Spinal Injury Compensation Claims Explained
By Daniel Archer. Last Updated On 31st March 2022. Spinal cord injury claims are a course of action that you may be interested in if you’ve suffered an injury to your spine through no fault of your own.
Suffering an injury to the spine can be debilitating, impacting mobility and brain function. If the injury happened because another party breached their duty of care to you, it may be possible to make a claim under personal injury law for spinal injury compensation.
There are many costs associated with an injury to your back or spine. As well as the cost of treating the issue, there is also the loss of earnings you might have experienced and the emotional suffering you have endured.
In situations where another person’s negligence has caused this pain, these costs could be taken into consideration and compensated in the form of a personal injury claim. This guide is designed to provide information for anyone considering making such a claim.
If at any point while reading this guide, you’d like free legal advice or would like to pursue a spinal injury compensation award, we can help. Our personal injury claims team is on hand to help. You can reach them in any of the following ways:
- By calling us on 0800 073 8804
- Write to us to claim online about your case
- Or chat with our advisers about making a claim now by using our live chat feature
However, please be wary that spinal injury claims usually have a 3-year time limit within which you must begin legal proceedings if you want to claim compensation. This rule is standard practice for all personal injury claims under the Limitation Act 1980. If you wait too long before you claim, you could risk losing out on the payout you deserve. So, please don’t hesitate to get in touch today.
Select a section:
- A guide to accident claims for spinal injuries.
- What to do if you are involved in an accident causing a spinal injury.
- How to begin a spinal injury claim.
- What can be claimed after an accident causing a spinal injury?
- What bones make up the spinal column?
- The long-term effects of spinal injuries.
- The most common types of spinal injuries.
- Assessing the severity of a spinal injury.
- How much compensation will I get after an accident causing a spinal injury?
- A Spinal Injury Case study.
- No Win No Fee spinal injury compensation claims.
- Why choose us as your claims service for a spinal injury compensation claim?
- Call for free advice and to start a claim.
- Helpful Links
- Spinal Injury Compensation Claims FAQ
This guide is provided to ensure that you are able to make a compensation claim after a spinal injury, particularly if you believe that you are entitled to spinal injury compensation.
The guide will gather together all of the information which you need when considering your personal injury claim. This includes what you should do when you have had a spinal injury, how much spinal injury compensation you could receive as a result of your claim, and why you should choose our company as your Claims Service.
Other topics covered in this guide include what bones make up your spinal column and the specific types of injuries which can occur in this area. We also look at potential long term effects of spinal injuries. We also explain how you may be able to claim for these kinds of injuries on a No Win No Fee basis and what benefits such an agreement can bring.
We’ll also examine the most common types of spinal injury and the ways in which you might be affected by said injury. When considering a spinal injury compensation claim, this information can prove to be essential.
What is a Spinal Injury?
There are 2 different types of spinal injuries; a complete injury and an incomplete injury. Incomplete injuries can result in varying levels of paralysis and disability, whereas complete injuries are uniform in the severe impact that they have. The latter could lead to total loss of movement and sensation in various areas of the body.
The spinal injury you sustain will depend on which part of your spinal cord has been damaged. The spine is made up of vertebrae and nerve tissue, which begins at the base of your head and runs down your back. Therefore, there are various different areas that could become injured.
Regardless of what type of damage you suffered, we could help you make spinal injury claims for the compensation that you deserve. To learn more, please read on or get in touch with our team of specialist advisors today.
If you are involved in an accident that has resulted in a spinal injury, seeking medical care should be your first priority. However, once you have ensured your own safety, you should begin preparing for a potential spinal injury compensation claim. As legal experts, we advise that you start by gathering evidence concerning your accident. So what steps should you follow?
- Firstly, you should gather witness statements from anyone present at the time of the accident. This could include witnesses such as other drivers or pedestrians if your spinal injury occurred as a result of an accident in a vehicle. These statements prevent your version of events from being contested after your claim has been made.
- Secondly, you should find evidence that the accident was a result of negligence on the behalf of another party. Returning to the previous example, this could include an invalid driver’s licence or a disregard for road laws (such as leaving an appropriate amount of space between vehicles on the road) on behalf of another party.
- Thirdly, you should ensure that you have evidence showing the severity of your injury. For example, after your accident, if you were taken into hospital, any test you were given or medical report that was written can act as evidence for the severity of your injury.
