Spine Injury Solicitors - Accident Compensation Claim Lawyers

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Injuries to the spinal cord can result in devastating disabilities, including permanent paralysis. The victim's resulting condition will depend on the severity and location of the spinal cord injury. In any case, suffering a spinal cord injury is a traumatic experience that can leave the victim with both physical and emotional pain. That where our spine injury solicitors come in to help you get the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers only deal with injuries of the utmost severity including catastrophic injury. Our spine injury solicitors have the knowledge and experience to give you the best chance of obtaining judgement and to maximize your compensation claim.

If you would like to speak to an expert personal injury solicitor about spinal injury compensation claims just complete the on-line contact form. A spine injury solicitor will telephone to discuss your potential case and advise you on the best course of action to preserve your legal rights. Advice is provided at no cost and there is no obligation for you to proceed with a spinal injury compensation claim. If you do decide to take legal action your compensation claim will be dealt with on a no win no fee basis which will be fully explained by your spine injury solicitor prior to any legal work being carried out.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The brain sends messages to different parts of the body along the spinal cord which serves as a pathway for electrical impulses. A spinal cord injury may prevent conduction of electrical impulses, either completely or partially, resulting in a loss or degeneration of feeling, function or movement. In the worst cases, there is complete loss of movement and sensation from below the damaged area of the spinal cord. However damage to the spinal cord may be incomplete and some movement and sensation may be experienced beyond the point of damage. The outcome of severe spinal cord injury is that victim may only able to lead a normal, independent life if they receive ongoing medical care. In addition they may incur substantial losses and expenses at a time when they have reduced income or no income at all, thereby causing severe financial difficulties.

Additional complications related to a catastrophic injury may sometimes arise years after the accident. The full range of the victim's injuries is not always apparent from the outset. That is why you need a solicitor with solid experience in bringing these claims. A specialist personal injury lawyer will be aware of this possibility and will pursue compensation to cover this contingency.

Spinal Shock?

Immediately after suffering a serious injury to their spinal cord, a person's body goes into spinal shock. Spinal shock is a condition in which the patient experiences temporary paralysis, loss of sensation and loss of reflexes below the level of the spinal injury. After the spinal cord suffers trauma, it begins to swell. It continues to swell until it has filled the entire cavity of the spinal canal at the level of the injury.

Because of the swelling, blood cannot flow to the rest of the spinal cord, which consequently results in a lack of oxygen as well. Blood pressure begins to drop dramatically, eventually interfering with the body's ability to transmit signals. When the body is in spinal shock, even the uninjured parts of the spinal cord are temporarily disabled. The individual may experience complete paralysis and a loss of all feeling and movement in their limbs. After spinal shock ends, the patient will experience stiffness or spasticity below the level of the injury.

Spinal shock sets in within the first few minutes following the injury. It can sometimes take several hours before the full effects are felt. In most cases, spinal shock lasts between 4 to 6 weeks, but there have been cases of spinal shock lasting for several months. Not all spinal cord injury victims will go into spinal shock. The occurrence of spinal shock appears to be tied to the size and severity of the patient's injury. There is no way to prevent or treat spinal shock. The condition eventually ends on its own.

Contributory Negligence

A motor collision may be wholly the fault of one party however there are incidents when both drivers may be partly to blame and in those circumstances we can still make a spinal injury compensation claim on behalf of a driver on the basis of the doctrine of contributory negligence. Liability may be apportioned on a percentage basis and the full award of damages may be reduced accordingly allowing both drivers to partially succeed in their claims against one another. A passenger can almost never be held responsible for causing or contributing to the cause of an accident and all passengers no matter which car they were travelling in will usually receive full compensation even though they may be closely related to the driver at fault.

Spine Injury Compensation

It is a fact that motor accidents give rise to the majority of spinal injury compensation claims and in particular along with falls from height are responsible for some of the most severe and debilitating injuries. Damage to the spinal cord may be both physically and psychologically traumatising not only for the victim but also for close family and carers. Resulting injuries can affect a person’s functioning and physical abilities far into the future. If you have been the innocent victim of a motor accident, you are legally entitled to financial compensation on two basic grounds. First, there is a right to compensation for pain and suffering for the physical injuries and ensuing loss of lifestyle. Secondly, as an innocent victim, you are entitled to claim for all reasonably foreseeable financial losses.

