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Spinal Injury Claims

The spinal cord is a vital part of our bodies and incredibly complex. Along with the brain, the spinal cord is your body’s central nervous system, controlling all your bodily movements and functions. It is essentially a bundle of nerves around 18 inches long which transmit nerve impulses between the brain and the rest of your body.

Injuries to the spinal cord are serious, typically causing permanent life changing damage, where the injuries prevent many of the bodily functions we take for granted. If the spinal cord is damaged, the results can be mild or, in the worst cases, the impact can be physically catastrophic.

So-called ‘complete’ injuries involve the spinal cord being completely severed. ‘Incomplete’ spinal injuries are still serious, but not usually quite so catastrophic as complete injuries.

Damage to the spinal cord can be caused by diseases and degenerative conditions such as polio and spina bifida; and it can also be caused by avoidable incidents, such as workplace accidents, car and motorbike accidents, medical negligence and accidents in a public place.

If you or a loved one have suffered any form of spinal injury and it wasn’t your fault, our experienced and sympathetic advisors can take you through the first steps of making a no win no fee spinal injury claim.

How much compensation you may win when making a spinal injury claim or a back injury claim in the UK depends on a range of factors. But the most serious spinal cord injuries cases deserve a significant level of personal injury compensation to reflect the harm caused.

Making your claim

Getting started with your no win no fee claim is simple – simply give our trained legal advisers a call on 0800 234 6438 to access free no obligation advice. They’ll talk you through your spinal injury accident, explain your options then partner you with a specialist team of personal injury solicitors within a spinal injury claims team who will claim your road traffic accident compensation, for example.

Find out more about car injury compensation.

You need not worry about how much your personal injury claim could cost. This is because your case will be taken on a No Win No Fee basis – which means you will not have to pay out any legal fees if you do not win.

A specialist team of personal injury solicitors is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – giving you much needed peace of mind during the spinal cord injury claims process. You can also get support services for your injuries from the Spinal Injuries Association, including advice about the rehabilitation services available.

DID YOU KNOW: Every year, around 2,500 people in the UK suffer a spinal cord injury
SOURCE: The Spinal Injuries Association

What are the different types of spinal injury?

The spinal cord is housed and protected by the spinal canal, which is a type of ‘tunnel’ made up of the vertebrae. The effects of spinal cord injury are invariably serious and long-lasting. Unfortunately, the higher up the cord the injury, the more serious the damage done.

It can be helpful to victims of this type of injury to understand the different types of spinal cord injuries and some of the effects of spinal injuries:

Cervical spinal cord injury

Affecting the top portion of the spinal cord (around the C-1 to C-7 vertebrae). This is the most serious form of spinal injury which has devastating consequences because it damages the part of the spinal cord nearest the brain. This form of injury results in full or partial paralysis (tetraplegia/ quadriplegia), loss of feeling and/or movement below the neck. Other complications can also arise.

Thoracic spinal cord injury

Affecting the part of the spinal cord in the upper/middle part of the back. Depending on the type of nerve damage caused, the symptoms can range from pain radiating into the arms and legs, leg weakness, loss of feeling and loss of rectal and sexual function.

Lumbar spinal cord injury

This affects the lower middle portion of the spinal cord where the lumbar vertebrae is found. If damaged, can cause loss of function and feeling in the hips and legs. Unfortunately, lumbar spinal cord injury also results in lack of bladder and bowel control, which can be very distressing and lead to life changing injuries. A wheelchair may be necessary for some victims of this form of injury.

Sacral spinal cord injury

Affecting the lower part of the spine and the coccyx (tail bone). Symptoms, apart from physical pain, can include loss of hip and leg function and lack of bowel and bladder functions. Sacral spinal cord damage in this area is thankfully quite rare.

Spinal cord injuries are not always the same as back injuries – you can, for instance, break your back but the spinal cord can remain intact and unaffected. Spinal injuries can heal relatively quickly (unlike spinal cord injuries) but you can still claim compensation if they were caused through no fault of your own.

If you have sustained a spinal cord or other form of back injury, contact us now 0800 234 6438 for a sensitive and free consultation chat about how specialist solicitors can get spinal injury compensation cover for you.

DID YOU KNOW: Your spine is supported by more than 120 muscles and 220 ligaments. Unfortunately, the spinal cord cannot repair itself once injured. Researchers are working on new technologies to replace the function of the damaged nerves.
SOURCE: Sapnamed.com

What are the most common causes of spinal injury?

Most spinal cord injuries occur as a result of accidents, such as car and sporting accidents, and falls. We’ve all heard the stories of young people who have dived off cliffs and rocks into water to cool off, only to break their necks in shallow waters – suffering life-long injuries.

