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The impact of a back or spinal cord injury can be truly life-changing – both for yourself and your family. It often has lasting consequences for your quality of life and how you do things.

This can be especially hard to come to terms with if the injury is a result of an accident that was not your fault. But it is in these exact situations that our spinal injury solicitors are on hand to help.  

Making a spinal injury compensation claim requires the skills and knowledge of our legal experts – specialist solicitors who know how to deal with all aspects of your needs at what we appreciate can be a tough time. Led by Spinal Injury Association panel member Kim Smerdon, our personal injury team have the experience needed to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

How can Boyes Turner help you?

We are leading spinal injury compensation claim specialists with more than 30 years’ experience of helping people and their families come to terms with often complex and life-changing injuries.

Our dedicated team of spinal injury solicitors can provide advice and assistance informed by our substantial depth of legal knowledge. We also have long-established links with the associations and charities who help those with spinal injuries get the care, support and rehabilitation they need.

You can be safe in the knowledge that our solicitors are leading experts in this area. Our priority is to work closely with you throughout your spinal cord injury claim. We can advise you on how we will establish fault and secure compensation so you can rebuild your life after spinal injury.

We will ensure that you have access to funds in the immediate and long term to meet any rehabilitation costs, nursing care, accommodation needs, disability aids, specialist equipment or  transport expenses, as well as providing much-needed funds to cover any lost income. This can be obtained by interim payments where liability is admitted or partly admitted in the earlier stages of your claim, before a final settlement is reached.

To start the process or for more information about how we can help, get in touch with us today.

Why you can trust our spinal injury solicitors

Spinal cord damage has an instant and dramatic impact on someone’s life. After such a life-changing event, there is a significant period of readjustment and support to adapt to. At such a distressing and uncertain time, our specialist spinal injury solicitors can give you the legal, financial and practical advice and clear guidance you need to help you and your family cope better with the immediate and long term impact that a spinal injury can have.

A free initial consultation between us will help you find out what your options are. If you decide to go ahead with a spinal injury claim, your case can be funded under a Conditional Fee Agreement (or no win no fee agreement) This means that, if your claim is unsuccessful, you do not have to pay anything.

At all times, our approach is to work with you and your family as necessary to ensure maximum compensation to help you rebuild your lives. But this is not the only reason why you can rely on our spinal injury solicitors. Our skills and expertise have achieved the following recognition:

You can also trust us with your spinal injury claim based on our proven track record in securing compensation for people just like you. Read more about some of the spinal injury compensation cases we have worked on – including a £160,000 award for the victim of a road traffic accident.

Speak to us today and discover why we are the right people to support your spinal injury claim. Call us on 0800 124 4845 or get in touch using our online form.

What is a spinal injury?

Your spine is both complex and critical. It is the central nerve communication system that links your brain with other parts of your body. If the bones that make up the spine – the vertebrae – are damaged, they will generally heal. But these vertebrae also surround and protect a long strand of nerves and tissue called the spinal cord. Any damage to this is usually much more serious.

A spinal injury or myelopathy is a disturbance of the spinal cord that results in loss of sensation and mobility in other parts of the body. The spinal cord does not have to be severed completely for loss of function to occur. In most cases of spinal cord injury, the cord remains intact.

This is also why it is possible to suffer a broken back or neck without being paralysed. This can happen if vertebrae are damaged but the spinal cord is left unharmed.

Why is the spinal cord so important?

The spinal cord controls a wide range of movement and sensations in other parts of the body. It sends and receives messages from the brain to nerves that control limbs, organs and other core functions. You can think of it as the body’s main information superhighway.

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that come off the cord itself, which are called upper motor neurons. The nerves that branch out from the cord to other parts of the body are called lower motor neurons.

A common cause of damage to the spinal cord is when it swells and is then damaged in the narrow space between the vertebrae. If this occurs, scar tissue forms and prevents new nerve pathways from being created. This is why any paralysis that happens as a result is often permanent.

How common is a spinal cord injury?

Aspire, Back Up and the Spinal Injuries Association are three leading spinal cord injury charities. Their joint research estimates there are 50,000 people in the UK living with paralysis. It is also tetimated that 2,500 people are “injured or diagnosed with a life-changing spinal cord injury” each year.

