Injury at work? Can you claim compensation?

You may suffer various injuries whilst at work, but one of the most common accidents at work which people seek compensation for are claims in respect of muscular injuries affecting the back. 

Whether someone may be a care worker who has to move patients, a store worker who regularly shifts stock in a shop, or a factory worker who moves materials on a factory production line or a building site, or an office worker who has to move boxes in an office, all employers have a responsibility to ensure that staff members are adequately trained and advised as to how to lift items safely.

Back injuries, like a slipped disc can be caused by lifting even light items, if the lifting is not carried out in the correct manner.

Safe lifting and carrying training is commonly known as manual handling training. Whether or not an employer has provided manual handling training will be very relevant to to whether or not there is a valid claim for work accident compensation to be made.

Employer responsibilities – manual handling guidance and training

All employers should ensure that new staff members undergo a basic induction to the workplace. This will provide general health and safety guidance that is relevant to all employees, such as how to act if a fire alarm sounds, what to do after an accident, how to use the accident book and who the first aid staff are. Alongside this, all staff should be provided with manual handling guidance. This could be as simple as watching a short video showing how to lift and move items safely, how to avoid putting excess stress on the muscles in the lower back and how to safely move items.

If you work for an employer who has not provided this guidance, and you have suffered an injury to your back as a result of lifting and moving items, you may well have a strong claim for manual handing injury compensation. If you have not suffered an injury, but have not been trained, you should advise your employers that they are putting all staff at risk of injury.

Providing training and advice on lifting in the workplace may to many people seem like teaching your granny how to suck eggs, but the consequences of an injury to the muscles of the back can have long lasting implications that can prevent someone from working, being active or able to fulfill their usual day-to-day activities. It is in every employer’s interest to provide such basic training to staff members as it will reduce injuries, reduce costs of staff absences and prevent staff members needing to claim compensation .

As well as training new staff, employers should also ensure that existing staff members are provided with regular refresher training (usually every 3 years) and given any updated advice as and when experts issue such new guidance.

Inadequate environments and unsafe lifting practices

Providing training to staff is not in itself enough to enable an employer to refuse liability for injuries caused to the back through lifting at work. Providing training is one thing, but providing a working environment that enables staff to work safely and in accordance with the training provided is essential. We have regularly helped people claim compensation for back injuries caused through work who have had training from an employer. However, they have been forced to work in small spaces that prevents them from being able to lift and move items as they have been trained to, or not provided with the correct equipment to safely move items.

When it comes to lifting heavy items, there are basic health and safety guidelines that should be followed. It is suggested that no person should attempt to lift an item that exceeds 25kgs in weight without the assistance of a second staff member or a hoist. 

Trolley’s should be provided to move items once lifted as this will reduce the stress placed on the employee’s lower back. If you work for an employer who expects you to lift items of 25kgs or more without assistance, you are likely to suffer an injury at work and if so, would have a very strong claim for compensation.

Criteria for a successful claim

As with all claims for personal injury compensation, those for injuries to the back as a result of an accident at work will only be successful if certain criteria are met. 

The two most important factors are that any injury or accident should be properly reported and recorded with the employer and medical treatment must be sought and received. Most employers provide an accident book system and as an injured party, you MUST ensure that the details of your injury are recorded within the same.

If your employer refuses you access to the accident book, there are still things you can do if no record of the accident has been made. You should also see your GP or attend an A&E department to ensure that the details of your injury are noted on your medical records as this will provide evidence to support your claim at a later stage.

Compensation amounts

Settlement values vary from case to case, and are comprised of what are known as general and special damages. General damages cover the injury itself and the effect it has on your life. For instance, whether the injury affects your ability to earn money, do your job, perform your usual activities outside work and how long you are likely to experience such problems. Special damages cover the financial costs you incur because of the injury – e.g. medical treatments, travel expenses, property damage.

The Judicial Board Guidelines set out value bandings in relation to a variety or injuries.  

