Shoulder injuries can have a significant impact on day-to-day functionality, impacting the mental and physical wellbeing of victims. To help recompense, there are systems in place to provide compensation payouts to those who have suffered shoulder injuries.
Types of shoulder injuries eligible for compensation
There are four main occurrences under which a claim for a shoulder injury can be filed: workplace injuries, TPD claims, motor vehicle accidents and injuries incurred in public places. Each framework has its own specific criteria and legislative procedures.
Workplace shoulder injuries
If you’ve experienced a workplace injury, you may be entitled to workers compensation — commonly referred to as a WorkCover claim. Workers compensation benefits for shoulder injuries are accessible irrespective of whether the injury resulted from an accident or developed gradually, as long as it was caused or exacerbated by your work.
The amount of WorkCover payout you can receive depends on several factors, including the:
- Severity of your injury.
- The injuries’ impact on daily functionality.
- Economic loss incurred as a direct result of the injury.
Along with a lump sum compensation payment, you may also qualify for the medical expenses coverage, including the costs of rehabilitation services.
Total and permanent disability (TPD) claims
If you have a shoulder injury that prevents you from working, whether incurred at work or not, you may be eligible for a total and permanent disability (TPD) claim through your superannuation.
TPD insurance is designed to provide financial assistance to people who have become totally and permanently disabled and can no longer work. To qualify for a TPD claim, specific conditions must be met, such as:
- You must be unable to return to your usual occupation.
- The injury is not likely to improve to the extent of being able to return to work.
- You must have superannuation with TPD insurance.
The amount of the claim will depend on the terms of your superannuation policy — factors such as the extent of the injury, your age and the balance present in your superannuation account. TPD claims are complex; a lawyer can provide you with guidance and assistance throughout the process, helping get you the compensation you deserve.
Motor accident-related shoulder injuries
In the event that you have experienced a shoulder injury in a motor vehicle incident (whether a bike, truck or car accident), you may be entitled to compensation through the compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme. The CTP scheme is a governmental initiative designed to offer financial support to individuals injured in motor accidents, irrespective of who is at fault.
The amount of compensation you can receive under the CTP scheme will depend on various factors, including the severity of your injury and the impact it has had on your life. You may also be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Shoulder injuries caused in public places
Shoulder injuries can arise from hazardous conditions in public places, commonly occurring in supermarkets and shopping centres. If you injure your shoulder in a public space, you may have grounds to file a public liability claim.
The eligibility criteria for such a claim includes, but is not limited to, establishing negligence on the part of the property owner or manager, proving that the hazardous condition directly caused your shoulder injury and filing the claim within the specified time limit.
Factors influencing shoulder injury compensation
The compensation you’re eligible to receive for a shoulder injury is determined by various factors. These factors encompass:
- The nature and gravity of your injury
- The impact it has had on your work and daily functioning
- The specific circumstances surrounding the incident.
Your medical costs, economic loss and the physical and emotional distress endured also factor in.
In most cases, the more serious your injury, the more compensation you’re likely to receive. If your injury has made it difficult or impossible for you to work, you’ll likely be entitled to compensation for your lost wages and damage inflicted. You may also be entitled to compensation for the cost of any special equipment or assistance you need to help you carry out daily activities.
Ultimately, the degree of compensation you can expect to receive comes down to the finer details of your case; your solicitor will work with you to determine how you can maximise your compensation based on the specifics of your circumstance.
GMP Case Summary: Worker with shoulder injury awarded $450,000
In this case study, we examine the experience of a GMP Law client who suffered a severe shoulder injury at work and her journey to receive the compensation she deserved.
The incident occurred when the client slipped and fell on a wet surface at her workplace, causing significant damage to her left shoulder. Shoulder injuries are not only serious but also relatively common, as reported by Safe Work Australia. Their data revealed that shoulder and neck injuries accounted for 12% of all serious injury claims in the 2017-2018 period.
The client’s shoulder injury was severe enough to require multiple surgical procedures to repair the joint. Consequently, she initiated the claims process to receive workers’ compensation payments for pain and suffering, as well as compensation for the permanent impairment resulting from the injury.
To receive a lump sum payment for permanent impairment, individuals in New South Wales (NSW) must demonstrate that their permanent impairment totals 11% or greater — as assessed by an approved medical professional — for a physical injury and 15% or greater for a psychological injury, as per the legal changes implemented in June 2012.
The client’s claim for permanent impairment was quickly processed, resulting in a payout of $45,000 from the workers’ compensation insurer. However, there was an additional aspect to consider: The employer’s negligence in maintaining a wet and slippery floor that led to the injury. As a result, the client decided to file a work injury damages claim.
Work injury claims are a special category established to compensate individuals who have suffered harm due to an employer’s negligence. To be eligible for such compensation, the individual must have experienced permanent impairment of 15% or more, as assessed by an approved and qualified doctor specialising in the affected body part.
The client filed a work injury damages claim, providing details of how the injury occurred, the negligent acts of the employer, and any relevant employment history. Economic losses, such as lost income potential, were also documented with supporting evidence. These claims sometimes proceed to court for a determination of payment.
The matter went before a trial judge, and after a two-day legal proceeding, the judge ruled that the damages paid to the client should amount to $354,000. However, a significant caveat was attached: The client was initially ordered to pay the insurer’s legal fees, which totaled $35,000, as the assessment did not surpass the insurer’s previous settlement offer.
Upon receiving this decision, the client and her legal representatives chose to appeal the ruling. After a year-long appeals process, the client’s appeal was successful. The court not only increased the compensation to $483,000 but also reversed the order to pay the insurer’s legal fees.
Seeking compensation with expert legal advice
This case study is just one example of someone receiving the compensation they’re owed. Thousands of shoulder injury claims are made annually in Australia, many resulting in favourable client outcomes.
To reach such outcomes, it’s important to seek expert legal advice and representation. An experienced lawyer can navigate the complexities of the legal system and ultimately help maximise your compensation.
GMP Law are experts in personal injury law and have a proven track record of successfully representing clients in personal injury cases. With our knowledge, experience and a no-win, no-fee set up, we can provide you with the strong legal representation you need to fight for the compensation you deserve. Reach out to our team today.