Leg injuries caused by an accident at work
If you have an injury that affects your legs, hips, knees or ankles it is known as a "lower limb disorder". In the workplace, these may be caused by either overuse or repetitive strain, or through impact as a result of an accident.
Accidents in the workplace such as slips and trips, falls from height, or an accident involving dangerous machinery or tools often result in leg injuries of varying severity.
Most serious are those accidents that cause or require an amputation, but fractures and dislocations and ruptures to tendons and muscles may also have long term impact on an employee’s life. Sprains and strains may also lead to employees needing time off work to recuperate.
Lower limb disorders caused by overuse
There is evidence to suggest that there are several disorders of the lower limb that can be work-related. These conditions include hip and knee osteoarthritis; knee bursitis, meniscal lesions/tears; stress fracture/reaction injury and varicose veins of the lower legs.
Osteoarthritis occurs in the joints when the cartilage becomes damaged or worn. Miners, floor layers and cleaners have a significantly increased risk of knee arthritis.
Knee bursitis, also known as housemaid’s knee - when the knee becomes swollen with fluid from the joints causing pain and restriction of the movement of the knee - is caused by repetitive kneeling or knee straining activities. Beat knee or hyperkeratosis is an acute and extreme form of bursitis.
Bending or twisting the knee while bearing a load may cause meniscal lesions or damage to occur. Repetitive squatting or kneeling may also cause meniscus injury or damage.
Athletes or military personnel may sustain stress fractures and reaction injuries through regular pounding of the feet through running or marching.
Varicose veins are any dilated subcutaneous veins of the leg, which cause feelings of heaviness, a sensation of swelling of the legs, night-time calf cramps and restless legs. Prolonged standing may increase the symptoms.
Workers may also experience lower limb pain, aching and numbness without a specific disorder being identified. It is possible to claim compensation even in the event that no specific diagnosis is made, and the medical professional conducting your exam will attempt to fully describe your condition and the likely causes and duration of symptoms.
What to do if you have a leg injury at work
Accurate medical records
If you have sustained a serious injury or one that needed urgent medical attention, you will probably have already seen a doctor or visited A&E.
You should ask for a copy of your medical report, and check that the report correctly describes your injuries. If some injuries are missing from the report, or the report suggests the injuries are less serious, it can be more difficult to claim the full compensation you are entitled to.
Find out more: Key things you need to do when getting medical help for a work injury
Make your own notes of what happened
It is much easier to gather information like names and contact details of witnesses and photos of the accident scene if you act quickly. If your leg injuries has stopped you from easily collecting these details, you could ask a friend or colleague to help.
Find out more: Gathering evidence after a work injury - checklist
Reporting a leg injuryWhen you report the accident, you should give as much information as you can about what happened, and about any injuries you have suffered.
If you remember anything about the accident after the report is filed, you should notify your employer in writing (e.g. by email).
Can I claim for a leg injury?
You may be able to claim if you were injured in an accident at work, or if you have developed an occupational illness due to your working conditions. You must have started you claim within three years of the accident.
Financial support after a leg injury
You should be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In some cases, you may be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). ESA is available to workers who have made National Insurance contributions in the last two years and is also available if you are self-employed.
In addition, you may be entitled to make a claim against the company's employers' liability insurance for injury compensation.
How will my employment status affect my right to claim?
The claims process for full-time workers is generally simpler than for self-employed contracts or agency workers, but you should still be able to claim compensation.
Read more about claiming if you are:
How much leg injury compensation could I claim?
Injury compensation is worked out using an official table of guideline amounts. More serious injuries (including those which will have a significant impact on someone's life and ability to work) will be awarded more compensation.
Compensation amounts for serious leg injuries will generally be high, including amputations, multiple fractures, degloving and where there is a permanent loss of movement.
During the claims process, your solicitor will arrange for an assessment of your injuries to determine which guideline amounts to apply.
You can also claim for lost earnings, property damage and other costs, like travel expenses and the cost of adjustments to your home.
No win, no fee leg injury claims
When you instruct a solicitor at the start of the claims process, you will sign a conditional fee agreement (CFA). The CFA will set out how the solicitor is paid.
Specifically, under a CFA, you solicitor will only be paid if they win your leg injury claim. If your claim is not successful, there will be no legal fees to pay.
Our work injury advisors will:
- Offer free, impartial advice
- Explain how No Win, No Fee works
- Recommend the right solicitor