Chapter 6 : Orthopaedic Injuries (10th Edition)

(A) Neck Injuries
There is a very wide range of neck injuries. Many are found in conjunction
with back and shoulder problems.
(a) Severe
(i) Neck injury associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in
permanent spastic quadriparesis or where the injured person, despite
wearing a collar 24 hours a day for a period of years, still has little or no
movement in the neck and suffers severe headaches which have proved
intractable.In the region of £97,500
(ii) Injuries which give rise to disabilities which fall short of those in (a)(i)
above but which are of considerable severity; for example, permanent
damage to the brachial plexus. £43,000 to £86,000
(iii) Injuries causing severe damage to soft tissues and/or ruptured
tendons. They result in significant disability of a permanent nature. The
precise award depends on the length of time during which the most
serious symptoms are ameliorated, and on the prognosis.
In the region of £36,000
(iv) Injuries such as fractures or dislocations which cause severe
immediate symptoms and which may necessitate spinal fusion. They leave
markedly impaired function or vulnerability to further trauma, and some
limitation of activities. £16,400 to £21,600
(b) Moderate
(i) Cases involving whiplash or wrenching-type injury and disc lesion of
the more severe type resulting in cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of
movement, permanent or recurring pain, stiffness or discomfort and the
possible need for further surgery or increased vulnerability to further
trauma. £9,000 to £16,400
(ii) Injuries which may have exacerbated or accelerated some pre-existing
unrelated condition. There will have been a complete recovery or recovery
to ‘nuisance’ level from the effects of the accident within a few years. This
bracket will also apply to moderate whiplash injuries where the period of
recovery has been fairly protracted and where there remains an increased
vulnerability to further trauma. £5,150 to £9,000
(c) Minor
Minor soft tissue and whiplash injuries and the like where symptoms are
(i) and a full recovery takes place within about two years; £2,850 to £5,150
(ii) with a full recovery between a few weeks and a year. £875 to £2,850
(B) Back Injuries
(a) Severe
(i) Cases of the most severe injury which do not involve paralysis but
where there may be very serious consequences not normally found in
cases of back injury, such as impotence or double incontinence. £66,000 to £111,000
(ii) Cases which have special features taking them outside any lower In the region of
bracket applicable to orthopaedic injury to the back. Such features include
impaired bladder and bowel function, severe sexual difficulties and
unsightly scarring and the possibility of future surgery. £53,000
(iii) Cases of disc lesions or fractures of discs or of vertebral bodies
where, despite treatment, there remain disabilities such as continuing
severe pain and discomfort, impaired agility, impaired sexual function,
depression, personality change, alcoholism, unemployability and the risk
of arthritis. £25,500 to £45,750
(b) Moderate
(i) Cases where any residual disability is of less severity than that in (a)(iii)
above. The bracket contains a wide variety of injuries. Examples are a
case of a crush fracture of the lumbar vertebrae where there is a
substantial risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain and discomfort with
impairment of sexual function; that of a traumatic spondylolisthesis with
continuous pain and a probability that spinal fusion will be necessary; or
that of a prolapsed intervertebral disc with substantial acceleration of back
degeneration. £18,250 to £25,500
(ii) Many frequently encountered injuries to the back such as disturbance
of ligaments and muscles giving rise to backache, soft tissue injuries
resulting in exacerbation of an existing back condition or prolapsed discs
necessitating laminectomy or resulting in repeated relapses. The precise
figure depends upon the severity of the original injury and/or whether there
is some permanent or chronic disability. £8,000 to £17,750
(c) Minor
Strains, sprains, disc prolapses and soft tissue injuries from which a full
recovery or recovery to ‘nuisance’ level has been made without surgery:
(i) within about five years; £5,150 to £8,250
(ii) within about two years. Up to £5,150