The measures you take after your accident, especially gathering information and evidence, can be essential to spinal injury claims. If you want our informed and honest opinion regarding your claim’s chances of success, please get in touch.
Given how debilitating a spinal injury can be, an injury can leave you entirely unsure of what to do next. If you are already considering legal action, then your injuries can seriously undermine your ability to move forwards. This is not only true in a physical sense, but with regards to the complicated nature of the laws involved. This is why we always advise clients to make contact with a law firm when considering legal action. If you wish to begin a claim, this is what we recommend.
As previously mentioned, the first step you need to take is to gather the evidence necessary to support your claim. This could include witness statements, medical reports, and photographic evidence of the accident scene or injuries. Particularly in the cases of accidents that have caused spinal injuries, evidence such as x-ray scans of your spine and long-term physiotherapy reports can be used as compelling evidence.
If you contact our offices, for example, we will help you collate this evidence and provide you with our expert opinion as to whether you have a legitimate claim. We do this by offering all potential clients a free consultation with legal help and support services.
In this consultation session, we will assess how justified that we believe your spinal cord injury claim to be and honestly evaluate the chances of the case being successful. To do this, we will combine our years of expertise in the industry with the evidence that you can hopefully provide.
If, after this consultation, you choose us as your claims service, we can get to work on your case right away. This will involve completing further fact-finding (such as looking at CCTV footage) and even arranging local medical assessments to provide a detailed evaluation regarding the severity of your injury. Once you agree to instruct our spine injury solicitors, we begin to examine the case in the strictest possible detail.
After this, we will present your spinal injury compensation claim to the defendant and gather further evidence. Thanks to our No Win No Fee policy, we won’t charge you legal fees unless your claim is successful.
It’s possible to factor in various financial losses and expenses in any spinal injury claims. These are known as special damages and serve as an additional head of claim on top of general damages, which compensate you for your physical and psychological pain and suffering.
Many people believe that they are only entitled to spinal injury compensation for medical expenses or direct loss of earnings. However, you could claim for a whole manner of costs related to your spinal injury:
- Care at home – the cost of hiring care in your home can be claimed as compensation if your back injury has left you unable to fully care for yourself.
- Rehabilitation – rehabilitation can be a significant long term cost for a back injury victim. It can include visits to a physiotherapist and so on.
- Adapting or buying a new home – for long term injuries, it might be necessary to make modifications to your home (or even call for you to purchase a new home) in order to provide a suitable living environment. These costs can be claimed in this case.
- Medical bills – treatments could include either visits to private practices or even visits to foreign health specialists in the event that such visits are deemed necessary.
There are many different things that you can include within a spinal injury compensation claim. However, as previously mentioned, the amount of compensation that you can receive for any of these costs does still heavily rely on the severity of your injury and the kind of injury that you have suffered.
Before you make your spinal injury compensation claim, you may want to consider the medical and biological aspects of your injury, not just the legal aspects. How could you be expected to make damaged vertebrae claim without the basic biological knowledge needed to know what vertebrae are?
The vertebrae is a collective term referring to the 33 bones that make up the spinal column. These vertebrae can then be separated into 5 distinct categories:
- The first, and most essential, of these categories, is the cervical vertebrae. These 7 vertebrae cover the area of the spinal column in your neck and carry the entire weight of your head. Injuries to these vertebrae are typically extremely damaging and can result in quadriplegic paralysis. This means that a cervical injury claim is usually linked to large compensation amounts.
- The second of these categories is the thoracic vertebrae. These 12 vertebrae cover the upper and middle sections of your back, supporting the ribcage. Injuries to these vertebrae can potentially be deadly, as major damage can result in ribs coming loose and piercing organs within your chest. This also means that a thoracic injury claim will have weight when considering compensation amounts.
- The third of these categories are the lumbar vertebrae. These 5 vertebrae cover the lower area of your back to give support to your upper body. Injuries to these vertebrae are common, especially through heavy lifting, and as such a lumbar injury claim might be less likely to deliver the highest compensation amounts.
- The fourth of these categories is the sacrum vertebrae. These 5 vertebrae connect your lumbar vertebrae with your hips, thereby allowing more freedom of movement. However, this means that they can be easily injured, particularly after a slip, trip or fall claim. This also gives any sacrum injury claim some credence while reducing the average amount of compensation paid out.
