Spinal Injury news


Colour the world Orange 2017 - International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Day

To mark today’s International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome awareness day – Colour the World Orange – we have produced an infographic detailing the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).

Buildings across the world are set to turn orange to mark the occasion, the UK buildings are:








As personal injury claim specialists we see a number of chronic pain cases, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, one of the most painful types of pain. In our experience, clients develop CRPS after fractures, soft tissue injuries or burns which usually involve extensive swelling and lead to an abnormal neurological pain response that magnifies the effect of their original injury.

If you have been involved in an accident and suffer from chronic pain as a result then get in touch with our expert personal injury claim lawyers on 0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The use of technology in rehabilitation following an injury

As claimant brain injury specialists, Boyes Turner are keen advocates of the use of rehabilitation to expedite a person’s recovery following an accident.

At the same time defendants in personal injury claims are encouraged to provide suitable rehabilitative treatment to claimants to assist them in their recovery. To read our article on the Rehabilitation Code 2015 click here.

What rehabilitative options are available to injured persons?

Traditionally, rehabilitation involved adopting physical methods to assist in recovery, for example, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy treatment to aid muscle/strength recovery. One-to-one sessions with a counsellor or neuro-rehabilitation specialist were also used to assist with cognitive behavior therapy. Whilst these forms of rehabilitative therapy are still valid and in many cases the most suitable therapy available, they can take time,  be expensive and not always convenient to the injured person.

In the modern era there is a wealth of technology available to assist rehabilitation specialists when providing rehabilitative therapy and also to allow patients to attend therapy at a time which is convenient to them and often in the comfort of their own home.  This article discusses some of the technological aided rehabilitative therapies available to injured people.

Online exercise programmes and training diaries

Physical therapy

Online applications (apps) can now be used for providing patients with exercise programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  These apps provide the following benefits:

·       Physical exercises can be easily demonstrated to the patient using helpful videos.

·       Easy-to-understand information can be provided to teach patients about their posture, body mechanics and how the body repairs itself via physical therapy.

·       The videos and information can be replayed or re-read a number of times by the patient to ensure they fully understand information. This avoids the problem of patients forgetting the instruction that they received during a time-limited in person

·       Some apps have video recording facilities enabling the patient to record their training so that the treatment provider can analyse normal versus abnormal movement patterns in activities such as walking and running.

·       The videos can also be used for research purposes to help evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Many apps have a therapy diary which can be updated as the patient trains. This helps the patient to keep a track of their training and also allows their therapist to ensure they are complying with training requirements. Additionally, if the patient is making good progress, the therapist can upgrade the treatment program electronically without the need for an in-person appointment.

·       Some apps use video games as part of the physical therapy training. The use of games makes training fun and motivates patients to take part.

·       The use of these apps also provides a time and cost saving benefit to both the treatment provider and the patient, making rehabilitation more accessible, cheaper and less time consuming.

Neurological therapy

Apps can also be used for providing patients with neurological rehabilitation programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  Examples of online neurological rehabilitation therapy include:

·       Apps that are used to provide physical, visual and audible stimulation to patients requiring neural rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Again these apps can be monitored by neuro-therapists to monitor a patient’s progress and, if necessary, treatment programmes can be upgraded remotely.

·       Apps that are designed to assist brain-injured people in living their day-to-day lives, such as apps that allow patients to follow checklists when using public transport or doing chores such as shopping. Family members or friends can also log in to these apps to provide ideas or support to the patient remotely.

·       App users can talk to other patients with similar problems in online chat room sessions. This helps the patient to avoid feeling alone in their rehabilitation journey, reducing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.  A patient with a healthier outlook on life will be more receptive to treatment.

·       As with the physical therapy apps, these apps provide time and cost saving benefits to both the treatment provider and the patient.

Technology assisted physical training

There have been developments in technology assisted physical training, for example:

·       Anti-gravity treadmills are now available to assist with physical rehabilitation therapy and ambulation.
The benefit of these types of treadmills is that they greatly reduce the amount of weight placed on the patient’s lower body.  This reduces pain and pressure on bones and joints whilst exercising and working on their gait.

·       Underwater treadmills reduce pressure on bones and joints whilst also providing measured resistance which assists in recovery.
Many of these treadmills are fitted with underwater cameras which can help the treatment provider monitor gait and recovery and can also help to evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Exoskeleton suits are available now to assist people with walking disabilities.

