Fourth edition Published on 4th March, 2013

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  1. Neck Injuries

There is a very wide range of neck injuries. Many are found in conjunction with back and shoulder problems.
The assessment of damages for whiplash injuries requires particular care. Allegations of such injuries are easily made and not easily disproved. The medical experts are reliant on the honesty of plaintiffs. The evidence relating to such a claim requires careful scrutiny. It is for the plaintiff to prove the existence and the nature and extent of the injuries. Exaggerated claims may call into question the very existence of whiplash injury. They may also result in the court being unable to be satisfied on the evidence as to the nature and extent of the alleged whiplash injury. Where the court is not satisfied on a balance of probabilities of the existence of a whiplash injury there will be no award. Where the court is not satisfied on a balance of probabilities that the injury is of the nature and extent alleged the court may be left without any credible evidence on which to base an award. The court should make its findings of fact on the issues of:
(i) Whether a whiplash injury was sustained; and
(ii) If so, the nature and extent of the injury. The court should avoid simply making a small award to avoid the necessity of making its findings on (i) and (ii).

  1. Neck injury associated with incomplete paraplegia or resulting in permanent spastic quadriparesis or where despite the wearing of a collar 24 hours a day for a period of years, the neck could still not move and severe headaches have proved intractable.

£120,000 – £300,000

  1. Injury falling short of the disability in (a) above but being of considerable severity, e.g. permanent damage to the brachial plexus.

£75,000 – £150,000

  1. The injury is such as to cause severe damage to soft tissues and / or ruptured tendons and results in significant disability of a permanent nature.

£35,000 – £105,000

  1. Injuries and fractures or dislocation causing severe immediate symptoms or necessitating spinal fusion leaving significantly impaired function or vulnerability to further trauma, pain and limitation of activities.

£42,000 – £75,000

  1. Whiplash or wrenching-type injury and disc lesion of the more severe type, which may result in cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent or recurring pain, stiffness or discomfort, the potential need for further surgery or increased vulnerability to trauma.

£24,000 – £50,000

  1. Relatively minor injuries which may or may not have exacerbated or accelerated some pre-existing unrelated condition but with, in any event, a complete recovery within a few years. This bracket will also apply to moderate whiplash injuries where the period of recovery is fairly protracted and where there is an increased vulnerability to further trauma.

£10,000 – £25,000

  1. Minor soft tissue and whiplash injuries and the like where symptoms are moderate and full recovery takes place within, at most, two years.

To £12,000

(h) Minor neck injuries
This bracket includes minor soft tissue injuries. Whilst the duration of symptoms will always be important, the level of award will also be influenced by factors such as:

  • the severity of the neck injury;

  • the intensity of pain experienced and the consistency of symptoms;

  • the presence of additional symptoms in the back and/or shoulder and/or referred headaches;

  • the impact of the symptoms on the injured person’s ability to function in everyday life and engage in social/recreational activities;

  • the impact of the injuries on the injured person’s ability to work;

  • the extent of any treatment required;

  • the need to take medication to control symptoms of pain and discomfort.

(h) (i) Where a full recovery takes place within a period of about one to two years. This bracket will also apply to short-term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries, usually between one to two years.

£5,000 – £12,500

(h) (ii) Where a full recovery takes place within a period of several months and a year. This bracket will also apply to very short-term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries, usually less than one year.

£3,000 – £5,000

(h) (iii) Where a full recovery is made within a period of a few days, a few weeks or a few months.

£500 – £3,000

  1. Back and other Upper Body Injuries

  1. The most severe of back injuries which fall short of paralysis but the results of which include, e.g. impotence.

£120,000 – £245,000

  1. Special features exist which take the particular injury outside any lower bracket applicable to orthopaedic damage to the back, e.g. impaired bladder and bowel function, severe sexual difficulties and unsightly scarring.

£55,000 – £115,000

  1. Serious back injury, involving disc lesions or fractures of vertebral bodies where, despite treatment, there remains continuing pain or discomfort, considerations affecting the level of award may include: - impaired agility and sexual function, depression, personality change, alcoholism, unemployability and the risk of arthritis.

