Compensation for spinal injuries
If you've sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident that wasn't your fault, we can help you make a spinal injury claim for compensation.
How Much Could You Claim?

Spinal Injury Claims

Spinal injuries can be caused by a wide range of accidents, incidents and negligent actions of third parties. These include accidents at work, road traffic collisions, criminal assaults and sports incidents.

Spinal injuries can vary in severity, and their impact on your life can range from minimal to life-changing disruptions. Injury solicitors are highly experienced in dealing with claims for spinal injuries and would be pleased to discuss your case with you to determine your eligibility and likely compensation award.

To find out if you have a valid spinal injury claim, enter your details into our contact form or call 0800 032 3660 to speak to a friendly legal adviser. This conversation is an opportunity to discuss your situation and ask any questions you may have about the legal process. It is completely free and provided without any obligation to proceed.

Am I eligible to make a spinal injury claim?

The easiest way to find out if you have a valid case is by requesting a free consultation with one of the spinal injury solicitors we work with. They will determine if there are sufficient grounds to proceed by assessing whether:

  • The defendant in your claim owed you a duty of care
  • They have breached this duty by acting negligently
  • Their negligence caused an accident
  • You suffered spine damage as a result in the last three years

A duty of care can be established through various laws and legislation, such as:

If your solicitor determines you have a valid spine injury claim, they will collate the necessary evidence and prepare a strong case. Once your claim is ready, they will contact the defendant and try to negotiate the best settlement possible on your behalf. If the other party denies liability or does not want to settle, court proceedings may be necessary.

Evidence to support a spinal cord injury claim

To support a spinal injury claim, you will need to gather various types of evidence to demonstrate the cause and extent of the damage, as well as the impact it has had on your life, such as:

  • Photographs or videos of the accident scene, ideally taken before anything is moved or repaired, as they can help to illustrate what happened;
  • Details of other vehicles and road users involved if you were injured in a road traffic accident;
  • CCTV or camera phone footage from the scene of the incident, if available;
  • Contact details of any witnesses who saw the accident and could later provide a statement to support your version of the events;
  • Medical records detailing the extent of your injury, diagnostic tests and treatment plans;
  • Reports from medical experts providing a prognosis for recovery and future care needs;
  • Accident reports, if you were hurt on business premises such as in a public place or at work;
  • A police report if you were the blameless victim of a violent assault;
  • You should also keep track of any documents related to the financial losses you have suffered.

Your solicitor will look at any evidence you have already secured and let you know if you have everything you need to claim spine injury compensation. If you need further proof to start legal proceedings, they will help you gather everything needed for your case.

What is a spinal injury?

A spinal injury refers to damage to the spinal cord, the bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column, or the surrounding tissues. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down the back and is responsible for transmitting messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Any trauma or damage to the spinal cord or the vertebral column can result in a spinal injury.

Injuries to the vertebral column can cause pain, limited mobility, and other complications. Damage to the spinal cord can lead to loss of sensation and movement below the level of injury. These can range from mild to severe and have significant and long-lasting effects on your life.

Spinal cord injuries can be classified into four different types depending on the location of the damage:

  • Cervical spine injury. These injuries affect the top portion of the spinal cord (around the C-1 to C-7 vertebrae). Depending on the severity, a cervical spine injury can lead to partial or complete paralysis, affecting both sensation and motor function in the upper and lower limbs.
  • Thoracic spine injury. Thoracic spine injuries involve the upper/middle part of the back and can lead to loss of sensation, strength, or function in the chest, abdomen, and lower limbs.
  • Lumbar spine injury. Lumbar trauma may cause lower back pain, weakness, and difficulty with walking or balance. They affect the lower middle portion of the spinal cord and could also result in losing bowel and bladder control.
  • Sacral spine injury. Sacral injuries can lead to a range of symptoms, including lower back pain, difficulty sitting or standing, weakness in the legs, and problems with bowel or bladder control. These are quite rare and affect the lowest part of the spine.

Spinal injury treatment is often a lifelong process, and the specific approach will vary based on individual needs. The goal is to maximise function, independence, and overall quality of life for patients with spinal injuries. It depends on the severity and location of the damage and may include:

  • Emergency care to stabilise the patient, prevent further damage, and address any life-threatening complications
  • Surgery may be necessary to stabilise the spine, remove bone fragments or foreign objects, or decompress the spinal cord
  • Lifestyle and home modifications
  • Psychological support to address emotional trauma and promote overall well-being
  • Assistive devices, such as braces, walkers, or wheelchairs, may be used to support mobility
  • Drugs such as pain relievers and muscle relaxants for pain management
  • Physical and occupational therapy to regain function, mobility, and independence

If you believe your injury was due to another person’s negligence, and a solicitor can prove diagnosis, impact and liability, you will be eligible to make a spinal injury compensation claim.