Boyes Turner work closely with a network of healthcare professionals and specialist rehabilitation organisations, which enables us to ensure our clients receive early support and rehabilitative intervention, to assist them in rebuilding their lives after serious injury.  Our aim is to help our clients have the best chance of maximising their recovery and returning to a life that allows them to bring closure to what has happened to them and move on.

If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to no fault of their own and would like to discuss pursuing a possible claim for compensation and funding for rehabilitative treatment please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The Rehabilitation Code 2015

When an individual suffers a personal injury one of their key concerns is how long it will take and what assistance they may need to achieve a full recovery. A slow recovery from a personal injury not only prolongs the pain but can also lead to psychological problems.

In many cases the injured person’s GP and hospital will provide advice and treatment to aid their recovery. However, NHS treatment may take a long time to receive, there may be cost restrictions on what assistance can be provided and the available NHS treatment may not fully provide for the injured person’s needs.

Recognising the need for injured persons to receive the correct rehabilitation advice, assistance and treatment, a number of specialist private organisations* formed a working party to find a solution to this problem. As a result of the working party’s efforts a Rehabilitation Code was published in 2007 and was revised in 2015.

The Rehabilitation Code states that its role:

“… is to restore the individual as much as possible to the position they were in before the accident.  The Code provides a framework for the claimant solicitor and compensator to work together to ensure that the claimant’s health, quality of life, independence and ability to work are restored …”

Description: The Rehabilitation Code 2015

The Rehabilitation Code is relied upon by Boyes Turner to ensure that defendants’ insurance companies do all they can to assist the injured claimant with their recovery as early as possible following an accident.

Our solicitors work with national rehabilitation providers, therapists and clinicians whose common goal is to ensure that clients receive the treatment, care and support they need to give them the best chance of regaining their independence and maximising their recovery to its fullest potential.

Rehabilitation can be far reaching and may not just involve medical treatment or therapy.

Many clients find that as a result of their injuries they can no longer do the job they used to do.  With the assistance of a vocational rehabilitation specialist, our clients have been able to identify new avenues of employment to help regain their sense of purpose. This might involve retraining or going back to further education according to the client’s needs.

Rehabilitation can include the provision of care, aids and equipment, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, adaptations to their home and vehicle. With the right help and support, an injured person can also return to the activities or sports they enjoyed before their accident.

Our network of specialist organisations and services enables us to ensure our clients receive the best possible treatment available to them, to increase their prospects of a making full recovery or returning to their pre-accident lifestyle, bringing closure and allowing them to move on.

Claire Roantree, Partner in the personal injury team at Boyes Turner, is dedicated to ensuring that rehabilitation plays a key part in the recovery of all of her clients who suffer serious or life changing injuries and says that,

“The severity of an injury should not necessarily determine an injured person’s long term outcome. With the right rehabilitation and support at the right time, an individual who has suffered a life changing injury has the potential to achieve new goals and live an independent life.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a personal injury and would like a free no obligation advice please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

* The working party included representatives from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS).  Boyes Turner are members of both of these organisations as well as a number of other specialist organisations dedicated to assisting injured persons.

Solicitor left paralysed after head first fall whilst mountain biking

Mr Asif Ahmed paid £79 for a beginners’ mountain biking course in the Surrey Hills but now faces the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

The qualified bio-technologist, engineer, barrister and solicitor hit his head after hurtling over the handlebars on notoriously steep Holmbury Hill in March 2012.

Mr Ahmed sued his instructor for the tragedy. Mr Justice Jeremy Baker ruled that the instructor was 80pc to blame for the tragedy. He was negligent in “encouraging” Mr Ahmed to ride “at speed” down the sharp slope without first assessing his biking skills. Describing Mr Ahmed as a “novice rider”, the judge said he “should have been warned” not to take the most difficult route down the hill. The instructor had exposed him to “a serious risk of harm” and sent him down a slope that was “beyond his capacity to ride down safely”.

Mr Ahmed was injured when his front wheel suddenly jammed on ‘what looked like a clumpy, grassy piece of ground’. He came off his bike head first over the handlebars and impacted on the front of his head, just above the forehead.

Mr Ahmed had been riding a mountain bike for years but this was the first time he had any training and he was a novice when it came to sharp descents over rough terrain.

Ruling on the case, the judge said that the instructor was an “enthusiastic, easy-going” teacher, who had “a tendency to be over-optimistic” about some students’ abilities. When the group met up in a car park before the tragedy, he appeared to have made no assessment of each student’s cycling skills.

