By Danielle Nicholson. Last Updated 2nd August 2023. If you’re enduring the after-effects of a spinal cord injury, it may be a painful experience, both physically and emotionally. But the experience may be even harder should it be the result of an accident where someone else holds responsibility. And if that’s the case, then you may wonder what you can do about it. Well, you could look at making a claim for compensation against a negligent third party. However, in order to hold a valid claim the party, you hold responsible will need to have an applied duty of care for your safety. This may sound complicated. That’s why we have this handy guide for you to read.
You can contact our friendly team as soon as you wish to discuss a claim. If our advisors can see that your case has a chance of a successful outcome they may connect you with a personal injury lawyer. To speak with an advisor, you can call 0161 696 9685 or complete our online contact page.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Claiming For A Spinal Cord Injury
- What Is A Spinal Cord Injury?
- How Can You Suffer A Spinal Cord Injury At Work?
- A Spinal Cord Injury In A Public Place
- How Can You Suffer A Spinal Cord Injury In A Road Traffic Accident?
- Spinal Cord Injury Claims – Gathering Evidence
- How Are Spinal Injury Claims Valued?
- What Are Special Damages?
- Case Study: £1 Million For A Spinal Cord Injury
- Claiming For A Spinal Injury With A No Win No Fee Solicitor
This guide details what a spinal cord injury is, as well as typical symptoms and the potential recovery time. Next, we clarify the criteria on which you can make a successful claim due to the negligence of a third party. After that, we examine the three main areas where a spinal cord injury could occur that may result in a claim. Then, after we discuss compensation calculators, we provide our in-depth sample case study. Also, we break down the benefits of No Win No Fee Agreements. And we round things off by answering some of the most common questions that relate to a spinal cord injury.
Personal Injury Claims Time Limit
Claimants who have valid spinal cord injury claims must ensure they start proceedings within the relevant time limit. The Limitation Act 1980, states that you will have three years to start a personal injury claim from the date of the accident that injured you.
This time limit can work differently under certain circumstances. For example, if a child suffers a spinal injury, then the time limit is paused until their 18th birthday. Before that day arrives, a spinal injury compensation claim could be made on the child’s behalf by a court-appointed litigation friend. If a claim has not been made before the child’s 18th birthday, the injured party will have three years to start their own claim from that date.
If the injured lacks the mental capacity to start a claim on their own, the three-year time limit is indefinitely suspended. A litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. However, if the injured party later regains sufficient mental capacity to make a claim, they will have three years to start a claim from the date of recovery if one hasn’t already been made.
Contact our advisors online or on the phone today if you want to ask questions about time limits or other related matters, such as potential back injury compensation payouts.
The spinal cord is technically nerve tissues that run the length of your spine. From the base of the skull to the bottom of the back. A spinal cord injury refers to any damage to the spinal column. This could include the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Such an injury could bring about significant challenges for the victim due to the injury potentially being life-changing. The vertebrae hold the body together through its 33 bones across the breadth of the spinal cord. The vertebrae are there to protect the spinal cord. If there was damage done to the spine this could easily have an impact on the spinal cord.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury could include; bladder and bowel difficulties, along with problems for sexual function and sexual sensitivity. There may also be stinging within the nerves, as well as breathing issues. Pain may be an issue. However, those who suffer spinal cord injuries may lose use in their mobility. Spinal cord damage could cause paralysis or quadriplegia. This can have devasting consequences for the patient as they may no longer be able to function as they did before the damage.
The recovery time can vastly alter depending on the needs of the injured party. A spinal cord injury is very serious. Recovery may not be known straight away. The healing time maybe weeks to months, maybe even years. Paralysis due to a spinal cord injury may become permanent. Hence why this particular injury could change the victim’s life dramatically. To talk about how to claim compensation for a spinal cord injury, read on or call us at any time.
Now, in order to successfully claim compensation for your spinal cord injury, negligence has to be the cause. What do we mean? Well, it’s the careless actions, or lack of actions, from a third party who owes you a duty of care which defines negligence as the reason for an injury. To break down the criteria even further:
- A third party owed you some duty of care;
- But somehow this was breached, which led to an incident taking place;
- And that accident left you hurt, with one example being that you suffered a spinal cord injury.
This could potentially happen due to a workplace accident. In that scenario, we’re talking about employer’s liability (EL) and an employer’s duty of care to handle worker wellbeing. That comes under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. But an accident at work, such as you falling off a faulty ladder and suffering a spinal cord injury, potentially represents negligence. Accidents could happen in all sorts of scenarios, but what if it was totally preventable; perhaps the ladder was deemed unfit for safe usage, but those in charge chose not to replace it. That’s one example where negligence is the reason for a lack of prevention of the accident. And this could pave the way for you claiming compensation. Please contact our friendly team if you wish to learn more information.
It may be that you suffer your spinal cord injury via an accident in a public place. Those who are in control of public spaces are liable if a visitor is injured through their negligence. This is known as public liability. The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 handles the duty of care to protect people using public lands at all times. And there may occasionally be moments where a user is hurt by their own making. But injuries in public places due to sheer negligence provide a pathway towards a compensation claim.
In this case, an example could be that you fall down the stairs while out shopping due to a handrail that is in need of maintenance. Those controlling the public space could be considered to have acted with negligence. And if you suffer multiple injuries in the process, you might look at filing a multiple injury claim. Call us via the number that you can see above if you have any questions.