(C) Shoulder Injuries
(a) Severe
Often associated with neck injuries and involving damage to the brachial
plexus (see (A)(a)(ii)) resulting in significant disability
£12,600 to £31,500
(b) Serious
Dislocation of the shoulder and damage to the lower part of the brachial
plexus causing pain in shoulder and neck, aching in elbow, sensory
symptoms in the forearm and hand, and weakness of grip or a fractured
humerus leading to restricted shoulder movement.
£8,400 to £12,600
(c) Moderate
Frozen shoulder with limitation of movement and discomfort with
symptoms persisting for about two years.
£5,150 to £8,400
(d) Minor
Soft tissue injury to shoulder with considerable pain but almost complete
(i) in less than two years; £2,850 to £5,150
(ii) within a year. Up to £2,850
(e) Fracture of Clavicle
The level of the award will depend on extent of fracture, level of disability,
£3,400 to £8,000
residual symptoms, and whether temporary or permanent, and whether
union is anatomically displaced.
(D) Injuries to the Pelvis and Hips
The most serious of injuries to the pelvis and hip can be as devastating as
a leg amputation and accordingly will attract a similar award of damages.
Such cases apart, the upper limit for these injuries will generally be in the
region of £42,000.
Cases where there are specific sequelae of exceptional severity would call
for a higher award.
(a) Severe
(i) Extensive fractures of the pelvis involving, for example, dislocation of a
low back joint and a ruptured bladder, or a hip injury resulting in
spondylolisthesis of a low back joint with intolerable pain and
necessitating spinal fusion. Inevitably there will be substantial residual
disabilities such as a complicated arthrodesis with resulting lack of bladder
and bowel control, sexual dysfunction or hip deformity making the use of a
calliper essential; or may present difficulties for natural delivery. £51,500 to £86,000
(ii) Injuries only a little less severe than in (a)(i) above but with particular
distinguishing features lifting them above any lower bracket. Examples
are: (a) fracture dislocation of the pelvis involving both ischial and pubic
rami and resulting in impotence; or (b) traumatic myositis ossificans with
formation of ectopic bone around the hip.
£40,650 to £51,500
(iii) Many injuries fall within this bracket: a fracture of the acetabulum
leading to degenerative changes and leg instability requiring an osteotomy
and the likelihood of hip replacement surgery in the future; the fracture of
an arthritic femur or hip necessitating hip replacement; or a fracture
resulting in a hip replacement which is only partially successful so that
there is a clear risk of the need for revision surgery.
£25,750 to £34,500
(b) Moderate
Significant injury to the pelvis or hip but any permanent disability is not
major and any future risk not great.
£17,500 to £25,750
(c) Injuries of Limited Severity
These cases may involve hip replacement. Where it has been carried out
wholly successfully the award will tend to the top of the bracket, but the
bracket also includes cases where hip replacement may be necessary in
the foreseeable future.
£8,250 to £17,500
(d) Lesser Injuries
(i) Cases where despite significant injury there is little or no residual
disability. £2,600 to £8,250
(ii) Minor injuries with complete recovery. Up to £2,600
(E) Amputation of Arms
(a) Loss of Both Arms
There is no recent case to offer guidance but the effect of such an injury is
to reduce a person with full awareness to a state of considerable
£158,000 to £197,000
(b) Loss of One Arm Not less than £90,000
(i) Arm Amputated at the Shoulder
(ii) Above-elbow Amputation
A shorter stump may create difficulties in the use of a prosthesis. This will
make the level of the award towards the top end of the bracket.
Amputation through the elbow will normally produce an award at the
bottom end of the bracket.
£72,000 to £86,000
(iii) Below-elbow Amputation
Amputation through the forearm with residual severe organic and phantom
pains would attract an award at the top end of the bracket.The value of
such an injury depends upon:
(i) whether the amputation is above or below the elbow. The loss of the
additional joint adds greatly to the disability;
(ii) whether or not the amputation was of the dominant arm;
(iii) the intensity of any phantom pains.
£63,000 to £72,000

