An orthopaedic injury is one which affects someone’s joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons or bones. Such injuries can result from a simple accident but if yours was caused by someone else’s negligence you are justified in wanting to seek redress.

Jane Couch, personal injury solicitor at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, outlines common causes of an orthopaedic injury and explains your rights if such an injury happens to you and someone else was to blame.

Orthopaedic injuries can range in severity from the relatively minor, to ones which can seriously affect your life, marring your social life and your ability to work. They can arise in a number of situations, such as a car or bike crash, a slip or fall on an uneven or wet surface, or as a result of botched surgery.

Negligence

However your injury was sustained, if someone else was to blame, you could have a claim for compensation. Even if you were partly to blame for your injuries you may still be able to claim compensation, although the final amount may be reduced depending on how much you were responsible for your injury.

To be able to make a valid claim you will need to show that the person who caused your injury owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty and that you were injured as a result of this breach.

In many cases, such as a road traffic accident or a workplace injury, negligence would be found if the person at fault had failed to act in the way a ‘reasonable man’ would in the same situation. If a medical professional caused your injury, however, the ‘Bolam test’ applies, which states they would be negligent if they failed to act in a way deemed acceptable by a responsible body of medical professionals.

Who do you sue?

Who you claim compensation against will depend on how your injuries were sustained. If your accident happened at work you would make your claim against your employer; if you were hurt in a road traffic accident, it would be against the person who hit you; if it was the result of a fall in a public place, you would take action against your local council or the Highways Authority; if it was sustained through medical negligence by an NHS worker, it would be brought against the Trust where your treatment was received; or if a private doctor was at fault, you would sue the individual responsible.

How a solicitor can help

You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after your accident happens. If our specialist personal injury team feel you have a well-founded claim they will act fast to gather all the  evidence you need to prove your case, as well as making sure you are examined by a medical expert who will report upon the injuries sustained and the effect it has had on your life. Your solicitor will also strive to negotiate you a fair out-of-court settlement or guide you through the court process if your case goes that far.

The compensation you receive for your orthopaedic injury will depend on various factors such as the seriousness of your injury and the way it has affected your life, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings
  • additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
  • out-of-pocket expenses;
  • adaptations required to your home.
  • care

For further information, please contact Jane Couch in the personal injury team on 01626 202413 or email janecouch@wbw.co.uk.  WBW Solicitors has offices Newton Abbot, Paignton, Torquay, Bovey Tracey, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.