Serious Injury

Selecting Your Spinal Injury Solicitor: Key Tips

February 14, 2024
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Spinal injuries can be life-changing. Fletchers has stood up for spinal injury claimants for over 30 years to make sure they get the compensation they deserve.

According to the Spinal Injuries Association, 2,500 people every year are injured or diagnosed with an injury to their spinal cord. The Association estimates that there are 50,000 people in the UK living with a spinal cord injury.

We understand the challenges that a spinal cord injury presents. Because of the work we’ve carried out for our valued clients over the past 35 years, we have seen first-hand, that the adaptations you are forced to make in your every-day life, are often profound.

In this article, we explain the role of a spine injury lawyer, and the types of spinal injuries our solicitors work. We will also  share four stories of how we helped clients living with a spinal injury.

The role of a spinal injury solicitor

A spine injury lawyer has a crucial role to provide specialised legal support to clients who have endured a spinal injury. They guide you through the complex process of establishing who was at fault for your injury, and awarding compensation to you that you’ll benefit from now and in the future.

Investigation and discovery

First, we carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to sustaining your spinal injury.

If you were injured due to a medical procedure, we examine your case’s medical records. We work closely with expert medical professionals, who help us build up a body of evidence to identify any negligence or malpractice that may have been at play.

There are a number of circumstances where you may have suffered a spinal cord injury. You might have injured your spine at work, for example. In these cases, we investigate your working conditions and practices. We review your employer’s safety procedures and whether you received the proper training, for example, for the machinery you used when you sustained your injury. We speak to witnesses and consult with occupational health and safety experts to uncover and prove any liability on the part of your employer for the accident.

Accidents that result in spinal injuries occur under many different types of circumstances. Later in this article, we explore the most commonly occurring situations that lead to spinal injuries.

Negotiation and settlement

Second, with an established timeline of events, we then approach the responsible party and their insurer.

We strongly argue your case, sharing the detailed evidence we have gathered on the events that led up to your accident. In the most explicit terms, we explain the gravity of the injury you’re now living with and its impact on your life.

The settlement size we negotiate is more than securing compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured. It’s also about looking to the future. Your injury may incur significant financial burdens, like medical costs and ongoing care requirements. You’ll also need to be reimbursed for potential loss of income and other benefits you may have otherwise received – like pension contributions.

In many spinal injury compensation cases, you don’t receive a sum of money all at once. We often seek interim payments for clients to provide you with financial relief before a final settlement. Clients often use these for medical expenses, home modifications, and ongoing care.

Sometimes, we negotiate annual payments over and above a settlement figure. This all depends on your particular circumstances, though, and we’ll advise you of this during the negotiations of your case.

There for our clients

When one of our spine injury lawyers represents you, they keep you informed at all stages of progress. If you have any questions or want to share an insight that might be useful, your legal team is always available to chat this through.

We understand that many people living with a spinal cord injury don’t want the added stresses and complications of bringing a case. They don’t want to have to prove that their employer or the medical team looking after them let them down.

You don’t have to be concerned about any of this. It’s our job to build a strong case for you, and to robustly negotiate with the other party on your behalf. We’ve been doing this for clients for over 30 years now, and we hope to have the opportunity to represent you.

Our spine injury lawyer specialisms

An integral part of the serious injury cases team, our spinal cord injury solicitors are experts in building watertight legal arguments for their clients. This approach means you receive the compensation you deserve for damages, loss of income, ongoing medical care and lifestyle adaptations caused by your new condition.

Our spine injury lawyers work with leading doctors and consultants on your case so they can turn complex medical information into solid legal arguments.

Your solicitor has a deep working knowledge of UK personal injury laws. They have the skill and insight to apply the law to your situation. That’s no matter whether you were injured at work, on the road or in the hands of medical professionals.

They piece together evidence from medical consultants, hospital and GP records and expert testimonies to build a compelling case that will stand up to the highest levels of scrutiny.

They then use this detailed, factual information to fight for the best possible compensation settlement – one that factors in your future care needs and the long-term physical, psychological and emotional impacts of your injury.

Throughout your case, they’re there to support you through what can be one of the most challenging times of your life. 

The type of spinal injuries we work with

No matter how you experience your spinal injury, our team of spine injury lawyers can help.

Every case is different. Our solicitors take the time to thoroughly understand the nature of your injury and how it happened.

Common scenarios we deal with, including the type of spinal injury caused, include:

  • Work-related spinal injuries: Often, unsafe working environments, faulty workplace products and inadequate safety training can lead to spinal injuries. You could be experiencing chronic back pain due to long-term poor posture or repetitive strain or have an acute injury like a herniated disc from heavy lifting or falls.
  • Slips, trips and falls: Whether in a shop or on a street, there are hazards that, if not adequately addressed, can result in serious spinal injuries. That could be slipping on a wet floor in a supermarket or falling when climbing the stairs because the handrail is broken. These types of accidents can lead to a range of injuries, from fractured vertebrae to spinal contusions. If it happens on private premises, the business may be to blame and on public premises, a government agency – like a local council.
  • Medical negligence: Spinal injuries can happen because of surgical error, misdiagnosis or poor post-operative care. For example, you may experience more spinal damage if your doctor or consultant doesn’t manage your current condition properly. Spinal injuries can also be caused or exacerbated through negligent surgery.
  • Faulty products: If a chair you sit on at home breaks or you’re operating a forklift truck at work which tips over, you may experience a spinal injury. This could include anything from spinal cord compression from sudden impact or chronic pain through using the same poorly designed equipment over a long period. A claim can only be brought if there is negligence or breached duty at play – which could lie with an employer, or even a landlord in a furnished property.
  • Sports injuries: Keeping fit is great, but you can damage your spine if you’re not looked after properly. Gyms should provide the proper equipment and fitness consultants with appropriate training methods. Both should supervise your exercise to ensure you follow their instructions correctly. When it goes wrong, that can lead to conditions like herniated discs or even spinal cord transection from severe accidents
  • Assault: Thankfully, assault isl relatively rare, but if you experience it, it can lead to irreversible critical injuries that drastically alter your life. In these cases, we can explore seeking compensation from both the perpetrator and, if applicable, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
  • Road traffic accidents: We work extensively as a practice on both car accident claims, motorbike accident claims, and bicycle accident claims. While whiplash is the most commonly associated injury caused by road traffic accidents, more severe crashes can result in spine fractures and spinal disc injuries.