In the UK, the most likely causes of spinal injury are:

  • Falls from heights
  • Road traffic accident
  • Sports injuries, such as diving and trampoline accidents
  • Gunshot and knife wounds
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Medical negligence
  • Workplace accidents
  • Infections
  • Injuries during delivery and birth

The fact is, any incident that involves someone’s neck or spine being compressed beyond its natural limits is highly likely to result in significant damage to the spine and spinal cord.


Manual handling in the workplace is a high risk activity which frequently causes back injuries


Am I eligible to make a claim?

Anyone who has been injured as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault is able to claim compensation. So if you’ve sustained a spinal injury and you weren’t to blame, it is really important to start a personal injury claim as early as possible because of the likely significant impact on your life.

Most accidents happen because of negligence or a breach of someone’s duty of care towards the injured person. If your spinal injury is the direct result of negligence or breach of duty, we can help you on the road to claiming the compensation you deserve. If you are a worker or employee or a member of the public, you should almost certainly be able to make a spinal injury claim.

While we know that money can never undo the damage done, it can go a long way to making your recovery and future life easier for you and your family.

Spinal Injury Compensation Payouts UK

Injuries to the spine, particularly to the spinal cord, can cause immediate and significant damage and physical disability that may well be lifelong. For these reasons, compensation levels for spinal injuries can be significant – and rightly so. You deserve to be compensated for the extent of your suffering and pain, as well as any costs involved in making all your rehabilitation smooth and comfortable.

How much spinal injury claims are worth depends on a number of factors in your case. This includes the nature and extent of the injury itself and the longer-lasting effects of the injury on your body.

However, while it is very difficult to give guidelines figures for your spinal injury claim so early on, there are official guidelines for compensation which personal injury specialists follow. These suggest, for example:

  • Paralysis (depending on the nature and extent or paralysis) – a range of £205,000 to £380,000
  • Other severe injuries to the spinal cord and nerve roots – £76,120 to £134,590
  • Serious neck injury causing, e.g. incomplete paraplegia or long term little or no neck movement – £124,030
  • Moderate back injuries – £10,450 to £23,210

Feel free to try our online compensation calculator for a rough, initial estimate of how much your spinal injury compensation claim is worth – but bear in mind it should only be treated as a guide. Your specialist spinal injury solicitors can discuss this with you in more detail.

General damages may also cover an amount for psychological trauma. Spinal injuries can be devastating and cause mental health problems as well as physical disability, and it’s only right that you should be able to make a claim for an additional sum to compensate you for psychological impact of your injuries.

Special damages

In addition to these general damages, your spinal injury solicitors will be able to make a legal claim for your actual financial loss – past and future. These are called ‘special damages’ and are intended to ensure you’re not left out of pocket. Special damages covers items such as:

  • Loss of earnings, bonuses and overtime
  • Prescription costs and other medical expenses, eg the cost of further surgery
  • Rehabilitation costs including the cost involved in having adaptations on your home, a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and long term physiotherapy

It is important to keep all receipts, invoices and pay slips of losses to date to pass onto your specialist spinal injury solicitor in due course. These will be used to build your claim for special damages.

What is the average settlement for a spinal injury?

There is no average spinal or back injury, which naturally means there’s no average settlement figure we can offer as a ballpark figure so early on. You and your personal injury, and its effects on your life, are unique – it really does depend on your own situation.

That’s why it’s vital to discuss your case with spinal injury specialists to ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation that you deserve. They will take full details from you, particularly the nature of your injury (you may also have suffered brain injury or other injury), how your recovering is going; and any disability and other symptoms you are experiencing and your prognosis for the future.

This information, along with medical evidence, will be vital to enable your lawyers to negotiate a fair settlement for your spinal injury claim.

Spinal injury and your long term inability to work

Sadly, a significant proportion of victims of spinal injury can no longer work in their usual capacity; some people with spinal cord injuries cannot work at all. In the most serious cases, which may also involved a brain injury, the injured person is permanently disabled, often paralysed, face having to rely on carers for their basis needs.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, you may also be facing the prospect of having to reconfigure your home to make it accessible. You might also need to make adaptations such as a downstairs wet room, a wheelchair-friendly kitchen and a stairlift. Such items cost significant amounts of money.

Thankfully, spinal injury claims can include amounts for any costs like this that are reasonable in the circumstances, to ensure you can live life with your injuries as comfortably as possible.

That said, in many cases, it can take months and sometimes a year or more for medical experts to give an accurate prognosis – your specialist solicitor will not advise settling your claim for compensation until it is known what the long term impact of your injuries is likely to be.

Could I secure interim payments?

During the course of many spinal injury claims, it’s possible to secure interim spinal injury compensation to help you in the short term before the claim finally settles. Interim payments can cover the cost of specialist treatment such as occupational therapy and medical treatment and can make a huge difference to your day to day life as you recover.