Common accidents that spinal injury lawyers deal with

Most spinal injuries are due to accidents that involve a forceful impact on the spine, such as falls and road traffic collisions. Other injuries like herniated discs can develop over time due to wear and tear and incorrect body postures while carrying out jobs. The most common accidents leading to a spinal cord injury compensation claim include:

  • Road traffic accidents. These accidents are the most common cause of spinal injuries. In 2018, 46% of the patients admitted to the Royal London Hospital with a spinal cord injury were in a road accident. Vulnerable road users like pedestrians and bicycle riders are most at risk of severe spinal trauma.
  • Accidents at work. Spinal injuries at work may develop over time due to manual handling or can be due to acute trauma from falls or machinery accidents. Employers must take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of injuries at work. Otherwise, they may be liable to pay spinal injury compensation in case of accidents.
  • Criminal assaults. A criminal assault can cause injuries to the back and spine through various violent actions. For instance, if the victim experiences a severe physical attack, such as being punched, kicked, or hit with an object, the force from the assault can lead to fractures or dislocations. Sometimes, the assailant may use knives or guns, which can directly injure the spinal cord if targeted at the back or neck.
  • Medical negligence. When medical staff fail to provide the standard of care and attention required, this can be disastrous for patients. Spinal injuries could result from surgical mistakes, anaesthesia errors, delayed diagnosis and other types of negligence. Birth injuries due to excessive pulling or stretching of the baby’s neck can also cause permanent damage to the spine.
  • Slips, trips and falls. Slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, or debris on the ground can cause a person to lose their footing, leading to a fall. The impact of the fall can cause spinal damage, especially if the person lands on a hard surface. Despite being largely preventable, these are some of the most common accidents in public places.
  • Sports accidents. There is always a risk of injury when practising high-impact or contact sports like football, gymnastics or snowboarding. While some accidents are nobody’s fault, some can be due to a lack of safety measures, faulty protective equipment or bad advice from a coach. In such cases, you may be able to claim spinal injury compensation.
  • Defective products. When products such as safety equipment, machinery, cars or other consumer products malfunction or fail to perform as intended, they can cause spinal injuries. If this happens, you may have grounds to pursue a product liability claim against the faulty item’s manufacturer, designer or distributor.

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the leading causes of spinal injuries are road traffic accidents, falls, violent attacks, and sporting accidents.

Types of spinal injuries that may lead to a compensation claim

Spinal injuries are some of the most severe traumas you could sustain, potentially leading to lifelong disabilities. Even less severe injuries can cause chronic pain and limited movement for the rest of your life, making it difficult to carry out daily activities. Some of the most common types of injuries that solicitors deal with include:

  • Herniated discs. Such injuries occur when the soft cushion-like disc between the vertebrae in the spine ruptures or bulges out of its normal position. That can press on nearby nerves, leading to pain, tingling, and weakness in the arms or legs. Herniated discs are often due to wear and tear of the spine or injury and can range from mild to severe.
  • Spinal fractures. Spinal fractures refer to the breaking or cracking of the bones in the spine, known as vertebrae. These may be caused by falls, car accidents, sports injuries, and conditions like osteoporosis that weaken the bones. The symptoms can include severe back pain, difficulty moving, numbness or tingling in the limbs, and even loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Soft tissue injuries. Such injuries refer to damage or trauma to the soft tissues surrounding the spine. The spinal column comprises bones and soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and discs. These provide support, stability, and flexibility to the back and spine. When the soft tissues around the spine are injured, it can result in pain, inflammation, and limited mobility, such as in whiplash injuries.
  • Spinal cord lacerations. These are deep cuts or tears in the spinal cord caused by severe injuries that often result in significant and permanent damage to nerve fibres. That can lead to partial or complete loss of motor function, sensory perception, and other vital functions below the injury site. These injuries can have life-changing consequences and may need long-term treatment and rehabilitation.

The severity of a spinal injury is mainly determined by its cause:

  • Minor to mild injuries, such as strains, sprains, and slipped discs, may be due to unhealthy work practices, such as improper body positioning while lifting heavy objects or working at a computer.
  • Moderate trauma, such as compression or fractures, can result from a traumatic blow or a lower-force impact in a car crash, sports injury, or fall.
  • The most severe types of spinal injuries that involve damage to the spinal cord involve significant force, such as in a high-impact road traffic accident, workplace accident, or fall from a height.