£50,000 – £92,000

  1. Permanent residual disability albeit of less severity than in the higher bracket. This bracket contains a large number of different types of injury; for instance

  1. a crush fracture of the lumbar vertebrae with risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain and discomfort and impaired sexual function

  2. traumatic spondylolisthesis with continuous pain and risk of spinal fusion

  3. prolapsed intervertebral disc with substantial acceleration of back degeneration.

£28,500 – £50,000

  1. Moderate Back Injuries

A wide variety of injuries qualify for inclusion within this bracket. The precise figure depends upon the severity of the original injury and / or the existence of some permanent or chronic disability.

£14,000 – £42,000

  1. Minor Back Injuries

This bracket includes injuries such as sprains, strains and soft tissue injuries which are less serious. As with minor neck injuries, whilst the duration of symptoms will always be important, the level of award will also be influenced by factors such as:

  • the severity of the original injury;

  • the degree of pain experienced and the consistency of symptoms;

  • the presence of any additional symptoms in other parts of the anatomy;

  • the impact of the symptoms on the injured person’s ability to function in everyday life and engage in social/recreational activities;

  • the impact of the injuries on the injured person’s ability to work;

  • the extent of any treatment required;

the need to take medication to control symptoms of pain and discomfort.

(f) (i) Where a full recovery or a recovery to nuisance level takes place without surgery within about two to five years. This bracket will also apply to shorter term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries, usually between two to five years.

£10,000 – £25,000

(f) (ii) Where a full recovery takes place without surgery within a period of several months and two years. This bracket will also apply to very short-term acceleration and/or exacerbation injuries, usually less than two years.

£3,000 – £15,000

(f) (iii) Where a full recovery is made within a period of a few days, or a few weeks or a few months.

To £4,000

  1. Fracture of a rib or several ribs with, at the upper end, disturbance of the intercostal margin with a number of weeks of acute discomfort followed by good recovery. See also 6 (g) above.

To £15,000

  1. Fracture of sternum.

On-going symptoms depending on severity, duration and prognosis may attract damages in excess of this sum.

To £15,000

  1. Injuries to Pelvis and Hips

  1. Extensive fractures of the pelvis involving, e.g. dislocation of a lower back joint and a ruptured bladder or a hip injury resulting in spondylolisthesis of a low back joint with intolerable pain necessitating spinal fusion. Substantial residual disabilities, such as a complicated arthrodesis with residual lack of bowel and bladder control, sexual dysfunction or hip deformity necessitating the use of a calliper, will be inevitable.

£90,000 – £150,000

  1. Less serious injury to hip or pelvis but with particular distinguishing features taking them out of any lower bracket.

£60,000 – £110,000

  1. Less Complicated Injury to the Hip or Pelvis

£50,000 – £80,000

A variety of injuries fall within this bracket, such as a fracture of the acetabulum leading to degenerative changes and leg instability requiring an osteotomy and the likelihood of hip replacement surgery in the years ahead; or the fracture of an arthritic femur or hip necessitating the insertion of a hip joint; or a fracture resulting in hip replacement surgery being only partially successful with a clear risk of a need for revision surgery.

  1. Injuries to pelvis interfering with natural childbirth and requiring Caesarean Section:

(i) Where no previous children

£27,500 – £42,500

(ii) Where previous child or children

£20,000 – £35,000

  1. Significant injury to the pelvis or hip but where any permanent disability is not major nor any future risk great.

£24,000 – £58,000

  1. Relatively minor hip or pelvic injuries with no residual disability. In this category minor soft tissue injury not involving the bone with complete recovery over a period of weeks or months will attract an award of up to £10,000.

Up to £20,000

  1. Amputation of Arms

  1. Loss of Both Arms

The high figure would normally apply where the arms are lost at the shoulder region.

£280,000 – £500,000

  1. Loss of One Arm

The value of a lost arm depends upon:

  1. Whether it is amputated below or above the elbow. The loss of the additional joint obviously adds greatly to the disability.