The judge accepted that there was nothing necessarily wrong with taking students “out of their comfort zone”. But the instructor had given Mr Ahmed false confidence in his abilities despite warning signs that the hill would be too much for him.

Finding the instructor 80pc to blame, the judge said he had “failed to carry out his tuition with reasonable skill and care”. Mr Ahmed, the judge ruled, was 20pc responsible for his own misfortune in failing to raise doubts about his own abilities. As an adult with some biking experience, he had not “abdicated complete responsibility for his own safety” to the instructor. He may also have felt “peer pressure” from other students to head down the toughest part of the hill, rather than take an easier “chicken route”

The amount of Mr Ahmed’s payout has yet to be assessed but it is likely to be more than £3 million.

Alton Towers' owners fined £5 million over Smiler crash

We previously reported that four people were seriously injured in the tragic accident on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers in June last year. One of the ride’s carriages, carrying 16 people, collided with another carriage causing severe injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations have finally concluded. Merlin Attractions Operation Ltd, the owners of theme park, were fined £5 million and ordered to pay nearly £70,000 in costs.

Two young women underwent leg amputations and others suffered serious injuries when their carriage collided with a stationary carriage.

HSE investigation

The investigation found no fault with the track, the cars or the control system that keeps the cars apart from each other when the ride is running. Stafford Crown Court heard that on the day of the incident, engineers overrode the Smiler’s controls without ensuring it was safe to do so.

Investigators also found that there was a lack of detailed arrangements for making safety decisions. The operating systems were not strong enough to stop a series of staff errors.


Merlin pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, s 3 (1) and were fined £5 million with costs of £69,955.40.

The HSE head of operations Neil Craig said, “Since the incident Alton Towers have made improvements to the ride and their safety protocols, and the lessons learned have been shared industry wide”.

Merlin Attractions “we let people down…”

Responding to the sentence, Merlin’s Chief Executive said the company was aware from the beginning that it was facing a substantial penalty for the incident adding, however: “The far greater punishment for all of us is knowing that on this occasion we let people down with devastating consequences. It is something we will never forget and it is something we are utterly determined will never be repeated”.

Zarqa Rasab, of specialist personal injury firm Boyes Turner LLP, comments:

“This was a shocking incident which was very unexpected. People attend theme parks to have a good time with their friends and families, rightfully assuming that they are safe. It is good to hear the investigation has been completed and those concerned have closure. Now we know what happened we hope it will never be repeated”.

Iceland worker making accident at work claim after breaking her back at work

Geraldine Emery, a Supervisor at the Iceland Supermarket, is bringing an accident at work claim for £200,000 against her employers – she says she broke her back trying to move a metal cage full with groceries which fell onto her.

Mrs Emery says that the cage was too heavy for her to move safely and that she suffered catastrophic injuries when the cage toppled onto her causing a compression fracture to two of her vertebrae together with internal injuries. Mrs Emery was attempting to move a total of 6 cages and it was the third one that fell on to her pinning her to the ground.

Mrs Emery claims that Iceland failed to give her appropriate manual handling training and exposed her to an unnecessary risk of injury because she was simply not strong enough to carry out the task.

Mrs Emery has been unable to work since the accident and claims damages in excess of £200,000. Details of Iceland’s defence are as yet unknown and the case will come before a Judge in due course.

Kim Smerdon, an accident at work claims lawyer, says:

“Employers must provide a safe place and safe system of work for their employees and in this case it seems that they did not do so. Manual handling should be avoided if at all possible but, if it cannot be avoided, employees must receive adequate training to ensure that they can move things safely. It seems that if the cages had not been so fully loaded and indeed if Mrs Emery had a work colleague to assist her then the accident could have been avoided”.

Alton Towers accident - UPDATE

We previously reported that four people were seriously injured in the tragic accident earlier this week on the Smiler ride at Alton Towers. One of the ride’s carriages, carrying 16 people, collided with another carriage causing severe injuries to passengers in the carriage.

It is understood that Alton Towers have accepted “full responsibility” for the accident and are working with the families, together with their solicitors, to assist in urgent treatment, surgery and rehabilitation for all concerned.

One of the victims is sadly reported to have had her left leg amputated above the knee while another (her boyfriend) remains in hospital with two broken knees and severe hand injuries. The other two passengers, still in hospital, also have severe injuries but are reported to be in a stable condition.

