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Paralysis Due To Medical Negligence Medical Error – How Much Compensation Can I Claim?

By Daniel Skinner. Updated 6th August 2021. Whilst much research and training is involved in the medical industry, nothing is 100% infallible, and sometimes things go wrong. If you are in the devastating position of having been left paralysed due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim for some compensation.

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A Guide to paralysis caused by medical negligence

In the unfortunate event that we are ill or injured, we expect doctors and medical staff to be able to make us better. Whether it is routine surgery, or illness, we expect to be diagnosed, treated and fixed. However, in some cases, this does not happen. Whether by inaction, misdiagnosis or mistakes made in surgery, if you have been left paralysed due to medical negligence, you could be able to make a claim for some compensation. This could cover medical bills, care costs and even adaptations to your home to make life easier, in addition to an award that takes into account the pain and suffering you have been caused. This guide takes you through the common questions people have when looking into medical negligence claims for paralysis, along with a guide to how much compensation you could be awarded.

What is paralysis?

Paralysis, by definition, involves the loss of the ability to utilise certain muscles. This could lead to loss of function within the body, or loss of feeling. Usually, paralysis is not something that is caused by issues with the muscles concerned, but by nerve or spinal cord issues which restrict the ‘messages’ from the brain to the affected area.

What types of paralysis are there?

There are a number of different ‘types’ of paralysis:

Localised – This is paralysis within a specific portion of the body, such as the foot, or the face

Generalised – This is the most severe form, whereupon a large area is affected

These terms can then be broken down into the medical terminology below:

Tetraplegia – This is paralysis of both the arms and the legs

Monoplegia – One part of the body (a limb) is paralysed

Paraplegia – Sometimes involving paralysis of the pelvis, affecting both legs and the lower body

Hemiplegia – One side of the body (one arm and one leg) are paralysed

Whatever type of paralysis you have, the effects can be devastating, and if the reason for paralysis of your face, hand, foot or anywhere else is due to negligent medical treatment, whether as an NHS or private patient, you may be able to claim for damages against the medical institution that treated you.

What causes paralysis?

The causes of paralysis are many and varied, but the main reasons for a person becoming paralysed in some way involve:

Head Injury – The surface of the brain can be torn or bruised during a head injury, as it may scrape or bump against the inside of the skull. This again can cause loss of brain cells, which can cause paralysis.

Spinal Cord Injury – The central nervous system relies on the spinal cord to transfer signals from the brain or body. Damage to the cord means that the ability of these messages to get through can be temporarily or permanently hindered, resulting in paralysis.

Stroke – When the supply of blood to the brain is interrupted or disturbed in some way, this can result in a stroke. When blood cannot flow properly to the brain, cells begin to perish, and it is here where brain damage, and therefore paralysis can occur.

Whilst other conditions such as cancer and cerebral palsy can also cause paralysis, along with Lyme disease, Motor Neurone disease and Spina Bifida amongst others, the effects of paralysis are equally as devastating, no matter how paralysis occurs.

Living with Paralysis

For a previously fully mobile person, becoming paralysed can be hard to understand and even harder to deal with. In some cases, this may mean living without the independence previously enjoyed. You may need assistance with tasks that previously seemed extremely simple. However, the effects of paralysis on the body go far beyond this.

Medical negligence paralysis

Medical negligence paralysis

Infections, the inability to control bowels, bladder, temperature or sexual function can be enormous issues to cope with. Add to this the compromisation of both respiratory and cardiovascular function in some cases, loss of muscle mass, recurrent skin infections, and the secondary complications associated with paralysis can be life-changing and life-threatening.

Those issues mentioned are just some of the physical issues that go along with paralysis. Often, the emotional upheaval and trauma paralysis can cause to an otherwise healthy individual can have a hugely detrimental effect on the patient’s mental health, and it is not uncommon for paralysis patients to go through the stages of grief for the life they were once able to enjoy.

However, there are various charities and counselling services, along with new treatments available to those who are dealing with paralysis. The Spinal Injuries foundation, Aspire, Scope and Sportability are just some of the UK charities set up to help those with paralysis learn to adapt to their injuries. Getting in touch with the charity closest to the condition that has caused their paralysis can often give patients a new avenue to explore, and knowledge that they are not alone in any limitations their paralysis may cause them.

