes them vulnerable road users. Falling on the shoulder during an accident may lead to fractures, dislocations, rotator cuff tears, and other injuries. You could also suffer a shoulder injury by twisting or overstretching the muscles, tendons or ligaments during an impact.
- Bicycle accidents are a common cause of shoulder injuries. A bicycle accident could be caused by impact with a vehicle or falling off the bike due to road or manufacturing defects. Cycling accidents often cause shoulder dislocations, AC joint separation or rotator cuff tears. Many of these injuries may need surgery and a prolonged recovery period.
- Pedestrian accidents can be very severe and even life-threatening. Due to the lack of any protection, pedestrians can suffer severe trauma if they are hit by a vehicle. Injuries may range from minor soft tissue trauma to severe fractures and rotator cuff tears, depending on the impact force.
- A slip, trip or fall could happen anywhere, at work, on the street or in a privately-owned business. Employers, local councils and business owners have a duty to take all reasonable measures to prevent an accident.
- A fall may cause a wide range of shoulder injuries, including dislocations, broken shoulders, soft tissue injuries or rotator cuff tears. If your fall was caused by poorly maintained premises, you might be able to make a shoulder injury claim.
- Accidents at work can have severe consequences, especially if they involve any kind of heavy machinery or equipment. Shoulder injuries make up to 10% of all workplace-related arm injuries. Injuries at work can range from superficial wounds to bone fractures and even traumatic amputations. Manual handling and vibrating machinery can also lead to some conditions such as bursitis or shoulder impingement.
- Medical negligence could lead to a shoulder injury or the worsening of a condition. Misdiagnosis, incorrect treatments or surgery mistakes can lead to permanent mobility issues. Mishandling during childbirth could also cause severe shoulder injuries to the baby. If you received substandard care from a medical professional, you might be able to make a shoulder injury claim.
- Violent attacks are undoubtedly very distressing and may cause life-changing shoulder injuries. Sharp weapons may cause severe cuts and deep lacerations. Besides scarring and disfigurement, such injuries may affect the nerves and soft tissues in the shoulder. This could cause permanent mobility issues and disability.
- Blunt and forceful trauma to the shoulder can cause anything from soft tissue injuries to severe fractures. If you are the victim of an assault, you could make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
- Sporting activities can be inherently dangerous. Both contact and non-contact sports can lead to severe and debilitating shoulder injuries. These include dislocations, fractures and rotator cuff tears. Repetitive movements and overuse of the shoulder joint can lead to bursitis and other similar conditions. You may believe that it is your fault if you get injured while practising a sport. Nonetheless, if your accident was caused by inadequate safety equipment, poor training or unfit facilities, you might be entitled to claim shoulder injury compensation.
Regardless of the circumstances in which you suffered an injury, if another party breached their duty of care towards you, you might be entitled to shoulder injury compensation. To find out if you have a claim, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.
What evidence do I need to make a shoulder injury claim?
If you believe you have a valid reason to make a shoulder injury claim, you should contact an experienced personal injury solicitor. They will offer you a free consultation to understand how you got injured and decide whether you could claim compensation.
If you have a valid claim, you will need relevant evidence to support your case. Your solicitor will help you gather everything you need to secure compensation. Some proof you should try to provide includes:
- Medical records that you can ask from the hospital or doctors where you received treatment. These will attest to the extent and severity of your injury and any therapy you received. You can claim compensation for any medical expenses and the long-term effects of your injury.
- Accident reports. If you suffer an injury in a public place, privately owned business or at work, make sure you report it to the responsible party. Afterwards, ask for a signed copy of the report to establish the date, time and location of your accident.
- Contact details of any witnesses to the accident. Your solicitor might request their statement if the defendant refuses to admit liability. If you were involved in a road accident, get the contact detail, licence plate and insurance details of any other drivers involved.
- Police reports may help support your claim, especially if you were involved in a hit and run or suffered a shoulder injury in a criminal assault.
- You should try to secure CCTV or dash cam footage before the recordings are deleted.
- Photographs or videos of the accident scene before anything is moved or repaired.
- Photographs of any visible injuries and recovery process.
- Evidence of any financial losses you incurred because of your shoulder injury, such as invoices, receipts or wage slips.
- A personal diary detailing how the accident affected your work, family, hobbies and any other aspects of your daily life.
