Spinal Injury Claims
Spinal injuries are among the most severe and traumatic injuries a person can suffer. Damage to the spinal cord places huge risks to a person’s ability to move, work and carry out activities. Often, the injury requires a complete change in lifestyle and can put an end to someone’s career. The impact extends to their family, who may have to provide significant support. In short, spinal injury claims for compensation require people who know the law like experts.
No amount of compensation can reverse a spinal injury, but a claim can help you to live as rich a life as possible. Our spinal injury claims solicitors handle serious injury cases like these every day and know exactly what it takes to maximise the compensation awarded.
What is a spinal injury?
A spinal injury is any injury that affects the spine or the spinal cord, a long, fragile tube-like structure that passes signals between the brain and the body. Injuries range from fractures, sprains and herniated discs to the total severing of the spinal cord. Some injuries will allow almost complete recovery. Others will result in complete paralysis.
The effects of a spinal injury depend on whether and where the spinal cord is damaged and whether the injury is “complete” or “incomplete.”
A complete injury is where the spinal cord has been severed, cutting off the nerve signals that ordinarily pass from the body to the brain. A person with a complete injury will lose all muscle function, movement and sensation below the level of the injury. This type of injury is the most severe as no recovery is expected.
The two most common complete injuries are tetraplegia and paraplegia. Tetraplegia involves the paralysis of the legs, arms, stomach and chest muscles, which typically means no use of the body from the neck down. Complete tetraplegia is the most severe and debilitating type of spinal injury.
Paraplegia involves the paralysis of legs and perhaps the stomach. The injured person may not walk again, but arm and upper body function is usually maintained. After rehabilitation, a person with paraplegia can usually remain independent with the use of a wheelchair for mobility.
At present, there are no effective treatments for complete injuries to the spinal cord and, therefore, no “cure.” Around 50,000 people live with paralysis in the UK according to the Spinal Injuries Association.
An incomplete injury is where the spinal cord is only partially severed. The injured person usually retains some muscle function, sensation and/or movement below the level of injury, for example, they may be able to flex the knee or hip. People experience incomplete injuries in different ways such that some people may have feeling, but little movement. Others may have movement but little or no feeling.
If the nerves are not too badly damaged, it may be possible for them to grow again. An incomplete injury may improve dramatically through rehabilitation.
Other spinal injuries
It is possible to fracture, crush or herniate the spine without damaging the spinal cord. These injuries may take several months to heal and may require surgery or the use of a back brace in some instances. In most cases, however, the injury will not result in the permanent loss of movement.
What are the causes of spinal injury claims?
Spinal injuries are usually the result of a direct trauma to the spine, for example, a road traffic accident or criminal assault. The failure to diagnose or manage medical conditions such as scoliosis or cauda equina syndrome can also cause or exacerbate spinal injuries and give rise to a claim based on medical negligence.
The following is a list of the most common causes of spinal injury claims.
Accidents at work spinal injury claims
If the accident occurred while you were at work then your employer may be responsible for your injuries. All employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means they must take reasonable steps to keep you safe in the workplace. This duty of care is enshrined in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and various health and safety regulations.
If your employer failed to ensure that your working environment was safe, for example, by carrying out risk assessments, maintaining machinery, providing safety equipment and providing adequate training, then the Court may decide that they have behaved negligently. Negligence opens up the possibility of a compensation claim.
By law, every employer must carry Employer’s Liability Insurance to protect them against the risk of lawsuits. It is the insurance company, and not the employer, who will pay any compensation that is due.
Accident on the road spinal injury claims
Car crashes, motorcycle accidents, cycling accidents and being knocked over by a car have the potential to cause serious trauma to the body, which may result in a spinal injury. If the other road user behaved negligently, then you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Whatever the type of road accident, it will help your solicitor tremendously if you can supply full details of the accident such as the details of any witnesses, details of the police report and evidence of the medical attention you received. Your solicitor will use this and other information to build a strong case and open settlement negotiations with the motorist’s insurance company.
Medical negligence spinal injury claims
If your spinal injury occurred during a medical procedure, then you may have been the victim of medical negligence. These types of claims are particularly complex, so it is important that you hire an experienced spinal injury claims solicitor to pursue your claim against the NHS or private doctor.
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare complication associated with certain types of back injury. It can develop whenever the nerves at the end of the spinal cord become pinched or compressed. The nerves must be surgically decompressed within 48 hours, otherwise, the patient may experience irreversible damage to their legs, bladder, and bowels.
Cauda equina syndrome is difficult to diagnose since it comes on very quickly and the symptoms – back pain, numbness and muscle weakness – could be associated with any number of medical conditions. A medical negligence claim may arise where the syndrome was misdiagnosed but a reasonably competent doctor would have made a correct diagnosis.
Sporting accident spinal injury claims
Playing sport can often lead to spinal injury, with horse riding, skiing/snowboarding and rugby being some of the worst culprits. Proving a sports-related spinal injury claim is difficult since it is assumed that all sports come with a degree of risk built-in.
If the injury was caused by another person’s negligence, then it may be possible to make a compensation claim. Examples include faulty equipment, poorly maintained pitches, dangerous training techniques, or a blatant disregard of the rules by referees.