- Finally, the fifth of these categories is the coccyx vertebrae. These 4 vertebrae connect your hips with the muscles of your pelvic floor, leaving them difficult to injure severely. However, severe and moderate injury is still possible and can happen, especially after traumatic events such as car accidents.
The inherently traumatic nature of spinal injuries – especially moderate and severe spinal injuries alongside paralysis – leave many sufferers with long-term effects that last for many years after their initial accident.
These long-term effects are essential to your spinal injury compensation claim, as the period of time over which you have suffered heavily affects how your injury will be assessed and thus how much compensation you could receive:
- The most obvious and common long-term effect of spinal injuries is extended periods of intense pain and damage done to the quality of life. These effects can be felt with almost any spinal injury and can cause great stress and high medical costs to you as result.
- However, another major long-term effect of spinal injuries is organ dysfunction, particularly in relation to the kidney and bowels. This effect is not only a financial effect due to long-term rehabilitation and treatment but also a significant psychological effect, particularly when associated with bowel dysfunction, which can cause chronic self-defecation.
- Another long-term effect that is not advertised enough for people who are suffering from spinal injuries is the damage done to bone density. According to the Spinal Cord Injury Zone, your chance of developing bone disorders such as osteoporosis increases significantly after a spinal injury. This can then cause further complications, such as pain and additional accidents.
These types of long-term problems can all be accounted for within spinal injury claims. To find out more, please get in touch with our personal injury claims team.
Spinal injuries are typically categorised into two contrasting groups. These groups are partial spinal injuries and complete spinal injuries, with the latter being more serious. However, the most common types of these two categories must both be acknowledged as part of the information that you should know before making a spinal injury claim:
- The most common type of partial spinal injury that you could suffer from is anterior cord syndrome. This spinal injury involves damage done to the sensory pathways within the spinal cord, leading to coordination and movement troubles. If you are considering making a spinal cord injury claim, take into account that the average spinal cord injury compensation amounts are the smallest of any spinal injury claim.
- The most common type of complete spinal injury that you could suffer from is, contrastingly, quadriplegia. This injury results in varying degrees of paralysis of your body from the neck down, typically affecting your bowels and legs. As this is also one of the most severe spinal injuries that you could suffer, it typically receives the maximum spinal injury compensation amount.
When you begin to make your spinal injury claim, you will quickly discover that the severity of your injury is the most heavily weighed aspect of your claim. This severity directly impacts the amount of compensation that you can receive for your accident and, as such, it needs to be judged accurately and fairly.
If you are not able to have this done, our company is even able to arrange a local medical assessment for you, because we understand how important this is to your claim.
While minor spinal injuries are typically judged to be causing only minor trauma and are recoverable with time and non-invasive medical treatment, other injuries can differ. As you will see later in the guide, these injuries receive the smallest amount of spinal injury compensation even if successful in court.
Moderate spinal injuries are judged to be causing significant but treatable trauma assisted through either long-term rehabilitative therapy or invasive surgery. These injuries can receive a significant sum of compensation if successful in court, but still not as much as severe spinal injuries.
In contrast, severe spinal injuries, including paralysis, cause significant untreatable trauma to you and can typically only be helped with closely observed long-term therapy and pain management. These injuries receive the largest spinal injury compensation amount if successful in court.
When considering your own spinal cord injury claim, you may find yourself asking, “how much is a spinal injury claim worth?” Or even, “how much money is awarded in back injury compensation payments?”
Providing answers to these questions can be difficult. Each case is unique, bringing with it many differentiating factors which will need to be examined. As well as this, the full extent of your injury and its long term effects will need to be diagnosed. However, we can tell you how your compensation may be calculated.
The figures included in the table below are based on the compensation brackets found in the latest Judicial College guidelines. During the process of a personal injury claim, solicitors may take these guidelines into account to help work out the value of the injuries you are claiming for.