But being more common than first thought is no consolation if you find yourself in that position – not least when it is through no fault of your own. Our dedicated spinal injury solicitors know just how difficult it can be to rebuild your life after an accident that causes a loss of mobility or sensation. But we are here to help ensure that you get the spinal injury rehabilitation and compensation you deserve.

What are the main causes of a spinal cord injury?

Road traffic accidents, falls, criminal attacks and sports injuries are some of the main causes of spinal injuries, according to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines published in February 2016.

In truth, a spinal cord injury or myelopathy can happen in any situation where the neck or back is broken. If this happens, it can damage the nerves or tissues within the spinal column. As it is the result of an external and sudden blow to the spine, it is often known as a "traumatic injury".

The British Orthopaedic Association has previously estimated that 75% of all spinal cord injuries are due to trauma. While this includes the causes listed above, a traumatic spinal injury can also be the result of an accident at work or medical negligence.

If a spinal injury is referred to as “non-traumatic”, this can include inflammation or infection of the nerves or tissues within the spinal column, tumours, diseases of the nervous system or any degenerative condition.

It is important to remember that, where your injury is caused by an accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim − and our specialist spinal injury solicitors can help.

What are the different types of spinal cord injury?

Paraplegia is the loss of sensation and movement in the legs and in parts of the trunk usually resulting from an injury to the nerves below the neck.

Tetraplegia (or Quadriplegia) is the paralysis of all four limbs from the neck down resulting from an injury to the spinal cord in the neck.

Injuries are classed as complete or incomplete.

In a complete injury, both sides of the body are affected equally and the individual will be left with no function from the injury level down. This includes muscle control, voluntary movement or sensation. It is also an important reason why the impact of a spinal cord injury can be more serious if it happens higher up the body.

In contrast, an incomplete injury is where there might still be some sensation below where the spinal cord is damaged. If this happens to you in an accident, you may be able to move one limb more than another or may have sensation in some parts of the body. But it can still cause paralysis in other parts of the body.

What do numbers and letters mean in your diagnosis?

If you suffer a spinal injury, medical professionals often use a combination of numbers and letters to help describe which part of the spine and which level has been injured. As the level, or lesion, of the injury is critical when assessing which parts of the body could be affected, numbers and letters are used to help identify them.

The levels are groups of nerves along the spinal column and are divided into four distinct areas: cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. The letters used will refer to one of these four areas, while the numbers detail which vertebrae are affected within that section:  

  • Injury to C3 (cervical) vertebrae and above often causes the loss of diaphragm function. As a result, the individual may require a ventilator to breathe.
  • Injury to C4 vertebrae may still allow some use of the biceps and shoulders, but this will be weaker than an injury to C5 and lower.
  • Injury to C5 vertebrae may result in function in the shoulders and biceps, but not in the wrists or hands.
  • Injury to C6 vertebrae may result in some wrist control, but loss of hand function.
  • Injury to C7 and T1 (thoracic) vertebrae usually lets the individual straighten their arms, but there will be dexterity problems with the hands and fingers.
  • Injury to T1 - T8 will result in some hand control, but lack of abdominal muscle control.
  • Injury to T9 - T12 will mean there is some trunk and abdominal muscle control. This can be any part of the body excluding the head, neck, arms and legs.
  • Injuries to the lumbar (lower back) and sacral regions will generally result in paralysis of the legs, hips and anus. These injuries are referred to as L or S.

These letters and numbers are often combined with ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’ to provide a fuller assessment of the spinal cord injury and the effect it is likely to have.  If both sides of your body are affected and there is no muscle function, voluntary movement or sensation at the injury level and below, the injury is ‘complete’.  If you have some muscle function below your injury or you still have some sensation, the injury is ‘incomplete’.  For example, a medical professional may refer to your spinal injury as ‘C4/T6/L1 complete’.

Why should you make a spinal injury claim?

In the aftermath of a spinal injury, we appreciate the most important thing you and your family want to focus on is the recovery process. Money is often a distant thought at a time when health and wellbeing takes priority.

However, we also appreciate that if you have suffered a life changing spinal injury, it is likely to have a profound impact on your work or education, home and family life, mobility and independence, long term physical and psychological wellbeing, care needs and financial needs.

At Boyes Turner, our spinal injury team will ensure that you get practical and professional advice about all of these aspects arising from your injury.  We will arrange for you to have access to rehabilitation, treatment and support after you have been discharged from hospital to enable you to regain your independence and start to rebuild your life – this will range from physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, psychological treatment, occupational therapy (in the home or local community), transport and mobility needs, home adaptations, care package, aids and equipment.

