Spinal Injury Claims
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage caused to the spinal cord from trauma which can result in lack of function, mobility and/or feeling in certain parts of the body. Spinal injuries are often serious conditions which have long term implications that not only directly affects the sufferer but also those close to them. The effects on each individual can be varied and will depend on the severity of the injury.
Up to 1200 spinal injuries occur every year in the UK and it is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 people managing the effects of a spinal injury. According to statistics, those deemed most at risk are people aged between 15 and 25. Medical advances coupled with patient management at the scene of an injury mean survival rates have improved however, injuries still often result in permanent paralysis requiring the need for a wheelchair on a full time basis and very often meaning a return to work is not an option.
Types of paralysis
Paraplegia is when a person’s lower limbs are paralysed as a result of a spinal cord injury and Quadriplegia (or Tetraplegia) is when all four limbs are affected. ‘Complete’ injuries is a description used for when total loss of sensation and movement occur below the level of the injury and ‘incomplete’ injuries is a term used when there is partial loss; these can vary greatly with no two cases identical. When outlining the specific type of paralysis medical experts will often use the following terms:
- Quadriplegia, incomplete
- Paraplegia, complete
- Paraplegia, incomplete
- Quadriplegia, complete
The majority of spinal injuries result from a broken neck or broken back which causes damage to the spinal cord inside the spinal column. This type of injury is more commonly referred to as a ‘traumatic’ spinal cord injury. traumatic Spinal cord injuries account for the majority of SCI’s.
Common Causes of Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury And Spinal Injury Claims
- Road traffic accidents remain the major cause of traumatic spinal cord injury worldwide. There is a diverse number of ways a road traffic accident can cause a spinal injury, with one of the primary causes being whiplash in a vehicle collision.
- Motorbikes travel at high speed and when they collide with large moving objects like trucks or coaches, this can result in different parts of the spine being damaged. For example, the lumbar spine area (the lower part of the spine) can suffer acute damage if seriously jolted.
- Sporting injuries also contribute to the figures with over 92 % of sporting spinal cord injury ending in Quadriplegia. Common sports in which this type of injury occurs are rugby, horse riding, diving (the most common), skiing, wrestling and surfing.
- Work place accidents – if your job requires a high level of physical activity then you are more at risk than others. Cracked vertebrae or slipped discs often occur in this type of working environment.
- Falling or tripping accidents can also end in spinal injury, particularly in the elderly.
- Medical/ clinical negligence spinal injuries are also not unheard of. Mistakes during operations can occur whether the procedure is routine or not and may give cause to claim compensation through spinal injury claims.
In addition to traumatic spinal cord injuries there is also the non-traumatic spinal cord injury. This happens in the following instances:
- Interruption of blood supply to the spinal cord
- Spinal Nerve infection
- Pressure on the spinal cord because of cysts or tumours
- Congenital medical conditions affecting the make-up of the spinal cord
Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries and Spinal Injury Claims
The level of compensation to which you may be entitled will depend on the nature and severity of the spinal injury suffered. Generally, the amount of compensation for this type of personal injury is at the higher end of the scale because of the seriousness of the injury and the likelihood of serious long-term implications and costs, e.g. on-going rehabilitation or house modifications. Other complications can also arise as a result of this type of injury including problems caused to the function of the bladder, bowel or sexual performance and these will increase the level of compensation.
Any compensation rewarded should mirror (as much as is possible) the level of distress and affliction endured and any future losses likely, e.g. adaptation of a home, transport costs and lack of earnings.
Our understanding and experienced team aim to get you as much compensation as possible but we also appreciate the often difficult and differing circumstances a spinal cord injury claim can bring. We will do our utmost to assist you where needed, whether that be giving details of specific related charities and support groups or pointing you in the right direction for benefits advice.
It is advisable that you make your claim with us at the earliest opportunity to increase the chance of a positive outcome for your spinal injury claim.