What to do if you are the victim of paralysis caused by medical negligence

If you are the victim of paralysis that has been caused by medical negligence, then it is important for you or your advocate to collect as much evidence as you can to support any claim for some compensation. This may include:

Medical Evidence – A copy of your medical notes, any documentation such as prescriptions and treatment details.

Expenses – It is essential to keep any proof of costs incurred as a direct result of your injury, such as loss of earnings, prescription charges, physiotherapy bills, travel costs for appointments and more.

Photograph Evidence – It would be prudent for you to collate any photographic evidence where possible. Photographs of any visible injuries may help to strengthen your case further.

Witness Details – If anyone has witnessed the medical negligence that led to your paralysis, then it is important to try and get their contact details, should a witness statement be required.

Notes of the incident – It is an extremely good idea to write down everything that has happened. Sometimes, after the event, things become forgotten or unclear so it is best to write things down while they are fresh in your mind.

It is important to understand that there is a medical negligence claims time limit, which is usually set as within 3 years after the incident occurred. The vast majority of cases that have passed this time frame will not be heard, however, if you were a child when the negligence occurred, and your parents or guardians did not submit a claim, you may be able to claim yourself within three years of your 18th birthday. There are also some exceptions to the three year rule, so don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out whether your case may meet the guidelines for a later claim.

Can I claim for medical negligence paralysis on behalf of a family member?

If you have a family member or loved on that has suffered paralysis due to a medical negligence incident then they may not be able to make the claim themselves. If this is the case, then you can make a claim on their behalf so that they get the financial support and care they need. You can also make a claim for a child under 18 if you are a guardian or parent.

How to begin a paralysis compensation claim due to medical negligence

If you believe your paralysis is caused by medical negligence then it is important to take action, in order that you claim compensation to allow you the care and financial support you will likely require for some time to come, if not for the rest of your life. By calling us, you will be taking the first step to making a claim. We will firstly offer you a free, no-obligation consultation, where we will take all the details of your injuries, and will arrange for you to see a medical professional, who will compile a full report of your paralysis, your general health and your prognosis for the future.

It is important for you to understand that you will not be expected to pay for your medical or our services upfront. We work on a No Win No Fee basis, which means you will not pay a penny of legal fees unless your claim is successful. We believe that your financial situation should not bar you from seeking legal assistance to make a compensation claim for paralysis that has been caused by medical negligence, which is why we work in this way.

What can be claimed for after medical negligence causing paralysis?

Just like many other personal injury claims, medical negligence claims for paralysis may include the following submissions:

Home modifications – If you are unable to use your home as it stands with the injuries you have suffered, then it may become necessary to adapt your home so that you can continue to live in it. If your home cannot be modified, you may require a new home. Submissions for damages relating to this can be included within your claim.

Modified vehicle – Similarly to your home, if it is possible for you to drive in an adapted car after your paralysis, then paralysis med neg claims can cover costs to modify your vehicle, or for you to purchase a modified vehicle could be included.

Care claim – If you require home care as a result of your paralysis, then a claim for the cost of that care can be submitted by the person that provides that care.

Damages (General) – This portion of your claim covers the suffering and pain you have had to endure

Loss of earnings – if you are unable to work as a result of your paralysis, then it is likely that a claim for loss of earnings will be submitted

Travel and Medical Expenses – The cost of treatment, both initial and ongoing, along with transport costs required for getting you to appointments may also be included in your claim.

If you would like to know more about what costs you may be able to claim for along with any exclusions, our team will be happy to speak to you to clarify any points you may be unclear on.

The most common types of medical negligence resulting in paralysis

Paralysis not only changes the life of the person who has been paralysed, but it also affects their family. There are many changes that will have to be made to the victim’s home, care needs, and they may require anything from a rehabilitation centre to permanent live-in care. Losing the use of any part of your body can be absolutely devastating, but proving that it is down to the negligence of medical staff is vital if a claim is to be successful.

The most common reasons for paralysis caused by medical negligence examples are as follows:

  • Failure to diagnose a spinal tumour
  • Surgical error
  • Failure to diagnose other conditions that could cause or worsen paralysis

How much compensation will I get for paralysis?

When it comes to the level of compensation you will receive for your paralysis caused by medical negligence, it is important to understand that awards differ wildly depending on the level of severity of your case. The prognosis and amount of care you will need are also taken into account when your claim is assessed.

