Spinal Cord Injury Solicitors - Personal Injury Accident Compensation Claim Lawyers

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958

Our spinal cord injury solicitors are qualified to deal with complex accident compensation claim settlements. No matter that you may be suffering from catastrophic injury we are equipped to handle your case. A spine injury claim can be a highly complex and technical procedure. Damages awarded can be substantial which is why it’s important to be represented by a spinal cord injury solicitor with specialised knowledge. We have extensive experience of obtaining compensation for the victims of horrific accidents. Cases are taken on a no win no charge basis. If you instruct us to deal with your personal injury compensation claim we will vigorously pursue the maximum compensation available to you.

If you have been injured in a an accident and you want to make a compensation claim for personal injury and loss just complete the contact form, email our lawyers offices or use the solicitors helpline. Our accident compensation claim solicitors offer advice at no cost without further obligation. If our spinal cord injury solicitors deal with your claim it will be on a no win no fee basis, compensation is paid in full and you do not have to fund or finance your car accident compensation claim.

The Law of Negligence In Australia

In the majority of personal injury compensation claims, it will be necessary for your spinal cord injury solicitors to prove negligence on the part of the individual who caused the injury. A person is negligent if they fail to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of a person to whom they owe a duty of care. In addition to proving negligence, a solicitor must also prove that the negligence was a direct cause of the injury.

Spinal Injury Compensation Claims Awards

The amount of compensation awarded depends on the extent of the spinal injury and its long term consequences. Damage to the spinal cord is amongst the most serious of injuries and can result in a wide range of disabilities. Awards are commensurate with the victim's particular situation. Detailed and meticulous medical reports from specialists are key to ensuring a fair award of compensation.

There are four major types of SCI: severing, compression, laceration and contusion. Factors affecting the victim's resulting condition which determines the amount of an award in a spinal injury compensation claim include which vertebrae were damaged, how many nerve fibres remain intact and how close the location of the injury is to the brain.

A spinal injury compensation claim is intended to compensate the victim for their pain and suffering and their financial losses. The ultimate goal is to put the victim back into the position they were in before the injury occurred. Damages are awarded for expenses that have already been incurred and are also awarded for estimated future costs. Compensation is also available for less tangible losses which include pain, suffering, emotional trauma, anxiety and changes in lifestyle.

Damages awarded for successful spinal injury claims are divided into two categories for the sake of legal convenience which are called general damages and special damages :-

  • Special damages comprise compensation for financial losses that can be precisely calculated and assigned a monetary value. Lost wages, property damage and medical expenses qualify as special damages. Special damages are usually proved by the use of bills, invoices or estimates.

  • General damages comprise compensation for losses that are more difficult to calculate because they do not represent losses directly associated with a fixed amount of money. General damages must be assessed by a Judge. For example, it is difficult to place a monetary value on pain and suffering however this is a very real loss and the victim deserves to be compensated. Other categories of losses that fall under general damages include compensation for changes in lifestyle, emotional distress and a decreased likelihood of finding future employment due to disability.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries among young adults. The majority of car accidents are caused by human error. Most collisions, and the resulting injuries, could have been avoided. Some of the main causes of motoring related spinal cord injury are outlined below :-

    Driving under the influence of drugs and driving under the influence of alcohol is one main causes of car accidents that lead to spinal cord injury. The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not have to be over the legal limit to affect driving ability :-

    • BAC of 0.15 percent increases accident risk by 400 times.
    • 30% of fatally injured drivers have BACs at or above 0.08 percent.
    • Alcohol involvement in fatal accidents is highest among men age 21-40.
    • Alcohol-related car crashes kill at least 1 person in Australia every day.
    • Thousands of drunk drivers are arrested annually in Australia.
    • Men offend twice as much as women.
    • 75% of convicted drunk drivers are frequent heavy drinkers or alcoholics.

    Speeding is another cause of motor vehicle collisions due to the driver having less time to react to potential dangers and needing greater braking distance to stop. Collisions that occur at high speeds result in more severe injuries than accidents that occur at a slower speed.

    Driver distraction has become a leading cause of serious motor accidents. Mobile phones, food, the radio and passengers are all potential distractions that have lead to fatal accidents.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are involved in a far greater number of accidents causing serious or catastrophic injury than those driving a car. In fact, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident. The increase is due in large part to the lack of protection afforded by motorcycles. The unique dangers posed by motorcycles are well known. Riders are vulnerable to spinal cord injury because the motorcycle affords them no protection in the event of a car accident. Motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer serious head and neck injuries. Motorcyclists are also more at risk for multiple injuries because a collision can easily cause them to be thrown or ejected from the bike.

Successful Treatment

In most cases doctors are unable to make an exact prognosis in the first few days following the accident. It is difficult to immediately assess the full extent of the injury. No two cases are alike, and each person's path to possible recovery is different.