SCI compensation claim settlements are often very substantial, frequently running into millions of pounds, however no amount of money can ever compensate for the emotional and physical effects on the patient which can produce lifestyle changes including :-

  • lengthy and often recurrent hospitalisation
  • reduced mobility
  • dependency on others

If as a result of your accident, you require a high level of care from third parties (such as nursing and domestic assistance) then the court will award you compensation to cover the cost of this care. Your damages award will cover both the cost of past care and the cost of any future ongoing care that may be needed. In some cases full-time nursing care may be needed.

If you suffer from paraplegia or quadriplegia that is the result of someone else's fault, then you should instruct a spine injury compensation solicitor to take legal action for damages. The amount of compensation that you will be entitled to will depend upon the severity of your condition and your needs as a result of your injuries and disabilities.

Pain and suffering is a term used by lawyers to describe the mental or emotional injuries such as post traumatic disorder, depression, anxiety, fear, embarrassment that accident victims commonly suffer following physical injury. When assessing the general damages component of your spinal injury compensation claim, the court will look at how your injuries and disabilities have affected your life. A loss of amenities claim is where the ability to enjoy pre-accident activities such as walking or playing sport is lost as a result of injury caused by the accident.

You can also claim the cost of medical and rehabilitation expenses such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractor, wheelchairs, housing modifications (such as ramps and wide corridors for wheelchair access) and adaptive technologies (such as specially modified computer equipment, modified cars).

Spine Injury Solicitors

A spinal cord injury compensation claim may be successful if it can be shown that the accident was caused, either fully or partially, by the negligence of a third party. However it should be noted that in some jurisdictions there is a non-fault compensation scheme in operation. To pursue a spinal injury compensation claim it is important that you collect and record all information relating to the accident including witness details. To ensure that you preserve your legal rights you should urgently take advice from a spine injury solicitor.

It is important that you instruct a solicitor to represent you who has knowledge and expertise in catastrophic injury compensation claims. Our spinal injury lawyers have the experience to fully pursue the maximum compensation applicable to your case. Contact us today for free legal advice about your claim. Just complete the contact form on this website. There is no charge for the consultation and you are under no further obligation.

Our spine injury compensation solicitors are specialists in representing accident victims in car accidents, accidents at work, slips, trips, falls and the victims of crime. They are highly skilled negotiators with a reputation for providing quality advice, having in-depth legal knowledge and outstanding ability to grapple with complex issues. To receive legal advice from an expert personal injury solicitor please use our helpline or complete our contact form.

Here are 3 good reasons to choose our lawyers:

  1. Our spine injury compensation solicitors will provide you with legal advice on your rights and entitlements to compensation with no further obligation.

  2. Our solicitors are specialists with extensive experience in negotiating, settling and litigating accident compensation claims.

  3. If you decide to instruct any of our specialists to obtain compensation for you, they will act on a no win no fee basis. Compensation is paid in full and win or lose there is no charge.

Complete and Incomplete SCI

Every year in the Australia there are over 100 new spinal cord injury (SCI) patient admissions in specialist centres. This figure does not include the thousands of individuals who are less severely injured who receive treatment from a General Hospital. About 40% of SCIs are the result of a fall and about 40% are as a result of a road accident with a further significant percentage being as a result of criminal violence. In many of these cases a third party will be liable in negligence for causing the injury and therefore liable to pay compensation to the victim. The most common types of SCI include :-

  • contusion (bruising of the cord)
  • compression (caused by pressure)
  • lacerations (tearing of nerve fibres)
  • severing (complete break)

The degree of disability following an SCI will depend on the level of injury and whether the injury was complete or incomplete :-

    Complete SCI:-

      A complete SCI produces total loss of all motor and sensory function below the level of injury. Almost one half of all SCI's are complete. About 3 percent of these patients will show some improvement over the first 24 hours. After 24 hours improvement is almost never seen. Even in a complete SCI, the spinal cord is rarely cut completely. More commonly, loss of function is caused by a contusion or bruise or by compromise of blood flow to the injured part.