  1. Whether or not the amputation was of the dominant arm.

  1. The intensity of any phantom pains

(1) Arm amputated at the shoulder

£125,000 – £175,000

(2) Above elbow amputation
A shorter stump may create difficulties in the successful use of a prosthesis. This will make the level of the award towards the top end of the bracket. Amputation through the elbow however will normally produce an award at the lower end of the bracket.

£92,000 – £140,000

(3) Below elbow amputation

Amputation through the forearm with residual severe organic and phantom pains would attract an award at the upper end of the bracket.

£75,000 – £115,000

  1. Other Arm Injuries

  1. Severe Injuries

Injuries which in terms of their severity fall short of amputation but which are extremely serious in their own right and leave the Plaintiff little better off than if he had lost his arm.

£92,000 – £125,000

  1. Injuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement

Examples are serious fractures of one or both forearms where there is significant permanent residual disability whether functional or cosmetic.

£42,000 – £70,000

  1. Less Severe Injury

While there will have been significant disabilities, a substantial degree of recovery will have taken place or will be anticipated.

£14,000 – £42,000

  1. Simple Fractures of the Forearm

To £14,000

  1. Shoulder Injuries

  1. Serious Injury

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 with forearm and hand and weakness of grip. The higher level would be appropriate where there is damage to the brachial plexus resulting in significant disability. This does not include injuries which fall more properly under loss of arm which is dealt with at para. D sub-para. (b) above.

£20,000 – £75,000

  1. Moderate Injury

Frozen shoulder with limitation of movement and discomfort with symptoms persisting for some years.

£10,000 – £25,000

  1. Minor Injury

(i) Simple fracture of clavicle with good recovery

To £11,500

(ii) Soft tissue injury to shoulder with considerable pain but almost complete recovery in less than one year.

To £10,000

  1. Injuries to the Elbow

  1. A Severely Disabling Injury

£35,000 – £70,000

  1. Less Severe Injuries

These injuries lead to impairment of function but do not involve major surgery or significant disability.

£14,000 – £35,000

  1. Moderate or Minor Injury

Most elbow injuries fall into this category. They comprise a simple fracture, tennis elbow syndrome and lacerations; i.e. those injuries which cause no permanent damage and do not result in any permanent impairment of function.

To £14,000

  1. Wrist Injuries

  1. Injuries resulting in complete loss of function in the wrist. Deformity may increase the award depending on severity.

£35,000 – £72,500

  1. Injury resulting in significant permanent residual disability.

£28,000 – £58,000

  1. Less severe but still permanent disability as, e.g. persisting pain and stiffness.

£17,500 – £42,000

  1. Where recovery is complete.

The appropriate position in the bracket will depend on such factors as:

  1. the nature and extent of the original injury

  2. the treatment required,

  3. the time taken to achieve a full recovery

  4. the effects on the injured party.

To £14,000

(e) An uncomplicated Colles’ fracture.

To £7,500

(f) 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 up to 12 months or so.

To £6,000

  1. Hand Injuries

Of the arm, the hand is both functionally and cosmetically the most important feature. The loss of a hand is valued close to the amount which would be awarded for loss of an arm. The upper end of any bracket will generally be appropriate where the material injury is to the dominant hand.

  1. Total Effective Loss of Both Hands

Serious injury resulting in extensive damage to both hands.

£210,000 – £350,000

  1. Serious damage to both hands giving rise to permanent cosmetic disability and significant loss of function.

£85,000 – £175,000

  1. Total or Effective Loss of One Hand

This bracket will apply to a hand which was crushed or 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.

£70,000 – £120,000

  1. Amputation of index, middle and / or ring fingers, rendering hand of very little use with exceedingly weak grip.

£57,000 – £115,000

  1. Serious Hand Injuries

For example, loss reducing hand to 50% capacity with, e.g. several fingers amputated and rejoined to 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 disfigurement.

£60,000 – £110,000

  1. Severe fractures to fingers with partial amputations resulting in deformity, impairment of grip, reduced mechanical function and disturbed sensation.