(F) Other Arm Injuries
(a) Severe Injuries
Injuries which fall short of amputation but which are extremely serious and
leave the injured person little better off than if the arm had been lost; for
example, a serious brachial plexus injury.
£63,000 to £86,000
(b) Injuries resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement
Serious fractures of one or both forearms where there is significant
permanent residual disability whether functional or cosmetic.
£25,750 to £39,300
(c) Less Severe Injury
While there will have been significant disabilities, a substantial degree of
recovery will have taken place or will be expected.
£12,600 to £25,750
(d) Simple Fractures of the Forearm £4,350 to £12,600

(G) Injuries to the Elbow
(a) A Severely Disabling Injury £25,750 to £36,000
(b) Less Severe Injuries
Injuries causing impairment of function but not involving major surgery or
significant disability.
£10,300 to £21,000
(c) Moderate or Minor Injury
Most elbow injuries fall into this category. They comprise simple fractures,
tennis elbow syndrome and lacerations; i.e., those injuries which cause no
permanent damage and do not result in any permanent impairment of
Up to £8,250
(H) Wrist Injuries
(a) Injuries resulting in complete loss of function in the wrist, for example,
where an arthrodesis has been performed. £31,300 to £39,300
(b) Injury resulting in significant permanent disability, but where some
useful movement remains. £16,100 to £25,750
(c) Less severe injuries where these still result in some permanent £8,250 to £16,100
disability as, for example, a degree of persisting pain and stiffness.
(d) An uncomplicated Colles’ fracture. In the region of
(e) Very minor undisplaced or minimally displaced fractures and soft tissue
injuries necessitating application of plaster or bandage for a matter of
weeks and a full or virtual recovery within a matter of months. £2,300 to £3,125
Where recovery from fracture or soft tissue injury takes longer but is complete, the
award will rarely exceed £6,500.
(I) Hand Injuries
The hands are cosmetically and functionally the most important
component parts of the upper limbs. The loss of a hand is valued not far
short of the amount which would be awarded for the loss of the arm itself.
The upper end of any bracket will generally be appropriate where the
injury is to the dominant hand.
(a) Total or Effective Loss of Both Hands
Serious injury resulting in extensive damage to both hands such as to
render them little more than useless will justify an award of £85,000 or
more. The top of the bracket is applicable where no effective prosthesis
can be used.
£92,000 to £132,000
(b) Serious Damage to Both Hands
Such injuries will have given rise to permanent cosmetic disability and
significant loss of function.
£36,000 to £55,500
(c) Total or Effective Loss of One Hand
This bracket will apply to a hand which was crushed and thereafter
surgically amputated or where all fingers and most of the palm have been
traumatically amputated. The upper end of the bracket is indicated where
the hand so damaged was the dominant one.
£63,000 to £72,000
(d) Amputation of Index and Middle and/or Ring Fingers
The hand will have been rendered of very little use and such grip as
remains will be exceedingly weak.
£40,650 to £59,500
(e) Serious Hand Injuries
Such injuries will, for example, have reduced the hand to about 50 per
cent capacity. Included would be cases where several fingers have been
amputated but rejoined to the hand leaving it clawed, clumsy and
unsightly, or amputation of some fingers together with part of the palm
resulting in gross diminution of grip and dexterity and gross cosmetic
£19,000 to £40,650
(f) Less Serious Hand Injury
Such as a severe crush injury resulting in significantly impaired function
without future surgery or despite operative treatment undergone.
£9,500 to £19,000
(g) Moderate Hand Injury
Crush injuries, penetrating wounds, soft tissue type and deep lacerations.
The top of the bracket would be appropriate where surgery has failed and
permanent disability remains.
£4,100 to £8,700
(h) Minor Hand Injuries
Injuries similar to but less serious than (g) above with recovery within a
few months.
£600 to £2,850
(i) Severe Fractures to Fingers
These may lead to partial amputations and result in deformity, impairment
