Who is Liable?
In some cases, elbow injuries can create long-term problems and can lead to reduced mobility and movement of the elbow for some time.
It is important to note that claims made for elbow injuries are processed as a personal injuries claim through the Injuries Board. Prior to submitting your claim, it is important to determine who is liable for the injuries you have sustained. This is an important but sometimes confusing first step, one which a solicitor may be best placed to help you with.
In some cases, it can be difficult to determine who is liable as this will vary depending on the circumstances in which the injuries were sustained. The most common places where elbow injuries are sustained are through an accident at work or a slip and fall accident.
Elbow Injuries at Work*
Liability for the majority of accidents at work is placed on the employer. All employers have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of employees during the course of their work. They are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that hazards are eliminated and that the working environment is both safe and practical for the work that is to be carried out. They should ensure that all employees are made aware of the health and safety regulations which are in place as this can help to prevent accidents required to provide employees with the correct training that is needed for them to carry out their jobs correctly. Failing to show a reasonable level of duty of care and acting in a negligent manner could lead to workplace accidents and injuries which an employer could be found liable for.
- Slip, trip or fall in work
- Lack of or defective personal protective equipment needed to carry out your role
- Inadequate training for your role
- No manual handling training
- Lack of tools needed to carry out your role
- Failure to provide a safe working environment
- Inadequate lighting
- Uneven walkways
- Broken handrails in your place of work
- Repetitive strain injury
- Overuse injury
- Falling from a ladder
- Overreaching injuries – usually caused by lack of equipment needed to carry out a role
- The employer fails to provide adequate breaks to employees
Elbow Injuries in a Public Place*
Accidents in a public place are quite common and in many cases, the owner/manager/company occupying the premises is liable for the accident. Public spaces, whether it be shops, public parks or business premises are required to ensure that all potential hazards are eliminated to ensure a safe environment for visitors to that space. If it is found that an accident occurred as a result of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of visitors then they may be found liable. It is important that if there are any accident risks which cannot be dealt with immediately that there are signs in place to make people aware of this, such as a wet floor sign after a spillage or after the floor has been cleaned. This is an important step in helping to prevent accidents. If a member of the public has contributed to the cause of the accident they may be found partly responsible for any injuries which have been sustained.
- Slip and fall on a wet floor where there was no caution sign in places like a supermarket, pub or bar, nightclub, petrol station forecourt or any other business premises
- Spillage that was not cleaned up or not cleaned up in an appropriate timeframe – these are most likely to happen in shops, supermarkets, pubs, bars and nightclubs
- Uneven surfaces
- Poorly maintained paths and public facilities – in public parks or playgrounds for example
- Broken or absence of handrails needed for balance
- Tripping on obstacles left on the floor such as cables from electrical units or boxes left in walkways
- Inadequate lighting
Breaks and Fractures
In some cases, breaks and fractures can be quite serious and can cause damage to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL). This can be a long-term injury which can cause pain and discomfort to the elbow for some time. The main cause of this injury is trips and falls or sports injuries. In more serious cases, surgery may be required for a broken elbow.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
This is a disorder which causes pain and discomfort in the tendons of the upper body. RSI is very common among those who may be carrying out repetitive tasks over an extended period of time. This injury can cause chronic pain and discomfort for those affected. Common symptoms include pains and aches and a tingling sensation and weakness in the injured area.
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
This is caused by movements which repetitively stretch tendons and it affects the tendons on the outer side of the elbow. Tennis elbow symptoms can include pain and discomfort in both the arm and elbow and may also cause limited movement of the elbow. This is a common overuse injury which may be caused in many different circumstances.
This injury is characterised by pain in the elbow down to the wrist on the inside of the elbow. This is caused by damage to the tendons which allow movement of the arm.
Bursitis is the name given to the injury when the bursa becomes inflamed. The bursa acts as a cushion between the bones, muscles and tendons. Common symptoms can include swelling of the affected area and a feeling of stiffness in the arm. The most common cause of bursitis is carrying out repetitive activities which put pressure on the elbow and arm.