Alton Towers’ representatives, who are attending personally on each and every family of those injured in the accident, confirm that they will take full responsibility and will ensure that compensation is paid out to them. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are currently investigating the incident and has taken the carriages involved in the crash to their laboratory for further analysis.

Theme park enthusiasts have reported that that the park is like a “ghost town” with hardly any people around. Others have said, having purchased tickets months in advance of going, that they felt that the park would be at its safest at this point.

Following an amputation injury, there is a significant period that one needs to wait for the injury to heal and thereafter enter into a strenuous and lengthy rehabilitation program. Considerations would need to be made in relation to prosthetics and specialist expert advice would need to be sought to ensure the best option for the injured party. Apart from the physical trauma there is also a significant element of psychological difficulty which the injured party needs to come to terms with following a loss of a limb and there any many support organisations out there that do a fantastic job to help amputees to think positively and get back to their lives.

Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day 2015

The Spinal Injuries Association (SCI) is hoping to raise awareness of the causes and impact a spinal cord injury can have on a person today.

Every 8 hours in the UK, a person is told they will never walk again as a result of a spinal cord injury.

The SCI works with people affected by a spinal injury to try and ensure that people with a spinal cord injury receive the specialist treatment, care, rehabilitation and support they need. This in turns allows them to be fully integrated and empowered participants in society.

A spinal cord injury can be a life changing event for a person and their family. A spinal cord injury can result in complete paralysis or it can be less severe.  However, a spinal cord injury can also affect bladder and bowel function.

Cauda equina syndrome is a specific type of spinal cord injury. This is where the nerves at the bottom of the spine (known as the cauda equina or “horse’s tail”) are compressed, often by a protruding disc. It is these nerves that control bladder and bowel function and if they are compressed for too long, permanent damage can be sustained.

Paralysed motorcyclist to finally receive compensation

James West, a 25 year old motorcyclist, who was left paralysed from the waist down following an motorcycle accident in August 2012, is to finally receive his compensation following a High Court Judge ruling that he was in no way to blame for the accident.

James was riding his Kawasaki motorcycle along the B6047 in Leicestershire when he was hit by a truck driven by an employee of M A Clay Contracting.

The driver, Michael Myrie, was driving a Scania tipper lorry laden with asphalt travelling ahead of James in the same direction. Realising he had missed the right turning to his destination, Mr Myrie did a U turn into a layby so he could turn back. At this point, James was travelling at a reasonable speed and was attempting to overtake the lorry. However, the driver did not check his mirrors and see James and continued with the manoeuvre causing James to plough into the truck, unable to avoid the collision.

M A Clay denied liability at the Trial but the Judge found the lorry driver to be 100% responsible for the accident.

Sadly James, a former plumbing and heating engineer, suffered life changing injuries including a spinal cord break which left him paraplegic as well as a fractured skull and broken ribs.

James’ solicitors will now press for a substantial pay out to help fund his care and rehabilitation and much needed adaptations to his two storey home.

Kim Smerdon, specialist motorcycle accident claims solicitor, comments:

“Hopefully James can receive full compensation to allow him to have the best quality of life he can despite the awful injuries he has sustained. He will have significant and lifelong needs but will hopefully have the peace of mind that these costs will be covered by his compensation”.

Mother of three dies following weight loss surgery

It was shocking to read of the tragic case of a mother of three who died following a gastric sleeve operation due to a puncture to the stomach.

The patient underwent the weight loss operation in January 2008 at University College Hospital in London.  The surgeon converted to an open procedure as he found that patient had an enlarged liver and that she suffered internal bleeding.

After the operation, the patient began suffering with feverish symptoms.  She underwent a further operation so that doctors could try to find out the cause.  They did not discover the puncture.

The patient underwent a third operation but unfortunately she did not improve. She was diagnosed with blood poisoning and multiple organ failure and very sadly she died 10 days later.

The family sought legal advice and launched a legal investigation into the care this patient received.  The hospital trust settled the claim with the patient’s family for an undisclosed amount.  It is unclear whether the hospital admitted their alleged mistakes.

Sita Soni, solicitor with the Boyes Turner Medical Negligence team, comments:

“It is appalling to read of not only the stomach being punctured in the first place, but also the failure to recognise it both during the initial operation and later procedures causing permanent and irreparable damage and this lady’s tragic death.”

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