of grip, reduced mechanical function and disturbed sensation.
Up to £24,100
(j) Total Loss of Index Finger In the region of
(k) Partial Loss of Index Finger
This bracket also covers cases of injury to the index finger giving rise to
disfigurement and impairment of grip or dexterity.
£8,000 to £12,250
(l) Fracture of Index Finger £6,000 to £8,000
This level is appropriate where a fracture has mended quickly but grip has
remained impaired, there is pain on heavy use and osteoarthritis is likely in
due course.
(m) Total Loss of Middle Finger
In the region of
(n) Serious Injury to Ring or Middle Fingers £9,750 to £10,750
Fractures or serious injury to tendons causing stiffness, deformity and
permanent loss of grip or dexterity will fall within this bracket.
(o) Loss of the Terminal Phalanx of the Ring or Middle Fingers £2,600 to £5,150
(p) Amputation of Little Finger £5,700 to £8,000
(q) Loss of Part of the Little Finger £2,600 to £3,850
This is appropriate where the remaining tip is sensitive.
(r) Amputation of Ring and Little Fingers
In the region of
(s) Amputation of the Terminal Phalanges of the Index and Middle
Such injury will involve scarring, restriction of movement and impairment
of grip and fine handling.
In the region of
(t) Fracture of One Finger
Depending upon recovery time.
£2,000 to £3,125
(u) Loss of Thumb £23,250 to £36,000
(v) Very Serious Injury to Thumb
This bracket is appropriate where the thumb has been severed at the base
and grafted back leaving a virtually useless and deformed digit, or where
the thumb has been amputated through the interphalangeal joint.
£12,900 to £23,000
(w) Serious Injury to the Thumb
Such injuries may involve amputation of the tip, nerve damage or fracture
necessitating the insertion of wires as a result of which the thumb is cold
and ultra-sensitive and there is impaired grip and loss of manual dexterity.
£8,250 to £11,000
(x) Moderate Injuries to the Thumb
These are injuries such as those necessitating arthrodesis of the
interphalangeal joint or causing damage to tendons or nerves. Such
injuries result in impairment of sensation and function and cosmetic
£6,300 to £8,250
(y) Severe Dislocation of the Thumb £2,600 to £4,450
(z) Minor Injuries to the Thumb In the region of
Such an injury would be a fracture which has recovered in six months
except for residual stiffness and some discomfort.
(aa) Trivial Thumb Injuries
These may have caused severe pain for a very short time but will have
resolved within a few months.
In the region of
(J) Vibration White Finger (VWF) and /or Hand-Arm Vibration
Syndrome (HAVS)
Vibration White Finger and/or Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome, caused by
exposure to vibration, is a slowly progressive condition, the development
and severity of which are affected by the degree of exposure, in particular
the magnitude, frequency, duration and transmission of the vibration. The
symptoms are similar to those experienced in the constitutional condition
of Raynaud’s phenomenon.
The Stockholm Workshop Scale is now the accepted table for grading the
severity of the condition. The Scale classifies both the vascular and
sensorineural components in two complementary tables. Individual
assessment is made separately for each hand and for each finger. Any
interference with work or social life is disregarded.
Accordingly, depending on individual circumstances, a lower award might
be made despite significant disablement where, e.g., employment is
unaffected, whilst a higher award might be attracted where there is a
lesser disability but a consequential inability to pursue working life.
The vascular component is graded between Stage 0 (no attacks) through
mild, moderate and severe to 4V (very severe) where there are frequent
attacks affecting all phalanges of most fingers with atrophic changes in the
The sensorineural component is graded between Stage 0SN (no
symptoms) and 3SN (intermittent or persistent numbness, reduced tactile
discrimination and/or manipulative dexterity).
The grade of disorder is indicated by the stage and number of affected
fingers on both hands. The assessment of damages depends upon the
extent of the symptoms and their impact upon work and social life.
In a severe case, the injury may be regarded as damaging a hand rather
than being confined to the fingers.
The brackets can best be defined and valued as follows:
