In circumstances where you have sustained a spinal cord injury, that is the fault of another individual or organization, you will be entitled to make an injury claim seeking redress against that particular party/entity.
In this article we will provide general guidance in relation to spinal cord injuries, plus the criteria for instigating a spinal cord or back injury* claim.
What are the types of Spinal Injuries ?
Spinal injuries can result in varying degrees of limitation in mobility or paralysis. Primary factors which help to establish the severity of the injury are the exact location of the injury as well as the intensity of the damage. Different types of spinal cord injuries consist of the following:
This type of injury happens to be the area just below the skull’s base where the spinal cord is going to connect to the brain. Any violent collision like a vehicle accident can lead to this kind of injury.
This is the region between the abdomen and the head and injuries which happen in this area of the spine typically lead to paraplegia. This is an impairment of the sensory or motor function of the lower limbs.
This type of injury is the region which is covered by our lower back, pelvic area, and the abdomen. The spinal injuries which take place here minimize the control of the legs, urinary system, and the hips.
Cauda Equina syndrome
This is a condition where the nerves which are positioned at the base of our spinal cord become compressed. This leads to damage to the nerves that control the bowel and the bladder.
What are the causes of spinal injuries?
A spinal injury can be caused because of the following reasons:
• Falls and slips in public areas.
• Road traffic accidents.
• Sports accidents.
• Negligence at the time of spinal surgery.
• Violent assaults.
• Inability to detect Couda Equina syndrome.
• Carelessness while administering epidural injections.
On what grounds can spinal injury claims be made?
An injury can be caused by a physician in cases where a substandard medical treatment has been administered by them. It is essential to show that the spinal cord injury was caused by medical malpractice.
The injury can be caused by the negligence of another individual. For example, if a person sustained a spinal cord injury because of the careless driving of another individual. It will need to be proved the offending driver was negligent in act or omission.
This kind of personal injury can be caused because of any defective product. For example, faulty products might consist of defective medical products, defective pharmaceutical products, as well as products that do not function as demonstrated, like airbags.
Injury Claim Process
1. Seek medical attention
This is of the utmost seriousness of injury and nothing should be left to chance and not tested.
2. Report the accident
The incident must be reported to the pertinent authority. This is going to vary depending on what actually caused the injury. It is imperative to maintain a record of the report as an integral part of the claims process.
In case there was any witnesses to the accident, try to ensure someone has their contact particulars.
4. Document the incident
It is essential that you have all the information available for providing them to your solicitor while starting the claims process. In case you are not able to access any information, your solicitor can source it on your behalf.
The information that can be recorded happens to be the particulars of the accident, a photograph of the accident scene, a photograph of the injuries, medical bills, witness details, CCTV footage of the accident, along with any other essential information regarding the mishap.
5. Speak with a solicitor as soon as is possible
The solicitor can assist you in gathering documentation, submitting the claim for evaluation to the Injuries Board, and working with you for bringing the case to a conclusion. Medical requirements for a person with this injury need to be assessed on an ongoing basis.
Obtaining and retaining evidence quickly is very important in cases like this.
• Your claim will be submitted by your solicitor for evaluation to the Injuries Board.
• Your case will be assessed by the Injuries Board who can suggest an amount of compensation to resolve matters. If both parties agree to the Injuries Board assessing the matter, an order to pay is directed.
• In situations where the assessment of the Injuries Board is not agreed to, legal proceedings will be issued and your case will move forward to a court hearing.
What are the Headings of Damages in Spinal Cord Injury Claims ?
Pain, suffering, and other types of non-financial damages and/or emotional and physical injuries after the incident, plus how the injury has impacted your life.
These are very important in this type of claim as medical requirements are likely lengthy and medical costs present and future should be comprehensively calculated for you in your case with during the court process.
These can be expenses incurred because of the accident, for instance, earning losses (in case you become jobless), medical bills, loss of earnings in the future by remaining jobless for an extended period of time, future medical bills, plus any other additional travel expenses due to the injury, for example, traveling to and from the medical centre.
Legal time limits
The standard rule for personal injury cases is that the individual has a 2 years for making a claim from the date of the accident or the date of knowledge of his or her spinal injury. A claim must be registered within one day of the 2 days following the accident. There is also an exception rule termed as the date of knowledge, but this is a serious matter to assess, and should be done with your solicitor who can assess the facts and try to assist you.
There is an exemption to the statute of limitations rule when a child has sustained a spinal cord injury.
In the case of a child, the date of knowledge begins on their 18th birthday which means that they have 2 years for filing a claim from this day.
You can either call us or email us to arrange an appointment to discuss the facts and we will have an initial meeting with you. After the facts have been explore, we will furnish our opinion then to you, and you can consider your options thereafter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Personal Injury* Claim ?
If you have been injured as a result of the actions of someone else, you will have suffered what is termed a Tort, which is a civil wrong, and as an injured party you will have a right to initiate a personal injury* claim. In the law of negligence, what is termed the ‘neighbour principle’ was laid down in a case back in 1932 but the Judge in that case outlined the parameters of the duty of care in the following quote “You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour’’.
How are personal injury* claims calculated ?
Personal Injury* Claims are assessed by the Injuries Board with the guidance of the Book of Quantum and the Board will also consider the applicants out of pocket expense losses such as medical bills and earnings losses.This is answered in the above paragraphs.
How can I claim for a back injury ?
The injured party must serve notice in writing, before the expiration of one month from the date of the cause of action, or as soon as is practicable thereafter, to the person who caused the accident outlining the nature of the wrong involved etc.
An injured party must apply to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board by filling out an Injuries Board Assessment form called Form A.
The applicant starts the process by first getting a medical assessment form completed by their doctor and then filling out an Injuries Board Assessment application form. It’s usually available online.
If any costs have been incurred, remember to attach receipts for any financial losses related to the personal injury* with the application to the Injuries Board. Include a copy of correspondence from the person you deem responsible for the injury, and send the application fee. The Board will write back to acknowledge receiving your documents and to give you your application number.
Is my back injury permanent ?
It is best to get the opinion of your G.P. and any specialist you were referred to.
What if I got a back injury at work ?
The same Tort law principles of negligence apply to spinal and back injury* claims that apply to all other accidents. Any case of this nature must follow the same process as other tort law legal cases.
To assess if negligence existed, it would be necessary to apply the legal principles to the specific facts.
Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute.
Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.
8(b) “In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement”