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Spinal cord injury (SCI) causes life-long disability which can affect the individual’s ability to breathe, walk or work, to live independently or look after their own personal needs, or to communicate with others and control their environment.

From the first signs of injury to the neck, back or spine, or the first symptoms of pain, numbness or altered bladder control, the patient’s future ability to function depends on prompt diagnosis and swift action to protect the spinal cord. Where medical or surgical mistakes or delays cause permanent disability or significantly worsen an existing injury, the patient may be entitled to claim substantial compensation.

Given the complex nature of negligent medical causes of spinal cord injury and the lifelong needs that arise from life-changing disability, it is vital that spinal cord injury claims are handled by solicitors who are specialists in recovering medical negligence compensation for severe, catastrophic disability.

Our clinical negligence team has helped injured clients and their families secure the support, advice and compensation that they need to rebuild their lives after medical negligence, for more than 30 years. We are top-rated as experts in clinical negligence by Chambers Directory, the Legal 500 and the Law Society, and accredited by AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents), APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers), and SIA (Spinal Injuries Association). Each client’s claim is handled by our specialist solicitors with expertise, compassion and care. 

For spinal injury claims caused by other types of accidents, such as on the roads or at work, you can contact our serious personal injury claims specialists

Client Story Client Story | Mr Rosser

Previous cases include:

  • £1.5 million lump sum plus life-long, annual payments of £225,000pa for a client who suffered tetraplegia after falling from the hospital chair where he was left to sleep after unnecessary spinal surgery. Earlier in the case a £300,000 interim payment paid for more suitable accommodation, case management, therapies and specialist equipment.
  • £1.33 million compensation for a client whose GP failed to recognise and refer him to hospital with red flag signs of cauda equina, resulting in a delay in decompression surgery. 
  • £800,000 compensation for a 40-year-old man whose GP failed to examine him and diagnose that he was displaying red flag warning signs of cauda equina syndrome (CES). The failure to diagnose cauda equina led to delays in carrying out surgery, including lumbar discectomy and decompression. He has been left with permanent damage to his bowel and bladder, impaired mobility and sexual dysfunction. We also secured an admission of liability and letter of apology for our client from the GP.
  • £400,000 compensation settlement for a client whose red flag warning signs of cauda equina syndrome (CES) were not recognised by her GP or medical staff at A&E. A physiotherapist eventually recognised her condition after our client paid for a private MRI scan, and referred her to a consultant spinal surgeon. By the time surgery took place it was too late to avoid her permanent disability, including bowel and bladder incontinence, loss of sexual sensation, altered sensation around her left perianal region, buttock and left thigh. She had also suffered a psychological injury.
  • £275,000 compensation settlement for a client with a past medical history of back pain after his GP failed to diagnose red flag signs of cauda equina syndrome (CES) and refer him to hospital as a medical emergency. Three days later, when our client attended A&E, an MRI scan revealed cauda equina from a lumbar disc prolapse. He had emergency decompression surgery but was left with permanent disability, including fatigue, leg pain and weakness, and impaired urinary, bowel and sexual function.
  • £250,000 compensation for a client with a past medical history of back pain and surgery, who suffered permanent disability after hospital delays in diagnosing her signs of cauda equina. She was finally referred for emergency spinal surgery after she used her health insurance to arrange a private appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. The delay in diagnosis and surgical treatment resulting in permanent disability from severe pain and numbness in her leg and foot, lack of sensation in the ‘saddle’ area, impaired bowel and bladder control. She also suffered a psychological injury.
  • £220,000 compensation for a client who suffered damage to her spinal nerves following negligent management of her spinal surgery. Delays in recognising post-operative bleeding (haematoma) and a clot, caused paralysis of her legs and damage to her spinal nerves leading to bowel and bladder incontinence. She made a partial recovery of the function in her legs, but has been left with ongoing disability including impaired mobility. Our client’s settlement reflected ‘litigation risks’ relating to both negligence and causation.
  • £50,000 compensation for the bereaved family of a child who was left paralysed and incontinent in the short time leading up to his death, after a delayed diagnosis and treatment of a Ewing’s sarcoma spinal tumour (cancer). 

What is spinal cord injury (SCI)?