(i) Most Serious £20,750 to £25,250
(ii) Serious £11,000 to £20,750
(iii) Moderate £5,700 to £11,000
(iv) Minor £2,000 to £5,700
(K) Work-related Upper Limb Disorders
This section covers a range of upper limb injury in the form of the following
pathological conditions:
(a) Tenosynovitis: inflammation of synovial sheaths of tendons usually
resolving with rest over a short period. Sometimes this condition leads to
continuing symptoms of loss of grip and dexterity.
(b) De Quervain’s tenosynovitis: a form of tenosynovitis, rarely bilateral,
involving inflammation of the tendons of the thumb.
(c) Stenosing tenosynovitis: otherwise, trigger finger/thumb: thickening
(d) Carpal tunnel syndrome: constriction of the median nerve of the wrist
or thickening of surrounding tissue. It is often relieved by a decompression
(e) Epicondylitis: inflammation in the elbow joint: medial = golfer’s elbow;
lateral = tennis elbow.
The brackets below apply to all these conditions but the level of the award
is affected by the following considerations regardless of the precise
(i) are the effects bilateral or one sided?
(ii) the level of symptoms, i.e., pain, swelling, tenderness, crepitus;
(iii) the ability to work;
(iv) the capacity to avoid the recurrence of symptoms;
(v) surgery.
(a) Continuing bilateral disability with surgery and loss of employment. £14,350 to £15,200
(b) Continuing, but fluctuating and unilateral symptoms. £9,750 to £10,750
(c) Symptoms resolving in the course of two years. £5,700 to £6,300
(d) Complete recovery within a short period. £1,450 to £2,300
(L) Leg Injuries
(a) Amputations
(i) Total Loss of Both Legs
This is the appropriate award where both legs are lost above the knee and
particularly if near to the hip leaving one or both stumps less than
adequate to accommodate a useful prosthesis.
£158,000 to £185,000
(ii) Below-knee Amputation of Both Legs
The top of the bracket is appropriate where both legs are amputated just
below the knee. Amputations lower down result in a lower award.
£132,000 to £177,500
(iii) Above-knee Amputation of One Leg
The area within the bracket within which the award should fall will depend
upon such factors as the level of the amputation; the severity of phantom
pains; whether or not there have been any problems with a prosthesis and
any side effects such as depression or backache.
£63,000 to £92,000
(iv) Below-knee Amputation of One Leg
The straightforward case of a below-knee amputation with no
complications would justify an award at the bottom of this bracket. At or
towards the top of the range would come the traumatic amputation which
occurs in a devastating accident, where the injured person remained fully
conscious, or cases where attempts to save the leg led to numerous
unsuccessful operations so that amputation occurred years after the
£60,000 to £86,000
(b) Severe Leg Injuries
(i) The Most Serious Injuries short of Amputation
Some injuries, although not involving amputation, are so severe that the
courts have awarded damages at a comparable level. Such injuries would
include extensive degloving of the leg, where there is gross shortening of
the leg or where fractures have not united and extensive bone grafting has
been undertaken.
£63,000 to £89,000
(ii) Very Serious
Injuries leading to permanent problems with mobility, the need for crutches
for the remainder of the injured person’s life; injuries where multiple
fractures have taken years to heal and have led to serious deformity and
limitation of movement, or where arthritis has developed in a joint so that
further surgical treatment is likely.
£36,000 to £55,500
(iii) Serious
Serious injuries to joints or ligaments resulting in instability, prolonged
treatment, a lengthy period of non-weight-bearing, the near certainty that
arthritis will ensue; injuries involving the hip, requiring arthrodesis or hip
replacement, extensive scarring. To justify an award within this bracket a
combination of such features will generally be necessary.
£25,750 to £36,000
(iv) Moderate
This bracket includes severe, complicated or multiple fractures. The level
of an award within the bracket will be influenced by the period off work; the
presence or risk of degenerative changes; imperfect union of fractures,
muscle wasting; limited joint movements; instability in the knee; unsightly