Possible long-term consequences of damage to the spine

Depending on the severity and location of the trauma, spinal injuries can have significant and life-changing effects. Some of the results and long-term implications may include:

  • Chronic pain, which can be intense and persistent and may require ongoing management;
  • Partial or complete loss of movement and sensation below the injury level, leading to numbness or reduced feeling in the arms, legs or body;
  • Partial or complete paralysis, affecting the ability to move or control parts of the body;
  • Some spinal damage may affect the muscles involved in breathing, causing respiratory difficulties;
  • Prolonged immobility and reduced use of muscles due to a back injury can result in muscle weakness and atrophy;
  • A higher risk of developing secondary health issues, such as pressure sores, urinary tract infections and high blood pressure;
  • Such injuries can have a significant psychological impact, leading to depression, anxiety, and adjustment difficulties;
  • Reduced independence and the need for ongoing care and assistance with daily activities;
  • Significant financial burdens due to medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, loss of earning capacity, and the need for adaptive equipment;

Overall, serious spinal injuries can significantly impact your quality of life, requiring you to adapt to new challenges and limitations.

When calculating your spinal injury compensation award, your solicitor will include all the damages and losses caused by your condition. To claim for financial expenses, keep all the related documents, such as receipts, invoices and bank statements.

Can I make a spinal cord injury claim following a workplace accident?

If you had an accident due to your employer’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for spinal injury. Many people worry that starting a legal case could cost them their job, but that is simply not the case. Unfair dismissal laws in the UK make it illegal for your employer to sack or treat you differently if you make a claim.

Furthermore, they are required by law to have insurance against personal injuries to employees. If you win the case, their insurer will cover your spine injury compensation, while your employer will not be left out of pocket.

A claim for an accident at work should be possible if there has been a breach of duty. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the main piece of legislation that sets out the employer’s responsibilities to prevent injuries in the workplace. According to this and other relevant laws, an employer could be liable for compensation if they failed to:

  • Carry out thorough risk assessments to identify potential hazards that could lead to back injuries;
  • Assess tasks and activities that involve heavy lifting, repetitive motions, or awkward postures;
  • Provide training to employees on proper lifting techniques, using mechanical aids, and ensuring that workstations are ergonomic;
  • Avoid hazardous manual handling activities whenever possible;
  • Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as back support belts or other protective gear where necessary;
  • Ensure that employees have adequate supervision and that safe working practices are in place to prevent spinal injuries;
  • Have a system in place for employees to report any incidents or near misses related to spinal injuries;
  • Investigate such incidents to identify the root causes and take corrective actions.

If you suffered a spinal injury at work, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced solicitor will offer you a free case assessment and let you know whether you may have a spinal injury claim within minutes.

How long will it take to process my case?

The time it takes to process your case depends largely on your specific circumstances. By nature, spinal cord claims are more complex than other personal injury cases. While you could receive compensation for a minor injury within a few months, complex claims can sometimes take several years to conclude.

To make a successful case, your solicitor must prove that another person or company was responsible for your injuries. That is done by gathering and presenting evidence and documentation in support of your claim.

To speed up this process, you can assist your solicitor by being as thorough as possible in explaining the circumstances surrounding your injury and by providing them with all relevant documentation, reports and evidence that will strengthen your case.

Even with no liability disputes, your solicitor must gather all the information required to negotiate a fair settlement. It might take many months or even years to get an accurate prognosis, and solicitors do not advise settling until you know the long-term impact of your injuries.

Once your solicitor has gathered all the information and built the claim, they will begin negotiating your settlement figure with the defendant. Using legislation and guidelines, the solicitor will seek to achieve the maximum award possible for your injury and losses and will keep you updated every step of the way.

Both parties can make multiple offers until you agree on a sum that everybody finds fair. If you cannot settle and your case goes to court, that can significantly lengthen the duration of your case as it may take up to a year to receive a trial date.

How much spinal injury compensation can I claim?

The amount of compensation you can claim for a spinal cord injury will vary from one claimant to another. As such, it is essential to recognise that your solicitor will need to evaluate the specifics of your case before offering an estimate of the likely amount you will be entitled to. The greater the impact your spinal injury has had on your ability to carry out normal daily activities and the more severe your pain and symptoms are, the larger the compensation award is likely to be.