Ultimately, a spinal injury compensation claim should put you back in the position you would have been financially had you not had your accident so that you feel more secure about the future.  But the claims process should also give you peace of mind as you get on with the rest of your life, that your rehabilitation needs have been met and will continue to be met, to allow you to live your best life after spinal injury.

Our expert personal injury team are here to help you achieve the outcome you need. Get in touch or call on 0800 124 4845 today.

How does the claims process work?

The claims process is often a straightforward one that generally involves a few clear stages. Our specialist spinal injury solicitors are highly experienced in supporting people and their families at what can be an emotional and challenging time.

Our aim is to give you the confidence and reassurance you need at each stage.

To start a claim, you can turn to us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss whether you are entitled to make a claim, as well as if we can take your case on a no win no fee basis. We will provide you with the expert advice you need to make an informed decision.

If you decide that you do wish to claim spinal injury compensation, our next step is to gather the evidence and witness statements needed to build a strong case. We will arrange for you to undergo all relevant and necessary medical examinations which allows us to fully understand the impact of the injury, how it will continue to affect you and your family and what help you will need in the future.

With this information, your solicitor will be in a position to calculate the amount of compensation we believe you should receive. After this, we will contact the other side’s insurer and try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

In some rare instances, your claim might need to go to court. We understand this can feel like a source of unnecessary stress or anxiety. Please don’t worry, however. Your solicitor will continue to negotiate to avoid this where possible. And we will remain at your side until your claim is settled.

How do spinal injuries affect people?

A spinal injury affects different people in different ways. How an injury could affect you now and into the future will depend on its location and its seriousness.

The most extensive and life-changing impact is caused by injuries to the neck, or cervical, region. These usually result in full or partial tetraplegia or quadriplegia – paralysis of 3 or 4 limbs. Some function may be possible depending on the exact location, but normally there is complete paralysis.

If the damage to the spinal cord occurs further down, it often causes injury and paralysis of the lower limbs. This is known as paraplegia. In addition, loss or reduction in limb use could also be accompanied by:

  • Spasticity: Feelings of stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms.
  • Sexual dysfunction: Impotence, pain during sex or loss of desire, all of which can affect your personal relationships.
  • Muscle atrophy: The wasting or loss of muscle tissue. This is when muscles are not used due to reduced physical activity. Neurogenic atrophy can take place if there is damage to a nerve that connects to the muscle.
  • Neuropathic pain: Known as neuralgia, this is chronic or long-term pain that can result from damage to the part of the nervous system that transmits pain signals. It does not have the protective role of acute pain, so it must be properly diagnosed and treated.
  • Gall bladder and renal stones: These can be caused by an injury that has resulted in urinary incontinence and loss of bowel or bladder function.
  • Osteoporosis: This condition affects the bones and causes them to become weak. As the bone structure is more fragile, they are more likely to break or fracture.
  • Loss of involuntary functions: In some cases, an individual may lose the ability to breathe unassisted.

With more than 30 years’ experience, our spinal injury solicitors understand exactly how a spinal injury can affect you and your family. We are committed to helping you overcome the challenges you face now and in the future, using our extensive skills and expertise to secure the compensation you deserve.

Get in touch or call on 0800 124 4845 today.

How are spinal injuries treated?

When you suffer a spinal injury, it is likely that you will need to stay in hospital for an extended length of time. The Spinal Injuries Association suggests this can be 3-9 months, depending on the nature of your injury.

As a guide, however, paraplegia can lead to a hospital stay of up to 6 months. If tetraplegia is the outcome of your injuries, you will typically have to stay in hospital for around 6-9 months.

Once you are ready to leave hospital, there can also be many months of rehabilitation involved to help you adapt to life after your accident (such as physiotherapy/hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological treatment and ongoing consultation review appointments). Sadly, there is currently no cure for damage to the spinal cord and it is almost always irreversible.

Efforts continue to be focused on helping those living with spinal injuries; there are many new scientific and medical advances underway, for example, stem cell combination therapies to promote the regeneration of new axions within the spinal cord are being clinically trialed all over the world.

For now, however, our goal is to use our experience to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families by focusing on early rehabilitation and training. Our access to case managers ensures that practical assistance can be given as soon as possible.

We can also arrange for interim spinal injury compensation payments to be made −helping you deal with any pressing financial needs or purchase any necessary equipment.