Perhaps the most frightening scenario for a spinal cord injury is a road traffic accident (RTA). A car crashing into a vehicle out of nowhere could change the victim’s life instantly without their foreknowledge. And if the instigator is found to have driven recklessly, thus breaching the duty of care stated by the Highway Code that pertains to all road users, the victim may be eligible to claim compensation. These are just some of the many ways that someone might suffer a spinal cord injury resulting in a claim. Use our 24/7 Live Chat service to enquire in further depth.
If you are seeking spinal injury compensation, you must collect sufficient evidence to support your case. This must show that when the liable party breached their duty of care, you suffered an injury.
Some examples of evidence that could be useful in a spinal injury claim include:
- The contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident that caused your injury so they can provide a statement later in the claiming process.
- Photographs from the accident scene.
- Videos of the accident, such as from CCTV.
- A copy of your medical records that state the nature of the injury you suffered and any treatment you needed.
If you need any help obtaining evidence, contact our advisors for free advice about spinal cord injury claims. They can also check your potential claim, and if it seems valid, you could be connected to one of the No Win No Fee solicitors from our panel.
A vital part of the claims process is for you to undergo a medical assessment. This medical check allows a doctor to thoroughly examine every aspect of your spinal cord injury. Along with the ongoing symptoms and the potential medication, the appointment covers the potential recovery time where applicable. Of course, for an injury resulting in paralysis, it’s about being able to handle the subsequent lifestyle changes. And the medical evaluation could also confirm the accident as the primary cause of your injury.
The subsequent evidence is used to form a settlement for your potential compensation. A solicitor if you have appointed one will use the medical report to come to a value for your injury. They don’t use the guesswork of an online personal injury claims calculator. Instead, by prioritising you and placing your circumstances as the focus, the payout value becomes more accurate.
As for the overall settlement itself, it divides into two parts: general damages and special damages. General damages handle the immediate consequences on a physical and mental level. The pain itself is key, along with the other symptoms that we mentioned earlier. Any suffering that comes about due to your pain and lifestyle changes due to paralysis are also factors. As is a loss of mobility and independence, and not to mention psychological trauma as well. Speak to us if you wish to know more.
Special damages focus on the secondary impact of the spinal cord injury. They could include the following:
- Loss of income from being unable to work, perhaps only receiving statutory sick pay (SSP);
- Medical bills;
- Public transport requirements;
- Home/car renovations to accommodate your paralysis if this becomes a consequence of the injury;
- Hiring a nurse/carer to look after you;
- And hiring professionals to handle any chores at home.
We can provide further context to each of these; just get in touch and we can explain things from there.
Mr Walsh, 45, worked as an IT specialist. He was well-respected within his community, and he had made a significant impact during his time in the office.
One afternoon, he was driving to work. Out of nowhere a car from the oncoming traffic swerved into his lane, hitting his car head-on. Mr Walsh’s car was completely crushed. Witnesses feared that Mr Walsh would be severely injured. They called the emergency services straight away.
An ambulance arrived, and Mr Walsh had to be cut out of the car. Mr Walsh was airlifted to the local A and E department.
After several scans and x-rays, it was confirmed that he has suffered a serious spinal cord injury due to fractures to the vertebrae. Emergency back surgery was carried out on Mr Walsh. After the surgery, it became clear that he was paralysed from the neck downwards. The doctor said that they would have to wait and see how much mobility would return in the future. During that time, he hired a nurse to look after him so that his wife could continue her job.
Mr Walsh could no longer work. The doctors confirmed he condition as a case of tetraplegia. And he was going to have bowel problems moving forward pending further surgery.
All of this left Mr Walsh extremely upset and frightened. He had no idea how he would cope with this disability. Due to the sheer careless actions of another road user, his life had changed dramatically.
The Compensation Settlement
Mr Walsh spoke to a personal injury solicitor. They highly recommended that he pursue a claim for compensation. So, Mr Walsh followed this advice, and he received a compensation settlement of £1 Million. This comprised general damages of £305,000 plus special damages.
|Type Of Special Damages
|Lost earnings from being unable to work up to retirement
|Additional physiotherapy and other treatments. Mostly provided through NHS
|Costs of using public transport for journeys
|Costs of hiring a nurse to look after him during his rehabilitation
|Gardener, Cleaner, Dog walker, Child minder etc
Note: This is an example case study based on our experiences of past personal injury cases. It has been illustrated to examine the case of a road traffic accident spinal cord injury.
A No Win No Fee policy may be the best way to protect a claimant’s financial interests if appointing a personal injury solicitor. That’s because the No Win No Fee solicitor only requires payment for their own legal costs if the client receives compensation. The payment comes in the form of a success fee that is a one-off amount. This has a legal cap to ensure that the client doesn’t lose a significant percentage of their compensation.
But this assumes that the victim receives compensation for their spinal cord injury. If their case is unsuccessful, then they don’t have to make this payment to their personal injury solicitor. Hence why the nominal amount is a “success” fee; if the case isn’t a success, then there is no fee to pay the solicitor. And in either scenario, the client doesn’t pay their personal injury solicitor up-front or while the case remains active. Want to know more about No Win No Fee agreements? Speak to us today and we can break down this topic further. To contact our helpful team, you can:
More Resources And Guides On Spinal Cord Injuries
We hope you have much more knowledge about claiming compensation for a spinal cord injury after reading this guide. Nevertheless, we always want to make sure you have as much detail as possible. Therefore, along with the information above, you can also take a look at these six links which are below.
We begin with our contact page if you wish to speak to an advisor ASAP.
Next, we look into claiming after suffering a spinal cord injury at work.
And we talk about making a claim after suffering an assault at work.
As for the NHS, they delve into what you can expect after suffering a spinal cord injury.
They also break down their various services specifically for those with spinal cord injuries.
And they’re also covering back injuries as a whole.