For every client, however severe the injury and how it occurred, we’re committed to helping you achieve the compensation you deserve, in order to cover the costs of your recovery and to adapt to life after your experience.

Successful cases we’ve handled

Over three decades, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients with spinal injuries. We’ve included four of our clients’ stories below.

Severe spinal injury after road traffic accident

In a crucial case, our pedestrian client was struck in a traffic accident. She sustained a significant L1 complete spinal cord injury that led to paraplegia. Paraplegia is the inability to voluntarily move lower parts of your body – like legs, feet, toes and sometimes the abdomen.

Our client became a full-time wheelchair user, and, unfortunately, her accommodation at the time of the accident was no longer suitable for her. Our initial focus was on modifying her home.

Despite installing a wet room and adapting the kitchen for wheelchair use, the house was too small for our client. We secured the services of a property expert to help her find a home suitable for her extensive family and care requirements. We’re pleased to report she found one and, following adaptations to her new home, she’s very happy there.

While this happened, our legal team gathered expert evidence from consultants and medical professionals to support our client’s claim. She was awarded £4.5m in damages with an additional provisional damages order in case she develops syringomyelia in the future.

Spinal injury caused during an operation

Our client, a 52-year-old former merchant seaman and thrill-seeker, went to the Walton Centre in Liverpool for what should have been routine surgery for a herniated disc. Tragically, this operation left our client paralysed from the waist down.

The next five years were tough for our client, now a full-time wheelchair user. There were many hurdles on his road to recovery, including severe health complications like discitis, a pulmonary embolism and a heart attack. He had to spend £6,500 of his savings to modify his home once he was discharged from the spinal unit in Southport. The care he received at home from his local authority was inadequate.

At this point in December 2018, our client contacted us. Two years later, the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability, and we obtained an £800,000 interim payment for our client.

He used some of the settlement to stay at Sheffield’s fantastic STEPS rehabilitation centre. He couldn’t have afforded the £7,000 a week cost without the settlement, and it was at the centre he met Jasper, his new assistance dog.

Five years after the operation, we secured a settlement of £3.125m for our client with annual payments of £100,000 for life to compensate for the mistake that changed his life.

Spinal injury caused as a result of inadequate medical care

We secured a £20,000 settlement for our client, a 39-year-old Darlington man after a fall down the stairs led to life-altering injuries.

A month earlier, our client had been involved in a motorbike accident. As time went by, he started suffering from stiffness in the legs and worsening pins and needles. He went to see the doctor, who advised him to take painkillers.

This was the wrong diagnosis. His condition got worse and, at a later point, went into spasm, causing him to fall down the stairs. This led to a cervical spine injury, tetraplegia, a brain haematoma, a fractured nose, and a collapsed lung. After spending nine months in hospital, he now requires round-the-clock care.

We issued a claim against the road traffic accident insurer and achieved a settlement for our client.

Lumbar spine damage following a collision with a bicycle

Following our intervention, a 75-year-old retired cyclist from Watford received a £50,000 settlement following a road accident. The collision occurred when a driver switched lanes without taking complete and due care, hitting our client in the left-hand lane.

Our client was not wearing a helmet at the time, which worsened the severity of his injuries. They included a lumbar spine injury, head injury, fractured rib and lung complications (including pneumothorax and a lower lung contusion). He also experienced anxiety and a fear of travel as a result of the accident.

We took up his case, and eventually, the defendant admitted liability and received a conviction for careless driving.

The settlement of £50,000 was reached after negotiations with the defendant’s solicitor. Our client has put this money to good use, investing in physiotherapy for back pain and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for his psychological distress.

Why choose Fletchers for your spinal injury claim?

When choosing a spinal cord injury solicitor, your first step is to check that they have the experience required to represent you properly with your claim. This is a complex and nuanced area of law where the quality of the lawyer you pick can determine the level of compensation you receive.

Next, check how happy their clients are with the service they have received – particularly if their story is similar to ours.. We believe that a true indication of a quality lawyer is the experience of their clients – and we’re proud to have built life-long connections with many of the individuals we have supported.  Lastly, check which awards and accreditations your choice of lawyer has received. This will give you a feel for how reputable they are in the industry.

Fletchers has over 35 years of experience representing clients through personal injury claims, including spinal injury cases. We score 4.5 out of five in over 900 reviews on Trustpilot. We are one of The Times’ Best Law Firms, a top-rated Firm with Chambers and Partners, a stand-out firm in the Legal 500 and a Personal Injury Awards winner. Speak to one of our spine injury solicitors today. Our services are offered on a no-win, no-fee basis. You’re in safe hands with Fletchers. Contact us on 0330 013 0251 or click on our contact form to speak with an experienced spine injury lawyer.

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