Injury Description Amount
Back (a) Severe - (i) The most serious cases, spinal cord and nerve roots affected £85,470 to £151,070
Back (a) Severe - (ii) Root damage, loss of sensation £69,600 to £82,980
Back (a) Severe - (iii) Disc lesions, fractures, chronic soft tissue damage £36,390 to £65,440
Back (b) Moderate - (i) residual disability from things like a crush fracture £26,050 to £36,390
Back (b) Moderate - (ii) disturbance of ligaments and muscles etc £11,730 to £26,050
Back (c) Minor - (i) Full recovery without surgery within 2-5 years, or at least to a nuisance level £7,410 to £11,730
Back (c) Minor - (ii) Completely recovered within 3 months to 2 years without surgery £2,300 to £7,410
Back (c) Minor - (iii) Full recovery within 3 months Up to £2,300
Paralysis (b) Paraplegia £205,580 to £266,740
Mental anguish (E) When you think your life span may be shortened or that you are about to die £4,380
As demonstrated in the table, the average amount of compensation directly varies in accordance with the type and severity of your injury. This is why our company devotes so much time and support to rigorous medical assessment, even arranging a medical assessment and a range of tests to determine the severity if you are unable to do so.
To learn more about the possible values of spinal injury claims, please get in touch with our team. Once they know more about your case they can hone in on a valuation.
Spinal Injuries Caused by a Car Accident or a Road Traffic Accident?
Unsurprisingly, the major cause of spinal accidents in the UK is car accidents, or other road traffic accidents involving motorcycles, cyclists or pedestrians.
The physical trauma experienced in a high-speed road traffic accident can very easily break the upper spine or neck. Car safety belts, airbags and neck supports can only prevent injury in lower speed car accidents. At higher speeds, serious injury is very likely, with neck and spine damage being common.
These types of injuries are more common than you think. In 2020, the Department for Transport reported that there were an estimated 23,529 people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions. No doubt some of these serious injuries are related to the spine.
Spinal Injury after an Accident at Work?
Spinal injuries in the workplace are extremely common. However, work-related spinal injuries are usually at the minor to moderate end of the severity spectrum. Lifting or moving heavy objects is the main way that spinal injuries at work are sustained, and this leads to spinal damage such as disc or vertebrae being forced out of place, or supporting muscles being strained, ripped or torn.
Back injuries and spinal injury accidents at work can happen due to many reasons including not receiving the correct training.
Spinal Injuries due to Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence claims are always a very serious matter. This is due to the fact that the medical professional who is to blame for the injury, faces very serious repercussions if they are found to be at fault.
And of all injuries caused by medical negligence, a spinal injury can have the most severe effect on the victim’s quality of life. A spinal injury due to medical negligence could leave the victim paralysed from the neck down in the most severe cases. Typically, a serious injury such as Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) would see compensation of around £500,000 or more being awarded.
An injury to the spine can potentially be very serious. A report by the National Institute For Health And Care Excellence (NICE) found that around 500 to 600 people suffer traumatic injuries to the spinal cord each year in the UK.
For more insight into spinal injuries, we can look at statistics reported under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). These figures, compiled in the table below, detail the number of reported non-fatal injuries to the torso in workplaces over 2020/21.
The graph below has been generated from those statistics. As you can see, back injuries were the most common. However, not all back injuries necessarily relate to the spin. For example, some of these may have been things like strained muscles or bruises. But, the figures do serve well as an illustration of the frequency of back injuries in the workplace.
As we have previously highlighted in this guide, a spinal injury could have a life-altering impact on your and your health. For instance, if you were to suffer an accident within your workplace, it may lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSD).
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that musculoskeletal disorders mainly comprise of the following:
- Work-related (upper limb) disorders because of repetitive tasks.
- Back injuries from awkward lifting or repetitive.
So what are the main causes of MSDs? There are five main causes and they consist of:
- Packing products.
- Handling drinks and containers (such as delivery or kegs and crates).
- Pushing wheeled rackets (oven trays or produce).
- Evisceration, cutting, boing or jointing (such as those who work in meat and poultry).
- Stacking products.
When someone suffers from an MSD, they can experience a wide variety of problems, such as:
- Pains and aches.
- Low output
- An injury to the limb or back.
- Frequent worker complaints and rest stops.
There are various ways to combat incidents of this nature. For example, to combat incidents of this nature in the workplace, there are measures outlined by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, such as:
- Upholding a high housekeeping regime.
- Offering all members of staff Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Risk assessments.
- Routine inspections.
If you feel that your spinal injury was caused by negligence, then please reach out and speak to one of our advisers. Our claims team would be more than happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Hiring a Claims Service can be expensive. If you have done any research into legal fees, you may well have encountered the high costs of hiring the best personal injury solicitors. In situations where an injury is actively costing you money, from medical expenses to lost wages, this can be a real issue. But there is another option.