    Incomplete SCI:-

      In an incomplete SCI, the amount and type of message that can pass between the brain and parts of the body will depend on how many nerves have not been damaged. The level of injury is determined by which vertebrae have been damaged. The closer to the brain, the greater the loss of function and feeling will be. If you have suffered physical damage that is the result of somebody elses negligence whether in the workplace, in a public place, at a sporting event, in a traffic or road accident, we can assist you in making a spine injury compensation claim.

Paraplegia & Quadriplegia

Paraplegia is a complication of a back injury. The result is paralysis below the waist. Patients cannot feel heat or cold, hard or soft, sharp or dull or any sensation below the level of the injury. There is no control of muscles, so patients cannot walk or control their bladder. Other symptoms such as pain or sensitivity to stimuli, muscle spasms and sexual dysfunction may develop over time.

Quadriplegia is a complication of a neck injury. The result is paralysis from the neck down. Patients cannot feel heat or cold, hard or soft, sharp or dull or any sensation below the neck. There is loss of control of muscles, inability to walk, inability to move arms, bladder and bowel incontinence.

Cervical Spine Injury Overview

There are seven cervical vertebrae and a total of 8 cervical nerves that pass through the spinal nerve root exits and help the function of the hand. If you sustain a spinal nerve injury, you have the risk of severe injury to the function of the arms and legs. If you have injury to a single nerve rootlet, there is dysfunction of just one area of the arm or perhaps breathing. The various spinal nerves affect the following body areas:

  • C1: the head and the neck, including breathing
  • C2: the head and neck, including breathing
  • C3: the diaphragm which affects breathing
  • C4: upper body muscles including the biceps and the deltoids
  • C5: wrist extensors
  • C6: wrist extensors
  • C7: triceps muscle
  • C8: hands

About 5-10 percent of unconscious patients who present to the emergency room following a motor vehicle will also have an injury to the cervical spine. A third of all injuries occur at C2 and half of all injuries occur at C7. Most of the fatal injuries happen at the levels of C1 and C2 because breathing is involved in the injury and the person cannot breathe on his or her own. If one spinal cord column is damaged, the other two spinal cord columns may protect the spinal cord so there is no transection or pulling on the cord. C1 and C2 are different in appearance from the rest of the spinal vertebrae and are more sensitive to damage than other levels of cerebral vertebrae.

There can be a flexion injury to the affected spinal cord or an extension injury. There can also be rotational injury associated with flexion and extension. There can be vertical compression and lateral flexion of the spinal cord that result in injuries to the spinal cord. Extension injuries are also called hangmans fracture, extension tear drop fracture, posterior alantoaxial dislocation and a posterior neural arch fracture. A hangmans fracture affects C2 primarily.

Injuries of the upper cervical portion of the spinal cord are considered unstable because they don't have the stability to keep the neck straight. The greatest instability is at C2. Compression is the mechanism of spinal injury at C2 because this is the widest part of the spinal canal. There are four types of atlas fractures (C1) called types I-IV. They result from impaction of the occipital condyles at the level of the atlas. The first two types of atlas fractures are completely stable and include fractures of the anterior or posterior aspect of the atlas. The fourth type of atlas fracture is called a burst fracture of the C1 level and is called a Jefferson fracture. It is associated with the highest degree of neurological injury.

Disruption of the column of the cervical spine leads to instability of the cervical cord. The degree of injury depends on where the spinal column injury is and how much damage is done to the cord. As many as thirty nine percent of cervical fractures lead to some type of neurological deficit. Degeneration of the spine during diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can also increase the risk of cervical spine injury. Spinal stenosis and spina bifida increase the risk of disease as well.

The incidence of cervical spine injury is such that 6000 deaths and five thousand new cases of quadriplegia occur each year. The male to female ratio is about 4 to 1 as men are more likely to engage in activities that cause damage to the spinal cord. About 80 percent of cases include those of age 18 to 25 years.

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