Spinal Injury

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Expert legal advice for complex claims

Suffering a spinal injury or spinal cord injury can be life-changing.

Spinal injuries and spinal cord injuries frequently cause loss of muscle control and paralysis, including tetraplegia and paraplegia, with the result that tasks most of us take for granted often become difficult or impossible.

Those who suffer from such injuries also often feel a loss of independence as they become much more reliant on those around them for care and assistance.

Experienced Spinal Injury Solicitors

Thompsons’ team of serious injury solicitors has extensive experience in dealing with claims for compensation involving spinal injuries and spinal cord injuries.

We aim not only to secure the maximum amount of compensation for you or your loved one, in the shortest possible time but also to help and support you and your family in rebuilding your lives.

We are familiar with the specific difficulties and challenges faced by spinal injury and spinal cord injury sufferers. For example, we know that mobility is often an issue, and so our specialist solicitors are happy to come to your home or the hospital if you want to know more about making a claim for compensation or to answer any queries you may have.

Talk to Thompsons today.

The Cost of Spinal Injury 

According to research published by Spinal Research, a UK charity, based on 2016 pricing, the average lifetime cost of a serious spinal injury is £1.12 million. Furthermore, the researchers estimated that serious spinal injuries cost the public purse around £1.43 billion a year.

Of course, every injured person's situation and needs will be different. However, one thing is certain, the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term home and residential care, can quickly mount up, meaning that is essential for any person affected by a serious spinal injury to take legal advice regarding their possible entitlement to compensation.

Compensation For Now and Going Forward

Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland are committed to ensuring that claimants receive compensation for their past, present and future losses and needs.

As such, we instruct experts to help calculate the costs burden of every aspect of your post-accident existence. This includes determining likely sums for the following:

  • Specialised equipment: for example, wheelchairs and hoists.
  • Home modifications: for example, ramps and enlarged doorways.
  • Transport costs: for example, specialised vehicles or taxi costs.
  • Domestic help: for example, cleaning, cooking and other day-to-day care.

Future Medical Risks

Spinal injuries do not always follow a lineal or predictable progression of improvement or deterioration. This is why it may be important to secure initial settlement for known injuries while at the same time reserving the right to make a claim at a future date for any worsening or complication related to your spinal injury.

For example, if you initially suffer from paraplegia but later develop a more serious tetraplegia spinal injury, you will need to ensure that you have enough money to meet your needs as they develop. This is why we may reserve the right to return to court to make a claim for worsened symptoms arising from the initial injury.

For more information about types of spinal injury, click here.

Rehabilitation - Early Intervention, Long-Term Benefit

Securing the best possible rehabilitation from an early stage is likely to have long-term benefit for an individual's level of independence and life quality post-injury.

Examples of the kinds of treatments you can secure through a spinal injury compensation settlement may include the following:

  • Physiotherapy: Privately-funded spinal injury physiotherapy rehabilitation treatments include balance, strength, mobilisation and stretching programmes, alongside breathing work, postural and gait re-education, sensory stimulation, and wheelchair-specific physiotherapy assistance. A compensation claim can help spinal injury patients access dedicated physiotherapy services more quickly and may result in additional time, resources and expertise being made available.
  • Speech and swallowing rehabilitation: It is common for individuals with spinal injury to experience difficulties speaking and swallowing. Dedicated speech and swallowing rehab can assist in the rehabilitation of these functions.
  • Neurogenic bowel and bladder management: Spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on bowel and bladder function and this can have serious implications for independence, quality of life, and reintegration into the community. An individualised approach to bowel and bladder management during rehabilitation is extremely important for long term benefits.
  • Functional assessment: Expert help assessing function in the home environment to assist with the provision of further rehabilitation and specialist equipment. Can include exploration of treatments and therapies unavailable on the NHS.
  • Spasticity management: Muscle spasticity can occur following spinal cord damage as messages from the brain relating to muscle contraction and relaxation become imbalanced. This results in increased stiffness of the muscles, making movement difficult and loss of range of movement. Therapies that can help include FES, injection therapy, orthotics, physiotherapy and various other treatments depending on the symptoms.
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES): This treatment involves small electrical charges being applied to the muscle/muscles affected by paralysis or weakness, stimulating the muscle to make its usual movement.
  • Injection therapies: Facet injections, nerve root blocks and epidurals are all pain management and treatment therapies suitable for spinal injury patients. Injection therapy is less invasive than surgery and can be used to alleviate pain and as an alternative to open surgery.
  • Orthotics: An orthotist can assist the rehabilitation process by designing and fitting orthotic footwear to reduce foot drop and aid walking for ambulant spine injury patients.
  • Occupational Therapy: To develop ways to manage daily living skills such as feeding and drinking, dressing, washing and housekeeping. Occupational therapists can help to identify specialist equipment and systems that might enable greater independence for the patient alongside identification of long-term rehabilitation goals such as returning to employment. The occupational therapy team will play a role in any assessment for equipment needs and home adaptations.
  • Community skills: Help managing and rehabilitating the claimant's reintegration into the community.

