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Your elbow is the hinge of the arm. You use it in a range of motions every day, for many things. If you have ever had ‘tennis elbow’, or any other kind of elbow pain, you will know how much even a minor twinge can impact on your daily ability to work, interact with your family and loved ones, or play sports.

The elbow joint acts like a hinge to allow the arm to bend and straighten. It also allows you to turn your palms up or down by rotating the forearm.

Elbow injuries are common in the workplace; in 2018-19 in Australian workplaces, 2,835 of all upper limb injuries (a total of 40,145 injuries) were reported for injuries to the elbow. The causes of injuries varied, and the injuries themselves took a range of forms, including cuts, crushing, fractures, wounds, and ligament damage.

Elbow injuries can also happen as a result of trauma through car accidents, or wounds and injuries suffered in a public place. Elbow injuries can be difficult to treat and overcome due to the critical role the elbow plays in daily movement, and also due to the way in which the elbow is made up. Treatment for an elbow injury can take some time, and you may need to take some time off work to recover if you have suffered an elbow injury.

If your elbow injury has been caused as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for the damage you have suffered and the financial loss associated with your injury. Speak to our no win no fee accident lawyers at Murphy's Law Accident Lawyers today about your elbow injury compensation claim and find out where you stand.

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Common elbow injuries

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The elbow is prone to damage in a number of ways, from fractures and breaks through to soft tissue damage and tendon injury. Symptoms of elbow injury may include a dull ache, pain when making a fist or extending the fingers, a weak grip, soreness, tenderness, swelling or intense pain. 

We have listed some of the more common elbow injuries below.

  • Hyperextension injury of the elbow - The elbow is a hinge, and if you are involved in an accident where your arm bends too far back the wrong way, you can cause damage to your elbow and to your ligaments. A hyperextension injury can be seriously painful and can even cause dislocation of the elbow.
  • Soft tissue injury in elbow - Soft tissue injury to the elbow means that you have damaged some of the supporting structures in the elbow, such as your ligaments or muscles. You will not have broken anything, but your elbow may be very tender and painful to touch, and you may find it hard to move your forearm or to lift objects.
  • Elbow tendon injury (tennis elbow) - Also known as lateral epicondylitis, this is a painful condition of the elbow which is caused by overuse of the elbow joint. The condition itself can indicate that tendons in the elbow are either inflamed or have sustained microscopic tears which can then cause tenderness and pain.
  • Elbow fractures - An incredibly painful injury whereby the olecranon (tip of the elbow bone) sustains a fracture. You could also sustain fractures to your radial head (the part of the radius that forms part of the elbow). If you fall directly onto your elbow or on to outstretched hands you can fracture these bones, and a direct blow from an object to your elbow can also cause this delicate bone to break. A broken elbow may require surgery to move the broken bone back into place.
  • Elbow strains and sprains - If you have ever reached out a hand or arm to break your fall, you may have strained or sprained your elbow. Twisting or striking your arm can also cause elbow strain or sprain. It is possible to suffer a sprained elbow in a slip, trip or fall in a public place, at work, or in a car accident.

Get legal advice about your elbow injury today and find out where you stand with possible compensation for an elbow injury. Our personal injury lawyers can help you with compensation claims and will ensure you are supported through what can sometimes be a difficult process.

Common causes of elbow injuries

While an elbow injury can happen in any number of ways, we have listed some of the more common causes of elbow injuries below.

  • Elbow injuries from falls - Falling from a height is a common way that an elbow injury is sustained, both in the workplace and in a public place. Depending on the height, you will likely brace your fall with your arm which can cause a jarring or impact injury to your elbow. Even just tripping over uneven pavement and falling onto your hands can cause serious elbow injury.
  • Elbow injuries from impact - Workplace accidents are a common cause of elbow injuries where a person is struck by a moving object or when a person comes into contact with a stationary object. Elbows can be crushed or sustain trauma in a range of workplaces, including factories, meatworks and food processing plants and warehouses. You can also suffer an elbow injury in a car accident, or in a public place.
  • Elbow injuries from crush injuries - Crush injuries cause serious trauma for the elbow joint, and can be incredibly painful and debilitating. Crush injuries are caused when the elbow is trapped between two items and force is applied, often in workplaces where heavy machinery is used.
  • Elbow injuries from machinery and tools - Elbow injuries are not always gravely serious; they can be caused by overuse of computer equipment causing repetitive strain injury or tendon pain. Of course, elbow injuries can also be caused by the use of tools and machinery which can cause serious cuts or damage to the muscle, bone, tendons or ligaments.

How do I know if my elbow injury is serious?

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In many cases, an elbow injury will be mild to moderate and, while it will cause discomfort and pain at the site, it can be managed with a good treatment plan, adequate rest and recovery, and suitable duties while you are recovering at work.

However, in other cases, your elbow injury will be severe and you will need to seek urgent or timely medical treatment. If you have serious pain, a sharp ache, difficulty moving your elbow, swelling, trauma, weakness of grip or any other symptoms that remains the same level of pain or worsen, you should seek medical treatment to rule out the possibility of a serious injury.

Similarly, if you have had an elbow injury at work you need to seek medical treatment and diagnosis as soon as you are able so that you can make the necessary WorkCover claim for your injuries and any loss of income.

Occupations with high elbow injury risks

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Some occupations are at a higher risk of workplace injury due to the nature of the work undertaken. The occupations with high elbow injury risks include:

  • Office workers - Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) for office workers are commonplace, and many office workers will suffer tendon pain which can be caused by incorrect or overuse of your keyboard or mouse.
  • Warehouse workers - Working in a warehouse can cause elbow injuries through working above head height, overextension, RSI, trauma, sprains and tears.
  • Trades and labour - Being on the tools can cause serious injury to the elbow, whether the injury is caused through trauma to the elbow with a cut or strike injury, or an injury that is suffered over time such as RSI or due to the vibration of tools.
  • Factory workers - Any profession where there is a repetitive hand/arm movement can result in elbow injury over time. Factory workers are often required to perform the same duty for extended periods of time which can cause or aggravate an elbow injury.

Workplace elbow injuries are painful and difficult, but with the right treatment you will be on track to getting back to work as safely as possible. WorkCover claims and common law claims for negligent workplace conduct can ensure you have access to the financial support you need to recover in the best possible way for your current and future health.

How much compensation for an elbow injury?

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When calculating the amount of compensation payable for an elbow injury, the amount is reached by taking into account the following factors:

  • Loss of income or wages due to the injury (both past and future)
  • Medical expenses and reasonable treatment
  • The cost of potential future surgery
  • Pain and suffering

If you have suffered an elbow injury that is permanent, you will also be able to claim for a permanent impairment which is calculated by considering the type of injury you have suffered, and making a payment for the total impact the injury has on your life.

Time limits for elbow injury compensation

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Personal injury claims for elbow injuries generally need to be commenced within three years of the date you suffered your injury. There are also specific times frames which apply to injuries which have been suffered in the workplace, and injuries that occurred in a public place.

You can read more about the time limits for particular situations here, or contact our personal injury lawyers today to find out more about the process of making a claim for an elbow injury.

It is helpful to speak to a lawyer as soon as you are able so that you know where you stand in regard to making a claim. You do not want to miss the opportunity of being able to make a claim for your elbow injury due to running out of time.

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