How will making a spinal injury claim help me?
The main purpose of making a compensation claim is to secure a sum of money that will assist with your rehabilitation or, where the injury is permanent and life-changing, to allow you to live as independently as possible for the rest of your life. A serious spinal injury may mean that you are no longer able to work in order to pay the mortgage and other household bills. You may need to create a bedroom and shower room on the ground floor of your home, or you may need lifelong assistance with activities such as dressing or travelling. Compensation can help reduce some of the financial concerns that are associated with these adaptations.
At The Compensation Experts, we believe that securing the best possible rehabilitation as soon as possible after the injury is essential if you are to achieve the best possible outcome for your injuries. Where possible, we try to obtain some of your compensation early in order to fund your medical treatment, home adaptations and other expenses. These are known as “interim payments.”
We can also help you navigate the benefits system and make sure that you claim the welfare payments to which you are entitled.
Spinal injury claims payouts
Compensation awards can vary dramatically depending on the type and seriousness of your injury. In broad terms, you will receive enough money to enable you to enjoy roughly the same standard of living you would have had, if your accident had never happened.
Personal injury compensation is broken down into two main elements:
Compensation for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life, known as “general damages.” The Judicial College regularly publishes a set of guidelines which outline suggested compensation amounts for various types of spinal injury; solicitors, insurers and judges use the Guidelines to calculate the final payout. By way of example, tetraplegia is recommended to receive general damages of between £262,350 and £326,700, whereas a minor back injury is recommended to receive anywhere between £1,000 and £10,000.
Serious spinal injuries can leave many injured people feeling anxious or depressed. The Courts recognise this, and generally will award additional compensation for the psychological aspect of your injuries.
Compensation for financial losses. This includes any wages you have lost during your recovery, travel costs, medical expenses, home adaptations and other out-of-pocket expenses. Some Claimants require full-time personal care for the rest of their life following a spinal injury, so the amount of compensation for medical costs and personal care costs can be significant. “Special damages” can also include an amount for the loss of future wages if you are unable to return to work, calculated from the date of your accident until your expected retirement age.
Damages can be paid as a one-off lump sum, or they can be spread across a number of years depending on your own personal needs. We will always talk you through the options and help you select the type of settlement that may suit you best.
How long will the claim process take?
Spinal injury claims tend to be more complex than other types of personal injury claims, simply because your injuries are longer-lasting and more medically complex. Cases involving spinal cord injury and paralysis may take up to three years to conclude, but this can depend on whether the other side denies liability or whether they admit the claim.
Clearly, it is not ideal if the claim drags on. At the Compensation Experts, we aim to secure the maximum level of compensation in the shortest possible timeframe. We also work hard to secure interim payments for you wherever possible.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Normally you have three years from the date of your accident, or the date that you became aware of your injury, to make a spinal injury claim. For claims made on behalf of children, the three-year limitation period does not start running until the child’s 18th birthday.
Spinal injury claims can take a long time to put together since there may be a number of medical and other experts to consult. It is a good idea to consult a specialist spinal injury claims lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to make sure there is plenty of time to prepare your claim.
Next steps for making a spinal injuries claim
If you or a family member has sustained any type of spinal injury, telephone us now on 0808 250 4996 for advice. Our specialist spinal injury claims advisors will be happy to answer your questions and talk you through the process of making a claim. We do not charge for dealing with initial enquiries and will never pressurise you into making a claim that you may be unsure about.
If we consider that you have a strong claim, then we would be pleased to represent you on a No Win, No Fee basis. In simple terms, this means that if you lose your case, you will not have to pay us anything. If you win your case, then our success fee will come out of your compensation at the end of the claim. We will explain to you in detail how No Win No Fee works when you contact us about your claim.
Need some help?
Am I eligible?
If you have been harmed physically in the last 3 years, due to someone else’s negligence, the short answer is yes.
Exceptions to this are for instance industrial disease or if you were a child at the time of the accident you may have a longer period to claim.
How much could I claim?
As every injury is different, the amount of compensation paid out can differ case to case. Varying factors lead to the final figure include: extent of your injuries, earnings missed out on, future losses and more.
Our dedicated team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim for.
How does the process work?
We understand that when making a claim it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it. That’s why we make the process as transparent & clear as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and will notify the negligent party that you wish to begin claim proceedings. With your solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be keep up to date every step of the way.
Why should you use us?
No Win No Fee
We assess all claims on a No Win No Fee basis, then we can determine how successful a claim is likely to be. This service is 100% free.
We assess each claim on its merits with the information provide, which aids us determine its likely success rate.
Our dedicated panel are experts in securing compensation no matter the injury.
Our personal injury lawyers are committed to securing the best possible outcome for you while providing expert support every step of the way.
Personal Dedicated Solicitors
Each client is provided with their own Personal Injury lawyer who will work on the case from start to finish, being there every step of the way. The client will be provided with a direct phone number and direct email address of the lawyer.
Expert spinal injury claims solicitors working for you
We specialise in helping victims of injury claim the compensation they deserve.
We work on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning if we don’t win your case you don’t pay! Once you make contact, our experienced team will work to recover the maximum compensation you are entitled to.