What support is there for people with a spinal cord injury?

Our priority is to work closely with the families of an injured person. We can help to secure early payments to help cover unplanned, yet essential, expenses such as rehabilitation costs, nursing care, disability aids, specialist equipment and transport costs, as well as replacing lost income.

You can also turn to organisations such as the Spinal Injuries Association, the national charity for people with spinal cord injuries and their families. More than half of the association’s staff and 80% of its trustees are living with spinal injuries themselves.

Using this shared experience, the charity “help spinal cord injured people lead fulfilled lives” – providing information, advice and support to help you adapt to the circumstances of your injury.

How much does it cost to make spinal injury claim?

For some people, the idea of making a spinal injury claim can sound expensive. But we believe strongly that anyone who is injured through no fault of their own should have an opportunity to make a claim. It is why our solicitors may be able to take your case on a no win no fee basis.

This is something we can advise as part of our initial consultation. It means that, if your claim is not successful for whatever reason, you will not have to pay anything. A helpful guide to funding your claim can give more information on what this exactly entails.

How much compensation could you receive?

Just like any individual, each spinal injury compensation claim is different. The total amount that you could obtain is based entirely on your unique circumstances. It takes into account several factors, such as any costs you’ve incurred, income you’ve lost and any future requirements you have.

General damages

This is the amount that you could be awarded for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity (impact on day to day life) caused by your injuries. Medical evidence is required to prove what injuries you have suffered. The Judicial College sets out guidelines for the range of general damages that can be paid based on the part(s) of the body affected and the severity of the injury.

Special damages

This is the amount you could be awarded for any financial losses or expenses you incur as a result of your injuries both now and in the future. Your personal injury solicitor will factor in the other considerations that are unique to your claim. This can include:

  • Lost earnings/pension from not being able to work
  • Care needs
  • Medical treatment for physical/psychological injuries
  • Travel expenses
  • Ongoing care/rehabilitation requirements
  • Modifications to your home or your vehicle
  • Aids and equipment

How long do you have to make a spinal injury claim?

Any claim for a spinal injury caused in an accident must be made within three years. There are a handful of exceptions to this time limit, however, if you are claiming on behalf of:

  • A child under the age of 18
  • A loved one who lacks the capacity to claim themselves
  • A loved one who has passed away due to their injuries

In such cases and even if you are coming to the end of the three-year time limit yourself, please get in touch to see if our spinal injury solicitors can help. Call 0800 124 4845 or contact us using our dedicated online form.

Start the claims process with Boyes Turner today

If an accident that was not your fault has left you with life-changing spinal injuries, you and your family are not alone. Our highly skilled spinal injury solicitors are committed to ensuring that you get the advice, support and compensation you need to overcome any challenges you now face.

For any questions you have or to start the process, contact our team or call 0800 124 4845 and let our free initial consultation show the spinal injury claim options that are available to you.

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"Happy to recommend your services"

Thank you again for all you have done for us and the way you have done it. We would be happy to recommend your services to anyone else in a similar position.

Boyes Turner client

"I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery"

"It really does turn your life upside down in a moment, not just for me but for my family as well. It’s been a difficult journey, sometimes very emotional, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in my recovery and in being able to tell this story tooMy story shows what can be achieved with the support of the right people and a little determination. I look back on where I was and I’m delighted with where I am now. I’ve still got a way to go and I still have some effects from the accident to deal with but I hope people see what I’ve achieved and it helps them as they begin their recovery."

Jessica Stevens

"We'd like to express our thanks to Kim and the team at Boyes Turner..."

We’d like to express our thanks to Kim and the team at Boyes Turner for the expertise, experience and professionalism in handling our daughter’s serious injury claim following a road accident. From arranging a team of rehab specialists and the necessary funding to the negotiation of the final very satisfactory settlement, the whole operation has been conducted very smoothly and we can recommend their service to anyone in a similar position.

"Thank you so much for all you have done..."

Thank you so much for all you have done for C and the family. I know that you have absolutely given it everything you’ve got and your devotion and commitment to the case has been spectacular.

Third party forensic accountant

"I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks..."

I wanted to take the opportunity to express my thanks to you for your professional attitude and handling of the claim throughout this tragic case.  It is in cases like this where the compensation can never compensate for the loss suffered, but hopefully it will help in some way to move forward.

Third party insurer