The patients with the best chances of successful rehabilitation are those who take an active role in the process. Spinal cord injury (SCI) patients are encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle, and get involved with a local support group. Patients should also learn as much as they can about their injury and understand their treatment options. Many spinal cord injury patients can go on to lead a productive and active life.

The Recovery Process

Only a small portion of spinal cord injury victims will make a full recovery. Some patients, however, go on to enjoy the return of some of their functions. In general, those with incomplete injuries experience more extensive recovery than those with complete injuries. Signs of recovery typically begin to occur within one week to six months of the injury. It is generally agreed that there are unlikely to be further improvements after two years.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries at the present time. Most of our organs and body parts have they ability to repair themselves if injured. Our central nervous system, however, cannot. There is little that doctors can do to repair the damaged nerves. Until there is a cure, doctors will continue to focus on minimising the extent of the injury through means such as reducing inflammation of the spinal cord and limiting cell death.

Spine Injury Solicitor

If you have suffered a spinal injury due to another persons neglect, you must act quickly. The law limits the amount of time in which you have to bring a claim. Our specialist personal injury solicitors are ready and waiting to advise you. Contact us today for free, no obligation legal advice. We will provide you with a clear, straightforward assessment of your claim and answer all of your questions. There is no charge for this consultation even if you choose not to take further action. To speak with one of our spine injury solicitors about your case, simply complete the contact form on this website.

Spinal Cord Injury Overview

Spinal cord injury can be compression and bruising of the spinal cord or transection of the cord. All of these injuries affect the ability of the nerves distal to the cord damage to feel things or to move things. This results in paralysis with loss of sensation below the level of the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries at the level of the cervical vertebrae can affect everything at or below the arms and can affect breathing ability. Thoracic spinal cord injuries affect the legs and lumbar spinal cord injuries tend to affect only portions of the legs. The spinal cord itself only exists from the level of the brain-stem down to about L1 after which only spinal nerves are present in the spinal canal.

The major causes of spinal cord injuries are sports injuries, falls, gunshot wounds, industrial accidents, diving injuries and motor vehicle accidents. Assaults and other injuries will cause spinal cord injuries as well. If the spine is weak due to osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis, there can be minor injuries that result in spinal cord damage. Spinal stenosis or spinal cord narrowing can also result in an increased risk for spinal injuries.

Bleeding, fluid accumulation, swelling and tumors can all put excess pressure on an otherwise normal spinal cord, resulting in its injury. These kinds of damage to the spinal cord can be reversible while the transection of the cord is often not reversible. Those most commonly afflicted with spinal cord injuries are men between the ages of 15 and 35 years of age and who are otherwise healthy. The death rate is highest with young children who have spinal cord injuries.

Injuries can also happen to the vertebrae of the spinal area. The vertebrae are roughly doughnut shaped bones that stack one atop the other to form the spine. They are separated by spongy spinal discs that help with cushioning the bones. The bones themselves house the spinal cord and the damage to the bones or to the discs can damage the spinal cord and can cause paralysis.

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend upon the level of the spinal cord which is affected. The higher the level, the greater is the degree of symptoms. A complete spinal cord injury is worse than an incomplete spinal cord injury. Injuries below L1 give whats called cauda equina syndrome or damage to the spinal nerves which exist as a bundle in the spinal canal.

Cervical injuries result in breathing problems, if the level of the damage is high. There is loss of bowel and bladder control, numbness in the arms and legs, sensory changes, paralysis, spasticity of the muscles, pain in the spine and weakness of parts of the body.

Thoracic injuries involve loss of bowel and bladder control, numbness, spasticity, pain, weakness or paralysis of the muscles of the body below the level of the spinal cord. High blood pressure can occur if the lesions are high enough in the thoracic spine and there may be difficulties maintaining normal body temperatures and abnormal sweating behaviour.

Lower back injuries can affect one or both legs and can affect only bowel and bladder function. The same symptoms of spasticity, numbness and paralysis affect a portion of one or both legs as well.

Tests for spinal cord injury include a CT scan or MRI scan of the spinal cord, looking for transections or lesions. A myelogram is an x-ray test of the spine that uses dye to outline the spinal canal and can detect small problems with the spinal cord. Testing of the nerves can show whether or not they are functioning and at which level they are functioning. Spinal x-rays are done to see if there is any bony damage.

Treatment of spinal cord trauma involves immediately getting corticosteroids into the body in order to shrink the swelling of the spinal cord. Keeping the spinal cord stable is important through immobilization and surgery to realign the spine. Physical and occupational therapy is used once the patient is stable in order to maximize the individuals function.

LAWYER HELPLINE: 1800 339 958

The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here