Your solicitor will use all the available evidence to build a strong case and send a claim notification form to the defendant. The other party can also gather evidence regarding the accident and send you a letter of response.
If the defendant admits liability, your solicitor will start negotiating your compensation. Otherwise, you might have to issue court proceedings. Less than 5% of all personal injury claims end up in court, so you will likely settle without having to argue your case before a judge.
How much is a shoulder injury compensation claim worth?
The value of your shoulder injury compensation will be determined by several factors:
- The type and extent of your shoulder injury
- The circumstances in which you were injured
- The related financial losses you incurred
- Whether you share any liability for your injury
- How your daily life was affected by the injury
- Your recovery prospects
Your solicitor will consider how your accident affected various aspects of your life and calculate a suitable compensation award. Usually, this will cover:
- Medical costs, including medication, hospital stay and surgery
- Private care treatments
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost earnings, including future lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Any home or vehicle changes to cope with long-term disability
- Costs of care and assistance
- The physical pain and suffering caused by your injury
- Any psychological impact caused by your accident, such as depression or anxiety
- Physical scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a unique career
- Reduced quality of life
- Any impact on your hobbies or social life
The Judicial College offers guidelines that solicitors use to calculate a suitable compensation award for subjective, non-pecuniary losses such as pain and suffering. According to them, you could get:
- Up to £6,000 for minor shoulder injuries that heal in a matter of several weeks to several months
- £4,000 to £10,000 for a fractured clavicle injury
- £7,410 to £11,980 for a frozen shoulder injury leading to symptoms that might last for a couple of years
- £11,980 to £18,020 for severe shoulder dislocations
- £18,020 to £45,070 for fractures, injured nerves or other injuries with long-term or permanent effects
What are the benefits of no win no fee shoulder injury claims?
If you suffered a shoulder injury in an accident that was not your fault, you might want to make a shoulder injury claim. If you have a valid claim for compensation, your personal injury solicitor will likely represent you on a no win no fee basis.
This means that you will sign a conditional fee agreement (CFA) at the beginning of your claim, which offers you a series of benefits, such as:
- You do not have to pay any upfront solicitor fees. Furthermore, if your case fails, you do not owe a penny to your solicitor.
- You do not have to worry about any legal fees or hidden charges.
- Your legal adviser will take care of preparing all the necessary documents while you can focus on your recovery.
- You will receive support and advice at every step of the claiming process.
- Your solicitor will use their expertise to secure the best compensation possible.
- At the beginning of your claim, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. This provides full economic coverage if your case is unsuccessful.
- Your solicitor will arrange a free medical visit with a government-approved doctor to assess the full extent of your injury.
- If your case goes to court, you do not have to worry about any barrister or expert witness fees.
- Your solicitor might be able to secure interim compensation payments. These will cover any ongoing costs while you recover from your shoulder injury.
The major advantage of a no win no fee claim is that you can start legal proceedings irrespective of your financial situation. Furthermore, you have nothing to lose, even if your case is ultimately unsuccessful.
You only have to pay anything if your solicitor secures the compensation you deserve. This includes the cost of the ATE premium and a success fee to your solicitor. The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation award, and it will be explained to you in detail at the beginning of the claim.
How long do I have to claim for a shoulder injury?
Every personal injury claim must be brought within a certain time limit. This is known as the claim limitation date, after which a case becomes statute-barred, and it is no longer possible to claim compensation.
Usually, you have three years after an accident to start a shoulder injury claim. If your injury became clear only later after an accident, the three-year countdown begins on the date you received a diagnosis. This is known as the date of knowledge of your injury.
The three-year limitation date does not apply to every claim for shoulder injury compensation:
- In claims involving children, the three-year countdown only begins after the victim turn 18. A litigation friend can start legal proceedings at any point before that, regardless of when the accident took place.
- There is no limitation date to make a claim on behalf of a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings. This could be due to an intellectual disability, mental health issue, neurodegenerative disease or a traumatic brain injury. If the victim regains mental capacity, they will have three years to start a claim from that point.
- If you suffered a shoulder injury in a violent attack, you could claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) within two years after the incident.
- If your injury was caused by a faulty product, you could claim shoulder injury compensation within three years after the defect was discovered.
- You could make a shoulder injury claim after an accident that happened abroad, but the limitation date can vary significantly between countries. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible, as the limitation date might be as short as six months in some foreign countries.
To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.