The spinal cord is a long, fragile, bundle of nerves that run from the brain stem to the bottom of the spine, allowing communication between the brain and the muscles, organs and functions of the body. When the spinal cord is injured, this affects the flow of information from the brain to the other areas of the body.

Severe SCI, in which the spinal cord is broken or severed (cut) or damaged, causes a permanent loss of communication between the brain and the parts of the body beneath the break.

Spinal cord injury is always serious. It leads to permanent sensory impairment, loss of function and disability. The higher the level of injury on the spine, the worse the injured person’s disability and overall outcome.

What kind of disability from spinal cord injury (SCI) can lead to a medical negligence compensation claim?

After medical mistakes cause spinal cord injury, the injured person’s lasting disability usually depends on a number of factors, including:

  • How high up the spine the injury occurred;
  • The severity of the injury - whether the spinal cord was compressed (squeezed) or severed (cut);
  • How soon the condition leading to the spinal cord injury, such as cord compression from a slipped disc or tumour, was recognised and diagnosed;
  • The amount of time that it took before surgery took place to decompress or stabilise the spine;
  • The patient’s treatment, such as the way they were positioned, immobilised and transported to hospital.

We can recover compensation for clients after medical and surgical mistakes leave them with disability from spinal injury/SCI, usually involving a combination of the following:

  • Paralysis:
    •  Tetraplegia or quadriplegia – paralysis (loss of control and sensation) in all four limbs and torso;
    •  Paraplegia – paralysis of the lower half of the body; 
  • Breathing difficulties;
  • Impaired motor control (movement of muscles) and mobility (ability to walk, run);
  • Loss of sensation, altered sensation, numbness;
  • Weakness in arms and legs;
  • Peroneal nerve injury (foot drop);
  • Chronic pain and muscle spasms;
  • Problems with bowel function; 
  • Problems with bladder and urinary function;
  • Sexual and reproductive difficulties;
  • Cauda equina syndrome (CES);
  • Spinal fractures;
  • Psychological injury arising from their spinal injury and disability.
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What kind of medical mistakes lead to a spinal injury compensation claim?

Medical negligence compensation claims can arise from mistakes at every stage of a patient’s treatment.  The mistake may cause the injury, fail to recognise and treat it in time to prevent further injury, or make an existing injury significantly worse. In some cases, it is the failure to obtain informed consent for a procedure by advising the patient of a risk which later gives rise to a claim.

Spinal cord injury compensation claims can arise from mistakes made by:

  • GPs;
  • Ambulance staff and paramedics;
  • Accident and Emergency (A&E) staff;
  • Hospital doctors;
  • Nurses;
  • Surgeons;
  • Anaesthetists;
  • Chiropractors;
  • Physiotherapists;
  • Osteopaths.

Common mistakes which lead to medical negligence compensation claims for disability from spinal injury include:

  • Lack of informed consent about the risks and benefits of surgical treatment;
  • Delays in diagnosis or misdiagnosis of red flag signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome (CES);
  • Delays in diagnosis and treatment of spinal cord impingement from spinal tumours, abscesses, haematoma (bleeding/clots), ischaemia or prolapsed (slipped) disc;
  • Delay in diagnosis and treatment of infection;
  • Delays in referral for MRI scans or specialist (neurosurgical) review;
  • Delays in carrying out urgent treatment, such as surgical decompression;
  • Misinterpretation of xrays or scans;
  • Surgical mistakes, incorrect surgical technique, positioning and monitoring during surgery;
  • Incorrect nursing care;
  • Incorrect manipulation during chiropractic, physiotherapy or osteopathy treatment;
  • Failing to immobilise the spine or incorrectly positioning and moving a patient after suspected spinal injury;
  • Incorrect administration of anaesthesia, such as epidural;
  • Negligent injection of medication/dye into the spinal cord.
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What compensation can be claimed after spinal injury from medical negligence?

Each client’s compensation is carefully calculated to compensate their losses and meet their needs, now and in the future. The amount of compensation depends on the client’s injury and disability, the impact it has had on their life, ability to work and live independently, and their individual circumstances.

As soon as the defendant healthcare provider’s liability (fault) is established, we secure substantial interim (advance) payments to start meeting our client’s needs for care, equipment, therapies and adapted accommodation straight away.