However, interim payments can only be secured if the other side has admitted liability. If they admit responsibility for your injury, an initial compensation payment can be made by the insurer to enable certain costs to be met. This will then be deducted from the final settlement once agreed.

If you are unable to work but need money to help you return home, it is important to discuss this with your spinal cord injury solicitors urgently. They will be able to discuss your immediate and short term needs with you and negotiate an interim payment if responsibility has been accepted.

What about claiming for spinal injury rehabilitation?

Spinal injury rehabilitation is a crucial part of recovering from this type of injury and learning to live with the long term impact of it. Without the support of your dedicated spinal injury rehabilitation team, you will be unlikely to reach your full potential following your injury.

Dependent on your injuries, ‘step down’ rehab in adapted accommodation may be the next step once you’re ready to leave hospital. This can be a first step to enable longer term independent living. This type of rehab can include physiotherapy treatment and other forms of physical therapy to help in your recovery.

The costs of this should be met by the defendant’s insurance company as part of your claim.

Other forms of spinal injury rehab includes orthotics, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, neuropsychology and counselling, and art therapy. These service are expensive but necessary for your recovery and the costs can be claimed as part of your overall compensation claim.

How long will my spinal cord compensation claim take?

Spinal injury claims are, by their very nature, more complex than most other personal injury claims. Even if the other side admits liability, it can take a long time to investigate and gather all the information required to enable your solicitor to make begin informed negotiations to reach a fair settlement.

It can take a long time to receive an accurate prognosis following a spinal injury. You need to know that your specialist solicitors will not advise settling your claim until it is known what the long term impact of your injuries is likely to be.

For these reasons, it could take a long time to conclude your claim so it’s important to begin early. Thankfully, most accident claims do still settle before court proceedings becomes necessary but if court becomes a possibility, your solicitor will talk you through the court process.

Get in touch with us today on 0800 234 6438 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced team of specialist spinal injury lawyers.

Will I require a medical assessment before or during the claim?

The particular challenge with spinal injuries is that the full extent of how they affect your bodily functions and movement can take a long time to become apparent. Your solicitors will start to gather evidence to support your claim, including obtaining your medical records relating to your injuries so far.

Expert medical evidence from a specialist doctor will also become necessary – your solicitor will arrange this for you when the time comes. The specialist will look into the full background of your injury, examine you carefully and discuss your ongoing physical limitations and symptoms.

The medical expert will then write a detailed report setting out their view on your injury and the longer-term prognosis.  Your lawyers will rely on this to negotiate a fair settlement for ‘general damages’ to compensate you for your injury, pain and suffering.

How can I make my claim?

If you or a family member have suffered a spinal cord injury or other spinal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you should be able to make an injury claim. It’s important to get early advice from specialist lawyers, so contact us early and we can help you make a no win no fee injury claim.

If the injury happened at work, make sure it has been formally logged in the employer’s/organisation’s accident logbook and that it has been reported to the Health & Safety Executive under RIDDOR.

It is also wise to keep a diary to record changes, such as deterioration in feeling and movement, as well as the wider impact on your life. All this information will be crucial in helping your solicitor build the strongest possible case on your behalf, enabling you to recover maximum compensation.

We will give you free guidance as to how you we can help you make your injury claim. We understand it must be a very distressing time for you and your family but you can be assured that we speak sensitively and compassionately with you, so that we can understand the impact on you and the level of advice you deserve.

How long do I have claim compensation after injury?

You have a three-year time limit from the date of the accident to start legal proceedings for compensation. After three years, you may be ‘time barred’ from making a claim for injury compensation, which could be disastrous in the event of a spinal injury.

However, the law recognises that some injuries are so serious that the injured person loses their mental capacity. In these cases, the three-year period does not start to run until the individual regains their mental capacity.

To find out we will help you make a claim, get in touch as soon as you can and speak with us on 0800 234 6438, or arrange a call back using the claim form on this page.

DID YOU KNOW: Some 2,500 people a year are injured or diagnosed with a spinal cord injury in the UK – around 35 a week. Around 50,000 people are now living with a spinal cord injury.


Around 78% of 34,733 spinal injury cases in the US occur in males and the average age at the date of injury was 35.8 years

SOURCE: FlintRehab


A man who suffered severe spinal cord injuries after being struck by a vehicle on private land is to be awarded at least €1m after the European court said the Motor Insurers Bureau must make the pay-out. Michael Lewis was left paralyzed after his neck was broken in the crash.

SOURCE: Lincolnshire Live


£3.4m compensation – the amount of compensation recovered by an engineer left paraplegic after falling from the side of partially dismantled glass lift on a construction site

SOURCE: Bournemouth Echo


A 46-year-old HGV driver suffered lumbar and cervical spine injuries and concussion after stepped backwards and falling of the back of his lorry. He had been loading goods for a food producer at the time


Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).
About the Author

Nicola Laver LLB

Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.

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