The above list is by no means exhaustive and the treatment and rehabilitation of each spinal injury patient will depend on their individual circumstances.

Psychological and Mentor Support

It is easy to forget that psychological support can sometimes be just as important as physical support. As such, Thompsons Solicitors works to ensure that when appropriate claimants receive sums for psychological rehabilitation such as psychotherapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychiatry.

Spinal Injury Claims - The Process

How do you make a spinal injury claim?

While this is unlikely to be the first question you and your family will have following your injury, it is an extremely important one. Naturally, your first areas of concern will be related to health, rehabilitation and worries over how the bills are going to be paid. But all these issues will be covered as part of your claim.

Click on the links below to find out more.

Following a serious spinal injury, it is likely you will need substantial financial support. A personal injury compensation claim can help you achieve the sums you deserve. However, it is vital that you are represented by a team of accident claim solicitors who are experienced in this, complex, high-value field.

Thompsons, Solicitors for Serious Spinal Injuries

Thompsons Solicitors work to ensure that all aspects of your needs are accounted for in your compensation settlement. In many cases we are able to do this without going to court. However, whenever necessary, we are prepared to take your claim to the courts and to litigate robustly on your behalf.

For more information about how Thompsons can help you and for details of our No Win, No Fee agreement, contact us today.

Spinal Injury Compensation Claims

There are a number of items that could be included when making a claim for compensation following a spinal or spinal cord injury. These include:

To find out more, you can Talk to Thompsons on 0800 0891 331 and talk things through with one of our expert spinal injury lawyers.

Spinal Injury FAQs

A spinal injury is any injury which involves damage to the spinal cord and/or the vertebrae. Such injuries often result in impaired function of limbs.

Sustaining a spinal injury can have life-altering consequences, often leading to paralysis and requiring the claimant to go through a long period of rehabilitation as they must readjust to living with their injury and its debilitating effects.

The exact effects of the injury will depend on its location along the spinal cord. The severity of spinal injuries vary greatly and they are usually classified as either complete or incomplete. An incomplete spinal injury means that some motor or sensory function below the injury is retained, while a complete injury means there is no function below the injury.

Spinal injury claims have the same statutory time limit as all other personal injury claims, which is three years from either the date of the incident or the date that claimant became aware of the injuries resulting from the accident. If the victim has lost mental capacity, then the three years will not start until they regain capacity or are discharged from any mental health services.

Different rules apply to children, as they are not able to make a claim themselves until they reach adulthood. Regardless of the age they were when the accident happened, the three year time limit will not begin until they reach 16. However, a litigation friend can make a claim on their behalf before they reach 16.

If the claimant dies while in the process of making a claim, then the three years restarts from their date of death, allowing their loved ones to continue with the claim on their behalf.

Yes. The expert team at Thompsons comprises some of the best personal injury solicitors in the country. We are confident that we can achieve justice for you and your family, and our confidence is reflected in our No Win No Fee package. If we do not win your case, you won't have anything to pay.

There is no single answer to this question since all cases are different and the amount of damages awarded will be based on the extent of the injuries suffered and the effect it will have on their future life.

The key factor that will affect the court's decision is the extent of your injury and how much it has impacted your life in terms of pain and suffering. This is referred to as solatium or general damages. This includes the loss of the physical and mental capacity to do things you could do before the accident, which is called loss of amenity.

The total award will also include other sums for your financial losses. These are known as special damages or patrimonial loss. For instance, as a result of the accident you may be out of pocket due to a loss of income, high treatment costs, care expenses, and expensive equipment.

In the event of the victim's death, anyone who was financially dependent on them, such as their children or surviving spouse, can claim for loss of support.