Depending on the individual client’s condition and the cost of meeting their needs, their final settlement may include compensation for:

  • Pain, suffering and disability;
  • Costs of rehabilitation;
  • Costs of care;
  • Case management costs;
  • Costs of therapies, such as:
    • Physiotherapy;
    • Occupational therapy (OT);
    • Speech and language therapy;
    • Hydrotherapy;
    • Psychological counselling.
  • Cost of surgical or medical treatment;
  • Loss of earnings and pension;
  • Increased costs of suitable accommodation or home adaptations;
  • Adapted vehicles, wheelchairs, mobility aids and transport costs;
  • Specialist equipment;
  • Assistive technology;
  • Special educational support (SEN) (if a child).
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Meet your specialist team

Our specialist Spinal cord injury (SCI) medical negligence compensation claims team are considered leaders in the field and have a significant amount of expertise.
Susan Brown photo

Susan Brown


Julie Marsh headshot

Julie Marsh


Richard Money-Kyrle headshot

Richard Money-Kyrle


Sita Soni headshot

Sita Soni

Senior Associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand photo

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne photo

Tara Byrne

Associate - Solicitor

Rachel Makore headshot

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana headshot

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Ben Ireland headshot

Ben Ireland


Alice Carley headshot

Alice Carley


Audrey Elmore headshot

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Nicky Melville headshot

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

Susan Brown photo
Julie Marsh headshot
Richard Money-Kyrle headshot
Sita Soni headshot
Vanessa Wand photo
Tara Byrne photo
Rachel Makore headshot
Alpa Rana headshot
Fran Rothwell
Ben Ireland headshot
Alice Carley headshot
Audrey Elmore headshot
Nicky Melville headshot

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Awards & Accreditations

Our teams have been nationally recognised over the past decade for their dedication and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients

              Brake | The Road Safety Charity

"Honest, approachable and truly empathetic"

What has to be some of the most testing horrible times was dealt with in a dignified, honest, approachable and truly empathetic manner. I could not begin to do Susan justice for her handling of our case.

Boyes Turner Client

"they kept us fully informed "

I approached Boyes Turner after my claim was turned down by one of the Medical Negligence Claim company. My wife was a victim of medical negligence.

Boyes Turner have acted so efficiently on our behalf and was able to win our case. Anytime we contact them, their customer service was very good as they kept us fully informed of every level our case has developed. They are very friendly and approachable and great in their professional advise. I would strongly recommend anyone approach them for their legal and medical negligence services.

Boyes Turner Client

"Thoroughly professional, knowledgable and approachable"

Thoroughly professional, knowledgable and approachable with communication and updates as and when needed, in what can be a drawn out process, I was always comfortable asking questions and always received answers which were clear and understandable. Highly recommend

Boyes Turner Client

"Amazing professional firm"

I came to Boyes Turner desperate after searching the web for a firm to use for my sons case. He was only a few months so my mind was all over the place, but from the very first point of contact I felt a sense of relieve and belonging. I was welcomed and looked after by amazing staff who always communicated everything so well and went the extra mile to explain things and ensure I understood what was happening every step of the way (THANK YOU SUSAN BROWN). Susan was amazing I felt like I not only had a solicitor but someone who understood my emotions as a mother and always handled me with so much compassion and that was all I needed to keep me going for the 6 years of the case. Years went by in a breeze because of how professional Boyes Turner was. I am so greatful I went through it all with them and mananged to get my son a good compensation. We look forward our new life where my sons needs are priority after struggling for so long. Thank you Boyes Turner and thank you Susan Brown. My family and I are ever indebted.

Boyes Turner Client

"I couldn’t fault them they have been brilliant throughout the whole process"

From the moment I picked up the phone and spoke to Richard Money-Kyrle I knew I had done the right thing by choosing Boyes Turner to take our claim forward and to represent my son. Both Richard Money-Kyrle and Alpa Rana have worked on our case and they both have been amazing throughout, explaining every step of the way and anything we didn’t understand and keeping me updated constantly. This gave me and my family a lot of reassurance.

Both Richard and Alpa are friendly and gained my trust and have been really easy to talk to which has made the process a whole lot easier and smoother than anticipated.
The outcome of the claim was far more than I could have wished for and that was down to their hard work and expertise

I couldn’t fault them they have been brilliant throughout the whole process I would recommend Boyes Turner to anyone.

Boyes Turner Client
Rated Excellent 4.8/5