Our company can offer you a No Win No Fee policy. Rather than charging upfront costs to clients, we simply take a small cut of the spinal injury compensation amount. If you do not win your claim, then you will not have to pay.
This policy, also called a Conditional Fee Agreement, means that we only charge for our services on the condition that we win your spinal injury claim in court. If your claim fails, you won’t have any legal fees or debt to add to your worries. For those already struggling with an injury, this can make a huge difference.
If you do decide to make a personal injury claim for your spinal injury, you will need an exemplary Claims Service to ensure that you receive the spinal injury compensation that you deserve. Choosing to hire our team is an easy decision.
We won’t just waste your time filling out a basic back injury compensation calculator; our years of experience in dealing with personal injury claims means that we know that each case is unique and deserving of expert attention. We treat all spinal injury claims with the care and expert engagement they deserve.
How We Can Help
We have developed a deep understanding of spinal injury claims. As a result, we know how to maximise your chances of being successful. Our team of legal experts will act carefully and efficiently, leaving nothing to chance. They will provide you with assistance in your claim throughout the claims process and give you exemplary advice on how to proceed with your case.
In addition to this, the fact that we can arrange for a free legal consultancy session, an appointment with a local doctor, and can offer a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement, means you are always treated with care.
You will receive the best possible treatment we can provide and ensure you have the best chance of receiving the compensation that you deserve for your spinal injury.
If you believe that you have a legitimate claim for compensation following a spinal injury caused by an accident, you need to contact us right away. There are two ways to get in touch.
- You can either call us on 0800 073 8804 or;
- Why not fill out the contact form on our website. We’ll get in touch and arrange for a free consultation session at a time that suits you.
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If you’ve suffered a spinal injury in a road traffic accident, then please get in touch with our personal injury advisers.
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In this final section, we’ve included answers to some questions we’re commonly asked in relation to spinal injury claims.
How do they calculate spinal injury compensation payouts in the UK?
As mentioned earlier, legal professionals will use the Judicial College Guidelines to assist them in valuing a claim. However, this is not the only source they use.
Medical evidence also needs to be taken into account. This way, they can gain context with regards to how severe your injury is and how it may affect your life. The length of your recovery period may also affect how much you’re awarded.
What is the most common spinal injury?
Some of the most common ways damage to the spinal cord occur relate to the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine.
What is the most common cause of a spine injury?
It’s believed that the most common cause of spinal injuries is from the likes of road traffic accidents. The sheer force involved in some of these accidents can damage vertebrae.
Has anyone ever recovered from a spinal cord injury?
Depending on the severity of a spinal cord injury, it may be possible to make a recovery. Minor injuries, for instance, may resolve within a few months time. More serious injuries could see symptoms last years, if not forever.
Can someone with spinal cord injury walk again?
It is possible, particularly with advances in modern technology and medical treatments, for people to recover from spinal injuries enough to be able to walk again.
What happens if your spinal cord is damaged?
If the spinal cord is damaged it may interfere with messages being sent from the brain to the limbs and vice versa. It may be possible to experience reflex movements, but the person’s control over such movements may be limited. Therefore, in serious cases, spinal cord injuries could result in brain injuries.
How long does it take for a spinal cord injury to heal?
It all depends on the severity. Some injuries may take weeks or months to heal. Others may require intensive rehabilitation. Most people will begin to notice some small improvements after a year or two.
Can a spinal cord injury get worse?
Without proper treatment, a spinal cord injury can get drastically worse. Inflammation and the like can damage nerves and vertebrae, so it’s always best to get medical attention as soon as possible.
Can my child claim a spinal cord injury settlement in the UK?
Children cannot make a claim on their own. Claimants need to be at least 18 years old in order to do so. However, a parent/guardian (or another suitable adult) can step in and pursue the claim on behalf of the injured child.
They would need to convince the court that they have the child’s best interests in mind. Then, the adult could be appointed as a litigation friend.
Any compensation following a successful claim would not be awarded to the litigation friend. It is held by the Court Funds Office until the injured child turned 18.
Is a spinal cord injury a disability?
A severe spinal cord injury can be disabling, making it difficult to get about the house, work, socialise or do any other day to day tasks. All of these problems can be accounted for within spinal injury compensation settlements.
Thank you for reading our guide on how to make spinal injury claims.