In a spinal injury claim, you may get compensation for your physical condition, financial losses and any emotional or psychological impact the injury has had on you. Your solicitor will aim to attain damages for all areas of loss, including the following:

  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical expenses, including any private hospital bills, prescription costs, chiropractic care, etc.
  • Future medical expenses in case there is a need to undergo ongoing treatment. Future medical expenses may also include
  • transportation costs, costs for rehabilitation, etc.
  • Loss of employment prospects and future earning capacity
  • Costs of care and assistance with daily tasks
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs and modifications to your home or vehicle
  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Emotional impact of the injury, such as anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Loss of amenities and reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

It is essential to keep all evidence related to your expenses and pass them on to your solicitor to calculate your financial losses. The compensation for pain and suffering is awarded by referring to the guidelines published by the Judicial College, according to which you could receive:

  • £30,910 to £55,590 for disc lesions or fractures causing ongoing pain and some mobility issues
  • £59,120 to £70,490 for nerve root damage leading to loss of sensation and mobility or impaired bowel and bladder function
  • £52,390 to £104,370 for severe fractures or spinal disk damage in the cervical spine
  • Around £124,030 for incomplete paraplegia
  • £177,000 to £241,185 for paraplegia
  • £262,300 to £342,835 for quadriplegia

If you want to discuss your case during a free, no-obligation consultation, call 0800 032 3660. This is the ideal time to discuss the claims process, what is expected of you and the likely outcome of your case. Rest assured that your solicitor will do their utmost to secure you the highest possible compensation figure.

Time limits to make a spinal cord injury claim

Under the Limitation Act 1980, you have a three-year time limit from the date of your accident to start a spine injury compensation claim. After this period, you may be time-barred from claiming compensation, which can be disastrous if you have suffered a severe injury to your spine.

Exceptions to the three-year time limit include:

  • If your injury did not become immediately apparent following an accident or developed over time, the three years will start from the date of knowledge. This date refers to when you knew or should have reasonably known that another party caused you a spinal injury.
  • If the injured person is a child, the limitation period only starts when they turn 18. Afterwards, they will have until their 21st birthday to claim compensation.
  • The law recognised that some injuries or pre-existing conditions could cause a person to lose their mental capacity. In such cases, the time limit is suspended until the claimant regains their mental capacity. In the meantime, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time.
  • There is a two-year time limit to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if your injury was due to an assault.
  • If you suffered a spine injury as military personnel, you could claim compensation under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years.

Nonetheless, you should speak to a solicitor as soon as possible after your accident. That will make remembering relevant details, getting witness statements and collating the necessary evidence to build a solid back injury claim easier.

Can I claim spine injury compensation for a loved one?

Yes. You could start a spinal cord injury claim on behalf of someone else who is:

  • A child under 18. Children cannot make decisions about a claim or hire spinal injury solicitors to represent them. A suitable adult, often a parent or legal guardian, must claim compensation for them while keeping the child’s best interests in mind.
  • An adult who does not have the mental capacity to handle the claim themselves. Likewise, someone who suffers from a mental health issue, neurodegenerative condition or another disability cannot make decisions about a case and would need someone else to represent them.

To claim compensation for a spinal injury on behalf of a loved one, you must apply to become their litigation friend. Once the paperwork is accepted and the court appoints you, the claim will proceed like any other personal injury claim. You will have several responsibilities, including:

  • Deal with spinal injury solicitors and take legal advice
  • Make decisions about the case on behalf of your loved one
  • Deal with correspondence and sign legal documents
  • Help gather evidence to support the claim
  • Make sure the claimant attends all medical appointments
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Carefully consider any settlement offers from the defendant

If the claim is successful, a judge will evaluate the available evidence and determine whether the compensation secured is fair. Furthermore, the court will manage the money until the claimant becomes 18 or regains mental capacity. Alternatively, your solicitor could help you set up a personal injury trust to hold and manage the funds awarded.

Do spinal injury solicitors offer a No Win No Fee service?

The specialist solicitors we work with offer a 100% no win no fee* service when handling claims for spinal injury compensation. Under this arrangement, you do not have to pay any fees to get legal representation. If your lawyer believes your case has a fair chance of success, they will take on the risk of litigation. That means they will not be able to recoup their costs unless you receive compensation for your injury.

If you win the claim, your solicitor will get a success fee that you agree upon beforehand. It cannot be more than 25% of general damages and past financial losses and will be deducted from your compensation award. As their fee depends on the success of your case, you can rest assured that your lawyer will do their best to secure a successful outcome.

Under a no win no fee agreement, you will benefit from an insurance policy taken at the beginning of your case. This After the Event (ATE) insurance will cover any expenses involved in the spinal injury claim if the case is not successful, such as:

  • The defendant’s solicitor and legal expenses
  • Court fees
  • Police and medical reports
  • Expert witness fees
  • Costs of printing and copying
  • Barrister fees if your case goes to court
  • The cost of the ATE premium, which you only pay if you win the claim

If you want to find out whether you qualify for a no win no fee service, call 0800 032 3660 to speak to an experienced legal adviser. Alternatively, you can arrange a call back by entering your details into the claim form below.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.