What are the types of spinal injury?
Spinal injuries tend to fall into two categories: complete or incomplete. Complete spinal injuries are the more severe of the two, incorporating complete paraplegia and complete tetraplegia. In these cases, the damage to the spine is great enough to cause permanent loss of function below the area of injury.
Complete paraplegia is caused by injury to the middle (thoriac) or lower (lumbar or sacral) regions of the spinal column. The devastating effect of this injury is the complete loss of function of the legs, but the arms tend to remain unaffected.
Complete tetraplegia is the most serious form of paralysis, and is a result of trauma to the spinal cord in the neck area, known as the cervical region. Tetraplegia results in complete loss of function not only in the legs but the entire body including the arms. The closer the injury to the cervical region, the more severe the paralysis will be.
Complications following a spinal injury
In addition to the risk of partial or complete paralysis, there are a number of other complications that can arise from a spinal injury. One of the most common secondary complication is the development of urinary and bowel problems. This most often affects the function of the bladder and it is vital that appropriate action is put in place to manage this distressing condition.
Another common complication of spinal injury is respiratory complications. The extent of this complication will be determined by the severity of the spinal injury. symptoms can range from coughing to severe respiratory problems, which can lead to other complications including pneumonia and respiratory failure.
Muscle spasticity is a very common consequence of spinal injury. It is where the muscles involuntary contact, resulting in tightness and limited movement. At its most severe, it can cause severe pain as well as substantial loss of function and mobility. Early diagnosis and treatment is vitally important to avoid chronic problems.
Our team of specialist lawyers have the experience and knowledge to understand the potential effects of these complications and to take appropriate steps to ensure they are taken into account as part of the claim.
How do I claim compensation for a spinal injury?
The first step of your spinal injury claim is to establish who was liable for the accident, negligence or attack which caused your injury. The next step is to establish a connection between the incident itself and the injuries sustained. In circumstances such as car accidents, there must be proof that the driver’s negligence directly contributed to the serious injury and that you didn’t already suffer from a form of paralysis prior to the accident. In certain cases, the victim may have also been responsible for their injuries to some degree, for example not fastening a seatbelt while the car was moving. In this circumstance, the ‘contributory negligence’ would be calculated by percentage and subtracted from the total compensation awarded.
Once our specialist spinal injury lawyers have successfully gathered enough evidence, the defendant will be contacted with the details of the claim and a request for compensation; and the defendant can then either accept or deny. If the defendant denies the request, the process will be slightly more complex and may at some stage involve a court hearing. Either way, having a legal expert by your side to guide you through will prove beneficial in securing the compensation you deserve.
How much compensation will I receive for a spinal injury?
Until the severity of your injury and its impacts on your quality of life have been analysed, it’s hard to put an exact figure to the amount of compensation you will receive from your claim. Our spinal injury solicitors will liaise with all the relevant medical professionals in order to put together a ‘schedule of loss’, which determines past and future expenses linked to the injury. This would involve the cost of specialist equipment to facilitate your life, any treatment or rehabilitation costs and even potential expenses such as extra support you may need if you decide to go on holiday. With our expert team of spinal injury lawyers, you can rest assured that no stone will be left unturned in your claim, and we will fight to ensure that your quality of life is the best it could possibly be under the circumstances.
How we can offer additional support
We fully understand the devastating effect that a serious spinal injury can have on you and your family. We will be by your side at every step of the way to help you through this difficult time. In addition to the obvious physical pain and restriction, we recognise the difficulties that can arise from an inability to work and earn an income, the problems with attending medical appointment, issues over child care or looking after elderly relatives.
As a priority, we will seek to engage with the insurers of the person responsible for the injury, to secure their agreement to provide funding for appropriate help and support, whether this involves funding treatment on a private basis, paying for the costs of therapists as part of the rehabilitation process, paying for specialist equipment or providing carers to meet day to day needs. Unfortunately it is not always possible for the NHS and the local authority to meet the needs of sufferers of a spinal injury due to a lack of resources. We strive to ensure that our clients have access to the best possible treatment and rehabilitation funded by the responsible party.
Financial concerns may arise, especially if the injury prevents the sufferer from working, and this is an additional stress at an already difficult time. We will make every effort to secure an early interim payment from the person responsible, or their insurers, to cover the loss of earnings incurred as a result of an absence from work. We will take steps to ensure that an entitlement to state benefits is protected and our clients are able to access statutory services, where available.
Severe spinal injuries can often have long term consequence and can cause a prolonged period of absence from work. Putting in place high quality and appropriate rehabilitation will help to promote the earliest return to work that is possible. We also recognise the emotional effects of long term spinal injury and we will ensure that this aspect of the injury is properly investigated and where necessary, suitable therapy and support is provided.
As part of the claim process, our specialist spinal injury lawyers will instruct medical experts and non-medical experts to provide evidence in support of the claim. This will include experts in the fields of spinal surgery, psychology, occupational therapy, care and nursing, physiotherapy, accommodation and employment/vocational experts. These experts will not only provide evidence on which we can value the claim but make recommendations to assist us in providing additional support to you and your family.
We value the importance of face to face contact with our clients in order to develop a strong, supportive relationship. We are happy to meet with our clients in their home address across the country and to meet on a regular basis to discuss medical and other developments, including the progress of the claim.
As a full-service law firm, IBB is able to offer our client’s expert advice on other areas of law that may arise following a serious spinal injury. We have lawyers who are experts in employment law, wills and trusts, property and family law who will be abler to offer advice on related issues.
Contact IBB's Spinal Injury Lawyers
With vast experience in the field of serious injuries, our solicitors understand the complexity and severity of a spinal injury. That’s why we’ll always work to ensure that you get the care, support and compensation you deserve. For more information or to speak to one of our specialist spinal injury solicitors to begin your claim, please call us on 0333 123 9099 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.