scarring or permanently increased vulnerability to future damage.
£18,250 to £25,750
(c) Less Serious Leg Injuries
(i) Fractures from which an Incomplete Recovery is Made
The injured person will be left with a metal implant and/or defective gait, a
limp, impaired mobility, sensory loss, discomfort or an exacerbation of a
pre-existing disability.
£11,800 to £18,250
(ii) Simple Fracture of a Femur with No Damage to Articular Surfaces £6,000 to £9,200
(iii) Simple Fractures and Soft Tissue Injuries
At the top of the bracket will come simple fractures of the tibia or fibula
from which a complete recovery has been made. Below this level fall a
wide variety of soft tissue injuries, lacerations, cuts, bruising or contusions,
all of which have recovered completely or almost so and any residual
disability is cosmetic or of a minor nature.
Up to £6,000
(M) Knee Injuries
(a) Severe
(i) Serious knee injury where there has been disruption of the joint, gross
ligamentous damage, lengthy treatment, considerable pain and loss of
function and an arthrodesis or arthroplasty has taken place or is inevitable £45,750 to £63,000
(ii) Leg fracture extending into the knee joint causing pain which is
constant, permanent, limiting movement or impairing agility and rendering
the injured person prone to osteoarthritis and the risk of arthroplasty. £34,250 to £45,750
(iii) Less severe injuries than those in (a)(ii) above and/or injuries which
result in less severe disability. There may be continuing symptoms by way
of pain and discomfort and limitation of movement or instability or
deformity with the risk that degenerative changes may occur in the long
term as a result of damage to the kneecap, ligamentous or meniscal injury
or muscular wasting. £17,500 to £28,250
(b) Moderate
(i) Injuries involving dislocation, torn cartilage or meniscus or which
accelerate symptoms from a pre-existing condition but which additionally
result in minor instability, wasting, weakness or other mild future disability. £9,750 to £17,500
(ii) This bracket includes injuries similar to those in (b)(i) above, but less
serious, and also lacerations, twisting or bruising injuries. Where recovery
has been complete the award is unlikely to exceed £3,750. Where there is
continuous aching or discomfort, or occasional pain, the award will be
towards the upper end of the bracket. Up to £9,000
(N) Ankle Injuries
The vast majority of ankle injuries are worth significantly less than
(a) Very Severe
Examples of injuries falling within this bracket are limited and unusual.
They include cases of a transmalleolar fracture of the ankle with extensive
soft-tissue damage resulting in deformity and the risk that any future injury
to the leg might necessitate a below-knee amputation, or cases of bilateral
ankle fractures causing degeneration of the joints at a young age so that
arthrodesis is necessary
£32,750 to £45,750
(b) Severe
Injuries necessitating an extensive period of treatment and/or a lengthy
period in plaster or where pins and plates have been inserted and there is
significant residual disability in the form of ankle instability, severely
limited ability to walk. The level of the award within the bracket will be
determined in part by such features as a failed arthrodesis, regular sleep
disturbance, unsightly scarring and any need to wear special footwear.
£20,500 to £32,750
(c) Moderate
Fractures, ligamentous tears and the like which give rise to less serious
disabilities such as difficulty in walking on uneven ground, awkwardness
on stairs, irritation from metal plates and residual scarring.
£8,700 to £17,500
(d) Modest Injuries
The less serious, minor or undisplaced fractures, sprains and ligamentous
injuries. The level of the award within the bracket will be determined by
whether or not a complete recovery has been made and, if recovery is
incomplete, whether there is any tendency for the ankle to give way, and
whether there is scarring, aching or discomfort or the possibility of later
Up to £9,000
Where recovery is within a year, the award is unlikely to exceed £3,600.
(O) Achilles Tendon
(a) Most Serious
Severance of the tendon and the peroneus longus muscle giving rise to
cramp, swelling and restricted ankle movement necessitating the
cessation of active sports.
In the region of
(b) Serious
