Spinal Cord Injuries
If someone else was to blame for the accident in which you suffered your spinal cord injury, you may be able to make a claim for damages that will allow you to obtain compensation for your suffering and the money you need to fund your ongoing care.
While money is unlikely to be your top priority while you adapt to your new circumstances, it is important that you can afford the best possible care and avoid the additional stress of financial worries.
Liddy’s Solicitors is one of the leading firms of injury solicitors in Yorkshire and can help you to secure the compensation to which you are entitled. We have experience of handling claims for serious injuries and can secure the right financial settlement for you, as well as assisting you in finding the right medical specialists and care providers.
Causes of spinal cord injuries
Around 1,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries each year and approximately 40,000 people across the UK are living with the long-term effects of such life-changing injuries.
The majority of those unfortunate enough to suffer spinal injuries are aged between 16 and 35 when they have their accident, although in recent years doctors have seen an increasing number of over-50s sustaining this type of injury. Around 80% of the people with spinal cord injuries are male.
Falls are the single most common type of accident that lead to spinal cord injuries, closely followed by road traffic accidents. Sports accidents, particularly while playing rugby, riding a horse or diving, account for more than 10% of spinal injuries, while a small number of people each year are hurt in this way due to assaults or mistakes during medical treatment.
The prognosis for spinal cord injuries varies depending on which part of the cord is damaged and the extent of the damage, but many result in a degree of paralysis. For example, an injury to the spinal cord in the neck may lead to tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia (loss of use of the arms, legs and torso), while damage lower down the cord can cause paraplegia (loss of motor and sensory function in the legs). Every case is different and some people suffer impaired movement in limbs rather than total loss of function, while some can also experience partial recovery over time.
Although paralysis is perhaps the most immediately obvious effect of spinal cord injuries to other people, sufferers also experience a range of other consequences that have a serious impact on their life. These can include loss of bowel and bladder control, sexual function and the body’s ability to control temperature and blood pressure.
Despite this, life expectancy for people with spinal cord injuries is close to normal, so sufferers can need care for in excess of 50 years. Essential support and services are expensive and the charity Spinal Research estimates that around £1 billion a year is spent on providing the necessary care for people who have suffered such injuries.
Rehabilitation, care and interim payments
If you have grounds to make a compensation claim related to your spinal injury, you can expect to receive money for the pain and suffering resulting from the accident, as well as for the long-term effect on your physical and mental health, mobility and earnings.
You will also be entitled to money to pay for your care and treatment expenses, for any adaptations you need to make to your home to help you cope with your new level of mobility and to pay for people to do jobs you would previously have done yourself, such as gardening and cleaning.
While money is obviously a crucial part of being able to successfully cope with your changed circumstances, it is equally important to ensure you receive the right type of ongoing care and treatment. Some of this will continue to be provided by the spinal surgeons, neurologists and other specialists you saw in hospital, but you will have additional needs once you are discharged.
At Liddy’s Solicitors, we have good relationships with a wide range of medical and rehabilitation experts, such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and spinal injury specialists, and can arrange for you to receive the best possible ongoing treatment. We can also help you to gain access to the best available care services, whether they are provided by the local authority or a private organisation.
In the case of the most severe spinal cord injuries, lifetime treatment and care costs may exceed the £1 million mark and negotiating a damages claim settlement of that size is a long process. However, we understand that you will need money for care, alterations to your home and day-to-day living costs as soon as possible, so where appropriate we will apply for an interim compensation payment to help you avoid financial difficulties.
How to make a spinal injury compensation claim
Being seriously injured in an accident does not necessarily mean you have a case to make a compensation claim. For an injury claim to be successful, you will need to prove that someone else was either wholly or partly to blame for the accident.
The Liddy’s Solicitors team are experts in collating evidence and putting together strong cases that demonstrate negligence. For example, if you suffered your spinal injury in a fall at work because your employer did not have the right safety procedures in place, you were hurt in a car accident due to the reckless actions of another driver, or you suffered clinical negligence, we can use that information to identify who was at fault.
In addition to establishing blame, our specialist injury claim solicitors will quantify the level of damages you are entitled to and handle negotiations with the defendant. These calculations will take into account a wide range of factors, such as the pain you have suffered, loss of earnings, the cost of installing aids such as wheelchair ramps and hoists and adapting your home, private medical expenses and care costs.
While no amount of money can make up for life-changing injuries, a compensation package that gives you a degree of financial security will at least ensure you can afford the best therapy and help you to maximise your independence. Liddy’s have vast experience in calculating damages and negotiating with insurers and other lawyers, so are well placed to secure the best possible financial settlement for you.
As well as having all the legal knowledge and experience required to handle successful serious injury claims, our solicitors understand how daunting and confusing the law can appear to people who are unfamiliar with it. We try to make the process as simple and stress-free as we can, guiding you through every stage from initial consultation to settlement and keeping you informed of progress using everyday language rather than jargon.
To discuss the possibility of making a spinal injury compensation claim either for yourself or on behalf of a family member, please complete the ‘How Can We Help You?’ form, call us at our Wakefield office on 01924 780753 or contact our Barnsley office on 01226 731314.