£35,000 – £70,000

  1. Total Loss of Index Finger

£28,000 – £42,000

(h) Moderate Hand Injury

This is a broad category which will include crush injuries penetrating wounds soft tissue type injuries and deep lacerations. The top of the range would be appropriate where there is loss of sensation and scarring, permanent disability and surgery has failed.

£15,000 – £60,000

(i) Partial loss of index finger or injury giving rise to disfigurement and impairment of grip or dexterity.

£17,500 – £35,000

(j) Minor Hand Injuries

Where recovery occurs within a short period the award will be significantly lower. Pain and reduction in functional use will be relevant aggravating features.

Up to £15,000

(k) Fracture of Index Finger

This level is appropriate where a fracture mended quickly but grip has remained impaired, there is pain on heavy use and osteoarthritis is likely in due course.

To £14,000

(l) Total Loss of Middle Finger

£20,000 – £35,000

(m) Total loss of both Ring and Little Fingers

£28,500 – £50,000

(n) Amputation of Ring and Little Fingers

To £30,000

(o) Serious Injury to Ring or Middle Fingers

£14,000 – £28,000

(p) Total loss of little finger

The little finger is the main contributor to effective grip in the hand and has a greater functional importance than might be thought.

£20,000 – £35,000

(q) Loss of terminal phalanx of the ring or middle fingers.

£10,000 – £20,000

(r) Loss of part of the little finger where the remaining tip is unusually sensitive.

£8,000 – £14,000

(s) Amputation of the terminal phalanges of the index and middle fingers with further injury to the fourth finger, scarring and restriction of movement with grip and fine handling impaired.

£20,000 – £35,000

(t) Fracture of one finger with complete recovery within a few weeks.

To £4,000

(u) Total Loss of Thumb

£35,000 – £60,000

(v) Very Serious Injury to Thumb

£30,000 – £50,000

(w) Injury to thumb involving amputation of tip, nerve damage or fracture necessitating insertion of wires, and operative treatment leaving limb cold and ultra-sensitive, or leading to impairment of grip and loss of manual dexterity.

£20,000 – £35,000

(x) Moderate Thumb Injuries

£14,000 – £25,000

(y) Severe Dislocation of the Thumb

To £12,500

(z) Minor Thumb Injuries

Such as a minor dislocation or sprain or laceration with or without some minor functional sequelae.

To £10,500

  1. Work-related Upper Limb Disorders

This section covers a range of upper limb injury in the form of the following pathological conditions from finger to elbow.

  • Tenosynovitis. Inflammation of synovial sheaths of tendons usually resolving with rest over a short period. Sometimes it leads to continuing symptoms of loss of grip and dexterity.

  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. A form of tenosynovitis, rarely bilateral, involving inflammation of the tendons of the thumb.

  • Tenovaginitis stenovans. Otherwise trigger finger / thumb: thickening of tendons.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. Constriction of the median nerve of the wrist or thickening of surrounding tissue, often relieved by decompression operation.

  • Epicondylitis. Inflammation in the elbow joint: medial (golfer's elbow), lateral (tennis elbow).

The various levels of award below apply to each such condition. The following considerations affect the level of award regardless of the precise condition:

  1. Bilateral or one-sided

  1. Level of symptoms (pain, swelling, tenderness, crepitus)

  1. Ability to work

  1. Capacity to avoid recurrence of symptoms

  1. Continuing bilateral disability with surgery and loss of employment.

£17,500 – £42,000

  1. Continuing symptoms, but fluctuating and unilateral.

£14,000 – £28,000

  1. Symptoms resolving over two years

£8,000 – £11,000

  1. Complete recovery within a short period

To £8,000

  • Cases of Vibration White Finger

(This is not an orthopaedic injury)

This is a particular form of Raynaud’s phenomenon caused by prolonged exposure to vibration.

  1. Extensive blanching of most fingers with episodes in summer and winter of such severity as to necessitate changing occupation to avoid further exposure to vibration.