Where complete division of the tendon has been successfully repaired but
there is residual weakness, a limitation of ankle movements, a limp and
residual scarring and where further improvement is unlikely.
£16,400 to £19,750
(c) Moderate
Complete division of the tendon but where its repair has left no significant
functional disability.
£9,750 to £11,800
(d) Minor £4,850 to £6,600
A turning of the ankle resulting in some damage to the tendon and a
feeling of being unsure of ankle support.
(P) Foot Injuries
(a) Amputation of Both Feet
This injury is treated similarly to below-knee amputation of both legs
because the common feature is loss of a useful ankle joint.
£111,000 to £132,500
(b) Amputation of One Foot
This injury is also treated as similar to a below-knee amputation because
of the loss of the ankle joint.
£55,000 to £72,000
(c) Very Severe
To fall within this bracket the injury must produce permanent and severe
pain or really serious permanent disability. Examples would include the
traumatic amputation of the forefoot where there was a significant risk of
the need for a full amputation and serious exacerbation of an existing back
problem, or cases of the loss of a substantial portion of the heel so that
mobility was grossly restricted.
£55,000 to £72,000
(d) Severe
Fractures of both heels or feet with a substantial restriction on mobility or
considerable or permanent pain. The bracket will also include unusually
severe injury to a single foot resulting, for example, in heel fusion,
osteoporosis, ulceration or other disability preventing the wearing of
ordinary shoes. It will also apply in the case of a drop foot deformity
corrected by a brace.
£30,000 to £44,200
(e) Serious
Towards the top end of the bracket fall cases such as those of grievous
burns to both feet requiring multiple operations and leaving disfiguring
scars and persistent irritation. At the lower end of the bracket would be
those injuries less severe than in (d) above but leading to fusion of foot
joints, continuing pain from traumatic arthritis, prolonged treatment and the
future risk of osteoarthritis.
£16,400 to £25,750
(f) Moderate
Displaced metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and
continuing symptoms.
£9,000 to £16,400
(g) Modest
Simple metatarsal fractures, ruptured ligaments, puncture wounds and the
like. Where there are continuing symptoms, such as a permanent limp,
pain or aching, awards between £4,350 and £9,000 would be appropriate.
Straightforward foot injuries such as fractures, lacerations, contusions etc.
from which complete or near complete recovery is made would justify
awards of £4,350 or less.
Up to £9,000
(Q) Toe Injuries
(a) Amputation of All Toes
The position within the bracket will be determined by, for example,
whether or not the amputation was traumatic or surgical and the extent of
the loss of the forefoot together with the residual effects on mobility.
£24,000 to £37,000
(b) Amputation of the Great Toe In the region of
(c) Severe Toe Injuries
This is the appropriate bracket for severe crush injuries, falling short of the
need for amputation or necessitating only partial amputation. It also
includes bursting wounds and injuries resulting in severe damage and in
any event producing significant continuing symptoms.
£9,000 to £12,600
(d) Serious Toe Injuries
Such injuries will be serious injuries to the great toe or crush and multiple
fractures of two or more toes. There will be some permanent disability by
way of discomfort, pain or sensitive scarring to justify an award within this
bracket. Where there have been a number of unsuccessful operations or
persisting stabbing pains, impaired gait or the like the award will tend
towards the top end of the bracket.
£6,300 to £9,000
(e) Moderate Toe Injuries
These injuries include relatively straightforward fractures or the
exacerbation of a pre-existing degenerative condition. Only £3,500 or less
would be awarded for straightforward fractures of one or more toes with
complete resolution within a short period of time and less still for minor
injuries involving lacerations, cuts, contusions and bruises, in respect of all
of which there would have been a complete or near complete recovery.
Up to £6,300
Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Tenth Edition (2010)

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