Sun 21 Nov 2021

The Value of an Ankle Injury

Damage to the ankle is one of the most common injuries, particularly following a slipping or tripping accident. Our ankles support the full weight of our bodies, and so it's not surprising that these injuries can be very painful and often take at least several months to heal.

If you injure your ankle, like any other part of your body, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. In order to be successful in recovering compensation, someone else must be at fault for your accident. This may be an individual, a business, or a public body. For instance, if you injured your ankle as a result of falling downstairs in your place of work, you may be entitled to make a compensation claim against your employer provided there was a fault with or damage to the stairs which caused you to fall.

Types of Injuries

The ankle is a large joint in the foot which is made up of three bones: the shin bone, known as the tibia; the thinner bone running beside the shin bone, known as the fibula; and the foot bone that sits above the heel bone, known as the talus. The ankle joint allows for the up-and-down motion of the foot, so an injury to this joint may seriously impact mobility potentially leading to long-term problems with movement.

There are a range of ankle injuries that can be sustained, often as a result of slipping and tripping. The most common includes sprains and fractures. A sprain is when damage is sustained to one of the ligaments in the ankle, often from an accidental twist of the foot. Some sprains can be serious and may take several weeks to heal. A fracture is a break in any of the three ankle bones, and the rehabilitation process is typically much longer than that of a sprain. Damage to the ankle can, in some cases, lead to osteoarthritis.

Injuries can also result in damage to the calcaneal tendon, or as it is more commonly known, the Achilles tendon.  This is band of fibrous tissue that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body and is commonly injured along with the ankle. Most Achilles tendon injuries occur through sporting accidents or following a slip or trip.

What can you claim for?

If you have suffered an ankle injury, the amount of compensation a court may award you will depend on the severity of the injury and the impact it has had, and will continue to have, on your life. Some of the factors the court will look at when assessing the level of compensation are:-

  • The degree of pain experienced and the length of time it takes to make a full recovery;
  • The impact of the injury on your everyday life and the long-term impact it will have. This includes the ability to continue to work or take part in hobbies and activities previously enjoyed;
  • Wage loss, both past and future, and whether any services have been required by family and friends;
  • The extent of the treatment required, particularly whether surgery was needed; and
  • Whether there was a pre-existing ankle problem and the extent to which this was exacerbated by the accident.

What could your claim be worth?

Our experienced personal injury solicitors will be able to quantify the various factors and establish how much you are likely to receive in compensation.

Morton Fraser's Compensation Calculator is a handy guide which can provide you with an indication of the value of your injury. It is based on the Judicial College Guidelines which take account of recent court decisions and serve as a reference point for lawyers when considering compensation. The recommended awards for ankle injuries are set out below.

  • Minor soft tissue injuries not requiring surgery where a full recovery is made within a year would likely result in an award between £4,690 and £6,560.
  • Less serious fractures and sprains that result in some permanent scarring, aching, loss of movement, or the possibility of long-term osteoarthritis may be awarded up to £11,730.
  • More significant injuries which result in some permanent disability, such as difficulty walking or standing, may be valued at between £11,730 and £22,680.
  • Serious ankle injuries requiring an extensive period of treatment, such as the need for pins and plates or special footwear would attract an award of between £26,710 and £42,710. The court would make awards at the higher end of the scale where there was a serious impact on employability and the injury led to osteoarthritis.
  • The most serious ankle injuries which cause life-changing disabilities, such as those that cause deformity or the need for below-knee amputation, may be awarded between £42,710 and £59,480.
  • An injury to the Achilles Tendon, depending on the severity of the injury and the rehabilitation period, may result in an award between £6,200 and £32,780.

Case Study

We have successfully recovered damages in a number of cases where individuals suffered ankle injuries.  Recently, a significant sum was recovered on behalf of our client who suffered an accident at work.  Our client had been assisting with loading metal beams onto a trailer when he fell between the beams, resulting in a crush injury to his leg including a fracture to his tibia and fibula.  The impact of the injury on our client's life was significant as he sustained permanent damage which continues to impact his mobility.  The injuries mean that he is not physically able to return to the job he previously carried out, resulting in substantial loss of earnings.  In addition to the physical symptoms experienced by our client, he also experienced mental health issues as a result of the trauma which he also required to be compensated for.

Who is the claim against?

Who is liable to pay compensation will depend upon the circumstances of the accident and who is to blame for your accident occurring.  Many ankle injuries are caused as a result of slipping or tripping in a public place. For example, if you trip while crossing the road due to a pothole, the Council who are responsible for maintaining that road may be liable. You may also be entitled to make a claim for medical negligence if your ankle injury is due to a surgical error, delayed treatment or misdiagnosis. Morton Fraser's Personal Injury Team has extensive experience in pursuing all types of claims and we can provide you with advice on who is liable to pay compensation once we have discussed the facts and circumstances of your claim.

What next?

The above guidelines and our Compensation Calculator provide an initial indication of the values a Court may award for the 'pain and suffering' you have endured but do not take into account other  losses such as assistance you required following your accident, the cost of medical treatment, past and future wage loss, pension loss and any other expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident. Each individual case must be considered on its own facts and circumstances. Our experienced Personal Injury team will take the time to assess your claim and can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today on 0131 247 1000 or through our personal injury compensation enquiry form.

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