£17,500 – £28,000

  1. Blanching of one or more fingers with numbness. Usually occurring only in winter and causing slight interference with home and social activities.

£10,000 – £17,000

  1. Blanching of one or more fingertips, with or without tingling and numbness.

To £10,500

  1. Leg Injuries

  1. Total Loss of Both Legs

£245,000 – £385,000

  1. Below Knee Amputation of Both Legs

£170,000 – £325,000

  1. Above Knee Amputation of One Leg

£170,000 – £245,000

  1. Below Knee Amputation of One Leg

£115,000 – £200,000

  1. Leg Injuries

  1. There are some injuries which, although not involving amputation of the leg, are nevertheless so severe that the courts have awarded damages in the same region.

Examples would be a degloving injury from knee to ankle, gross shortening of the leg, non-union of fractures and extensive bone grafting.

£82,500 – £210,000

  1. Awards within this bracket will be made where the injuries leave permanent disability necessitating the use of crutches for the remainder of a person’s life with very limited walking capacity; where multiple fractures have taken years to heal with resulting leg deformity and limitation of movement; or where arthrosis has developed in e.g. the knee joint and further surgical treatment is likely to be necessary.

£82,500 – £175,000

  1. A claim may be brought within this bracket by reason of some factors such as significant damage to a joint or ligaments causing instability, prolonged treatment or a lengthy period of non-weight bearing, substantial and unsightly scarring, the likelihood of arthrodesis to the hip, the near certainty of arthritis setting in, the gross restriction of walking capacity and the need for hip replacement. A combination of such features will be necessary to justify such an award.

£64,000 – £130,000

  1. This level of award still applies to relatively serious injuries, including severe, complicated or multiple fractures. The position of an award within this bracket will be influenced by the period of time off work and by the presence or risk of degenerative changes, imperfect union of fractures, muscle wasting, limited joint movements, instability of the knee, unsightly scarring and permanently increased vulnerability to damage.

£42,000 – £100,000

  1. Most awards that fall within this range comprise fractures where there has been incomplete recovery.

Examples are:

A defective gait, a limp, impaired mobility, sensory loss, discomfort or an exacerbation of a pre-existing disability.

£20,000 – £57,500

  1. Simple fracture of femur, with no damage to articular surfaces.

£11,000 – £20,000

  1. Simple fracture of the tibia or fibula with complete recovery will attract a figure towards the top of the bracket. Below that level will be a variety of different types of soft tissue injuries, lacerations, cuts, severe bruising or contusions all of which will have recovered completely or almost completely, with any residual disability comprising scarring or being of a minor nature.

To 14,000

  1. Knee Injuries

  1. This bracket is appropriate to the serious knee injury where there has been disruption of the joints, gross ligamentous damage, lengthy treatment, considerable pain and loss of function and an arthrodesis has taken place or is inevitable.

£50,000 – £100,000

  1. This applies where a leg fracture extends into the knee-joint causing pain which is constant, permanent, limits movement or impairs agility and renders the injured person prone to osteoarthritis and the risk of arthrodesis.

£42,000 – £80,000

  1. The injuries justifying awards falling within this bracket are less serious than those in the higher bracket and / or result in less severe disability. There may be continuing symptoms by way of pain or discomfort and limitation of movement or instability and deformity with the risk of degenerative changes occurring in the long term, consequent upon ligamentous or meniscal injury, damage to the kneecap or muscular wasting.

£28,000 – £50,000

  1. This bracket is appropriate to cases involving a torn cartilage or meniscus, dislocation, ligamentous damage and the like or injuries which accelerate symptoms from a pre-existing condition but which injuries additionally result in minor instability, wasting, weakness or other mild future disability.

£20,000 – £28,000

  1. Awards in this bracket will be made in respect of injuries less serious than but similar to bracket (d) or in respect of lacerations, twisting or bruising injuries. Injuries resulting in continuous aching or discomfort or occasional pain will attract awards towards the upper end of the bracket.

To £17,500

  1. Ankle Injuries

  1. Examples of injuries in this bracket include: 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. Bilateral ankle fractures causing degeneration of the joints at a young age necessitating arthrodesis.