With severe spinal cord injuries that have led to paralysis, the amount awarded for solatium will probably be in the range of £73,700 to £130,130. The award for a more moderate injury can amount to considerably less, but it will depend on the level of disability the injury has caused and how the future of the victim will be affected.

A claim for spinal injuries suffered as a result of a workplace incident will typically be covered by the employer's liability insurance. Employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement for any business that has one of more members of staff.

If the injury was suffered in a road accident, then the motor insurer of the liable party will be required to pay any damages awarded. If the motorist responsible does not have insurance, the claim will be covered by the Motor Insurers' Bureau.

If your accident happened in a public place, then any compensation awarded will be settled through the owner's public liability insurance.

We have various funding options available to our clients. We have developed a No Win No Fee package which means when you make a claim with Thompsons you do not have to worry about fees and charges. If your claim is successful, then a portion of your compensation will be used to cover legal fees. But if your claim is unsuccessful, you won't pay a penny. We will discuss the details of this with you from the outset of your claim.

The vast majority of personal injury cases reach a settlement before having to go to a final court hearing. It is usually in the interest of all parties to settle the claim without litigation. However, because the effects of a spinal injury can be very serious and the compensation sums awarded may be significant, it's more likely that the case will go to court than lower value cases.

Thompsons solicitors will be at your side throughout the process, helping you to understand and cope with the whole procedure. But even if your case does go to court, there is no need to worry about incurring high legal fees when you make a claim with Thompsons. Our No Win No Fee Solicitors package will help ensure your protection against all legal costs and financial risks.

We understand that due to your injury, you may not be able to make the journey to one of our Scotland offices. In this case, we are happy to arrange a home visit with you.

To give your case the best chance of succeeding, we will need to gather as much information as possible to support your claim.

If possible you should provide the following:

  • The date of the accident
  • Where the accident happened
  • The contact details of any witnesses for statements
  • The details of your injuries and medical records
  • Any evidence that could support your claim, such as workplace health and safety documentation or photographic evidence taken at the scene of the accident

If your injury was due to unsafe work conditions, then a health and safety investigation may well be carried out to establish whether your employer is negligent. In this case, an HSE prosecution may also follow.

You may be worried that you are partially responsible for the accident and this will affect your chances of receiving compensation. For instance, you may not have followed every one of your workplace's health and safety guidelines, such as wearing the required safety equipment at all times, and this contributed to the extent of your injury. While this may affect the amount of compensation you're entitled to, you should not let this prevent you from making a claim – it is still likely that the majority of the blame lies with the other party.

There is a difficult legal test that the other party must meet before they can fairly place part of the blame on you. They must prove that your actions amounted to negligence and not just a slip in attention. If they are able to do this, then it will be up to the courts to decide your percentage of liability. Your award will then be split in accordance with this percentage.

So, if it is determined that the accident was 50 per cent your fault, then you will receive half of the total damages you would otherwise be entitled to.

Because of the serious nature of most spinal injuries, it is often the case that the claimant will require compensation as soon as possible after the incident so that they can start the rehabilitation process. Waiting until the case is settled, which can take a number of years, is simply not possible for the victim and their family. Whenever appropriate, Thompsons can help you receive an interim award that can pay for essential care and equipment while a final settlement is still being calculated. Our solicitors will help make sure you receive a fair interim award that will cover all the necessary expenses.

We want to ensure that our clients get the best possible treatment available so that it is easier for them to adjust to their injuries. Treatments for spinal injuries are available on the NHS, but these are limited and may not meet all the needs of the victim.

For instance, if you've suffered paralysis, then you'll probably need a wheelchair. The NHS will be able to provide one free of charge, but it will not be a sophisticated model. For a better model, that will give you more mobility, you will be required to pay some or all of the cost yourself.

Receiving a fair interim payment will mean you'll be able to choose a suitable wheelchair quickly and therefore get on the best road to recovery as soon as possible. This is why we believe receiving interim payments is essential in spinal injury cases.

With Thompsons Solicitors making a spinal injury compensation claim is as straightforward as it can be at this difficult time. Call us today to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We will be able to give support, advice, and guidance throughout the process.

Yes. Many of our claimants live in other areas of the UK as well as abroad in locations such as France, South Africa and Australia. If you lived or worked in Scotland before you moved away, you can bring a claim for compensation in the usual way.

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