Because no two cases are exactly the same, it can be difficult to give an exact answer to this question on this page. However, we have put together a table of the most common awards with a bracket that should illustrate the possible compensation you could receive. Our medical negligence paralysis compensation calculator lists all the major classes of compensation you may receive.

If your specific problem is not included within the table below, or you are not sure which bracket would apply to your case, then our team will be happy to talk you through the table, explaining in further detail what each part covers.

Quadriplegia/tetraplegia(a) Loss of sensation/function from the neck down - higher amounts awarded to those who are in pain and need assistance with basic functions like breathing£304,630 to £379,100
Paraplegia(b) Where paralysis is confined to the lower half of the body - the effects on the person's life will affect the amount awarded£205,580 to £266,740
Severe back injuries(a) Severe - (i) extreme injuries to the spinal chord that can lead to things like paralysis and lack of functions like bladder and bowel control£85,470 to £151,070
Anguish (Mental)(E) when the individual expects death, or a severe reduction in their lifespan£4,380

No Win No Fee medical negligence claims

We believe that a person’s financial situation should have no bearing on the legal representation they can get, and their ability to seek compensation for medical negligence causing paralysis. This is why we operate a No Win No Fee policy, ensuring that even the least well off patients can start to make a claim without paying any money in legal fees upfront.

While you may have been approached by solicitors, or approached them yourself, who charge by the hour, we feel that the No Win No Fee paralysis compensation service we offer allows you to benefit from not only legal representative of a high standard but allows you to be sure that the solicitor is working as hard as possible to secure you the maximum award for compensation for your paralysis. After all, if your case is not successful, there will be no legal fees for you to pay, so we will only take on cases we feel have a good chance of securing compensation for your injuries.

If for any reason we feel that your specific case would likely not result in a compensation award, we will be honest and upfront enough to tell you, and we will ensure we explain the reasons why in plain English so that you are fully informed about the process and why we think your claim may be unsuccessful.

If you’d like to know more about our No Win No Fee service, then our experienced team will be only too happy to explain the details to you. We pride ourselves on our clear explanation of the terms of our service so you will be clear on how everything works.

Why choose us as your claims service for your paralysis medical negligence injury claim?

Whatever the reason for your medical negligence paralysis claim, we pride ourselves on our experience and know our medical negligence solicitors will try their hardest to secure the highest possible paralysis med neg compensation award for your injuries. Having dealt with paralysis claims before, we have all the information and research into similar cases to draw together the strongest case possible for you, allowing you to benefit from our years of experience and attention to detail.

This gives you the very best chance of securing medical negligence payouts that will go some way towards helping with future costs associated with your injury. And, whilst we know nothing can ever compensate for paralysis completely, we will work hard to ensure that you are in receipt of the highest amount of general damages possible in order to go some way towards lessening the blow. If you have been paralysed, compensation claims can help you live a better life than you would be able to afford to without taking action.

We also pride ourselves on our discretion. We will keep all personal details confidential and will keep your feelings in mind every step along the way. We will not treat you like a number, we will treat you like a human being, ensuring you are well-informed and educated on every aspect of your claim.

Call for advice and to start a claim

Whether a loved one has been dealt the blow of paralysis caused by medical negligence, or it is you yourself that is dealing with this difficult circumstance, do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. Whether you want to start a claim, or would like some more information on our service or what we can do for you, calling 0800 073 8804 will connect you to a friendly, helpful and sympathetic member of our team who will do all they can to answer any questions you may have and help you begin a claim for the compensation you deserve.

Helpful Links

Citizens Advice on NHS negligence

Citizens Advice Bureau have put together a guide covering NHS medical negligence, advising on how to go about taking legal action if you have been left paralysed due to negligence.

NHS – Paralysis

This link directs you to the NHS’ page on Paralysis, with definitions of the different types of paralysis, how it can be caused and what treatments, if any, may be appropriate.

Medical negligence claims guide

Our guide on medical negligence explains in further detail about making medical negligence UK law claims, along with providing actionable advice on what to do if you’ve suffered an injury because of medical negligence.

NHS complaints page

The NHS’ complaints page details all you need to know about how to make a complaint about the treatment you have received while under NHS care.

How Much Could Your Compensation Claims Be Worth?

This is our guide regarding that very subject.

Personal Injury Compensation

A general guide regarding claims of this nature.

Medical Negligence Resulting In Death

Further Helpful Guides

This guide helps you understand how to seek compensation following a fatal accident involving a family member or a loved one.

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