£48,500 – £100,000

  1. Awards in this bracket are justified where the ankle injury is severe necessitating an extensive period of treatment and / or lengthy period in plaster or with pins and plates inserted and where there is significant residual disability by way of ankle instability, severely limited ability to walk etc. The position within the bracket will, in part, be determined by, e.g. a failed arthrodesis, regular disturbance of sleep, unsightly operational scarring and any need to wear special footwear.

£42,000 – £85,000

  1. This would include fractures, ligamentous tears and the like, giving rise to less serious disabilities such as difficulty walking over uneven ground, awkwardness on stairs, irritation from metal plates and residual scarring.

£20,000 – £50,000

  1. Less serious, minor or undisplaced fractures, sprains and ligamentous injuries. The position within the scale will be determined by whether or not a complete recovery has been made and if not whether there is any tendency for the ankle to give way, any scarring, aching or discomfort, or the possibility of later osteoarthritis.

To £20,000

  1. Achilles Tendon

  1. Where there has been severance of the tendon and peroneus longus muscle giving rise to cramp, swelling and restricted ankle movement necessitating the cessation of active sports.

£24,500 – £50,000

  1. This figure is appropriate for an injury resulting in complete division of the tendon, followed by a successful repair operation but leaving residual weakness, a limitation of ankle movements, a limp and residual scarring with further improvement unlikely.

£20,000 – £35,000

  1. Complete division of the tendon but with no significant functional disability.

£10,000 – £20,000

  1. Ankle turned resulting in damage to tendon and feeling of being unsure of ankle support.

£7,500 – £15,000

  1. Foot Injuries

  1. Amputation of Both Feet

£170,000 – £340,000

  1. Amputation of One Foot

£120,000 – £210,000

  1. Serious foot injuries such as traumatic amputation of a forefoot when its effect was to exacerbate a pre-existing back problem and where there was a significant risk of the need for complete amputation. Similarly an injury resulting in the loss of a substantial portion of the heel with limited mobility.

£70,000 – £140,000

  1. This level of award is suitable for severe injuries, such as where there have been fractures to both heels or feet with substantially restricted mobility or considerable or permanent pain in both feet. This bracket is also suitable to unusually severe injuries to a single foot which have resulted in heel fusion, osteoporosis, ulceration or other disability preventing the wearing of ordinary shoes.

£65,000 – £128,000

  1. Towards the top end of this bracket would be the injury resulting in grievous burns to both feet requiring several operations but nevertheless leaving disfiguring scars and persisting irritation.

Lower in the bracket are those injuries which are less severe but nevertheless result in fusion of foot joints, continuing pain from traumatic arthritis, prolonged treatment and the future risk of osteoarthritis.

£42,000 – £85,000

  1. This bracket is appropriate for displaced metatarsal fractures resulting in permanent deformity and continuing symptoms.

£20,000 – £40,000

  1. This level of award applies to the relatively modest injuries such as metatarsal fractures, ruptured ligaments, puncture wounds and the like.

Relevant factors will be:

  1. Nature of original injury

  2. Treatment required

  3. Duration of symptoms

  4. Effect on the Plaintiff

  5. Any ongoing problems

To £22,000

  1. Toe Injuries

  1. Amputation of all Toes

£35,000 – £70,000

The position in the bracket will be determined by the extent of loss of the forefoot, and residual effects on mobility.

  1. Amputation of Great Toe

£25,000 – £42,000

  1. 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 continuing significant symptoms.

£20,000 – £35,000

  1. This bracket will apply to serious fractures of the great toe or to crush and multiple fractures of any toes. Permanent disability by way of discomfort, pain or sensitive scarring should be present to justify an award within this bracket. A number of unsuccessful operations, stabbing pain, impaired gait and the like would place the award towards the top end of the bracket.

£14,000 – £35,000

  1. This level of award applies to modest injuries including relatively straight-forward fractures or the exacerbation of a pre-existing degenerative condition.

To 15,000

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