Spinal Injury Claim Information:
A spinal injury is a broad term encompassing different types of injuries. Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, however they have been caused, and the effects of paralysis can be life changing.
Complications of surgery or medical treatment – Surgery or treatment carried out on or close to the patients’ spine presents a risk of damage being caused to the spine or to the spinal cord. For example, an epidural or spinal block which is performed incorrectly can cause spinal injury and paralysis, as can the severing of the spinal cord with surgical equipment during an operation.
Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment of spinal injury or condition – Injuries or conditions of the spine usually require immediate treatment to avoid the injury worsening or leading to paralysis. For example if a tumour, abscess or infection, prolapsed or herniated disc or fracture in the spine is left untreated it can lead to Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Spinal injury has devastating effects on your life and the life of your family, having impacts not only physically, but also emotionally, mentally and financially.
“Spinal injury negligence requires a group of professionals working together to assist the legal team, reviewing medical records and assessing the needs and support the individual requires to rebuild their live, including appropriate accommodation and housing needs, equipment, facilities and therapies.”
Understanding the Claim Process
Once you have decided which solicitor best suits your particular needs, and submitted the quick enquiry form:
- You will be contacted by the most appropriate person in their practice who will clarify the information you provided in your enquiry form
- They will schedule an initial consultation, either over the phone or face to face to determine whether your case is eligible for pursuit
- At initial consultation, if acceptable you should be offered a NO WIN NO FEE arrangement or Legal Expense Insurance and given an idea of the level of compensation and subsequent care/professional services you are likely to achieve
- The solicitor will then document your claim, interpreting and understanding the information you provided in your initial consultation, before meeting with you again, or corresponding remotely, for you to read through and agree with the contents prior to this being issued to the defendant.
- Subsequent meetings between you and your solicitor will cover medical evidence, in most cases an independent medical assessment is required, but this is at no cost to you. You will also have to sign to give permission for your solicitor to access your medical records.
- At this point you should also consider what losses this negligence has had on you financially, emotionally as well as physically whilst also considering its direct impacts including:
- Pain and suffering
- Ongoing treatment
- If you cannot carry out certain activities or hobbies
- Loss of earnings
- The cost of any extra care or equipment you may require
- The cost of adapting your home
- Psychiatric or psychological injury
Typically these processes can take between 6-18 months to pursue and settlement achieved, with the majority of claims being settled out of court.
LIMITATION OF ACTIONS – ACT SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!
The time limit for bringing legal proceedings for clinical negligence resulting in physical or psychiatric injury is three years, although this can be extended under certain exceptional circumstances. The time runs from the date of the negligence or from the date that the injured person has knowledge of certain factors which make up the claim. These are set out in the Limitation Act 1980. The three-year limit does not apply in specific circumstances. For children, time starts to run from their eighteenth birthday. For those unable to administer their affairs by reason of mental disorder or lack of capacity, time does not begin to run until they regain capacity. In addition, the court has a general discretion to allow a claim to proceed even if the time limit has expired, although it will only do this if there are good reasons for the delay.
Whenever possible it is always best to approach a solicitor long before the end of the three year period. This will give the solicitor time to investigate the potential claim and prepare the case fully before the claim must be issued. Also, the sooner the claim is investigated the more likely it is that documents will still exist, and that those involved will be able to remember more accurately what actually happened.