A guide to making a No Win No Fee back injury claim
Back injuries are the most common form of workplace injury, with an estimated 1.2 million people in Britain suffering from a work related musculoskeletal disorder according to Health Response UK.
60% of work related illnesses relate to back, neck or limb problems. Back problems are the most prevalent however and they account for nearly 120 million lost work days every year.
The human back is an intricate structure consisting of muscle, bone, joints and nerves extending from the neck to the pelvis. An injury to this structure can cause severe pain and could cause temporary or permanent immobility. The most common types of back injury include sprains and strains, fractured vertebrae and herniated disks.
Some people who have suffered back injuries may experience a full recovery following a course of medicine and/or bed rest. However, even relatively minor injuries are still painful, distressing and likely to result in financial loss. More serious injuries could require surgery or physical therapy.
Back injuries often lead to ongoing chronic pain. Chronic pain is very common with an estimated 7.8 million sufferers in the UK.
Assessing the severity of a back injury
Back injuries range in type and severity. Solicitors are not qualified to assess the extent of the injury and will therefore refer the Claimant to a medical professional for an expert opinion. The Claimant will therefore need to undergo a medical examination to assess the extent of the injuries. The medical report will be forwarded to the solicitor to assist in the building of the case.
The solicitor will recommend a medical expert near the Claimant in order to reduce any inconvenience.
Who can make a claim?
Where an injury has been sustained within the last 3 years as the result of an accident, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
An injury lawyer must demonstrate that your injuries resulted from the accident and the Defendant was responsible for the accident. It may not be clear who is to blame for the accident. If you are not certain who caused the accident you may still be able to make a claim.
In cases where both you and the Defendant are partially at fault, reduced compensation will still be awarded relative to the apportionment of blame. Such cases are resolved with split liability agreements.
How an injury compensation award could help people
One of compensation's central principles is that it should attempt to put people back in the situation they would have been in if the injury or illness's cause not happened. Financial compensation can only ever go so far with respect to making restitution to a person.
It is recognised by the Courts that the impact of a back injury can be life-changing. Personal injury compensation may be awarded:
- for general damages to cover loss of amenity and for pain and suffering
- to reimburse travel expenses and damage to personal property
- for medical expenses such as physiotherapy and ongoing care
- to cover existing are future loss of earnings
How will Quittance's solicitors help you?
Our specialist panel of personal injury solicitors will answer any questions you have and will run through your options before you decide to make a claim.
Our personal injury experts have helped people receive compensation for back injuries sustained:
- in road accidents where the vehicle is hit from behind and the person is thrown forwards then backwards. This is known as 'whiplash', named after the movement of the spine as it cracks like a whip. Back injuries sustained in these circumstances may be anywhere on your back, and can often lead to symptoms like pins and needles in your hands or other areas due to nerve injuries in your back.
- through lifting and carrying heavy objects which can either immediately or over a period of time cause back problems. Employers should help by assessing risks at work and providing suitable training and supervision.
- from a slip or trip caused by a wide variety of factors such as spillages, damaged flooring or pavement, or other hazards left on the floor, and all have one thing in common - the person slipping or tripping will at some point either hit the ground and this frequently causes a jarring injury to the back, or they manage to keep upright, but still have the jarring motion causing the back injury.
- in a fall where even the smallest height can cause back injury. Although most common at places of work, Quitance's panel of solicitors have assisted with claims including horse riding injuries following improper supervision of riders.
- when using a faulty product - typically chairs that are not fit for purpose and lead to prolonged back injuries.
Your solicitor will enable you to prioritise your treatment and recovery, offering clear advice throughout the claims process.
Many personal injury Claimants will receive compensation without ever needing to go to Court.
How much compensation will you get for a back injury?
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards. Compensation awards reflect the seriousness and type of injury, including long-term effects and, for a given injury, are laid out in the form of maximum and minimum awards.
Minor back injuries such as soft tissue sprains and strains can be awarded compensation from £1,705 to £6,380 if recovery occurred within 2 years and without surgery.This can be increased to £10,120 if the recovery occurred within 5 years.
Moderate back injuries including ligament or muscular disturbance leading to back ache can be awarded compensation between £10,120 and £22,440 - depending on the level of chronic pain. This can be increased to £31,350 if there is a degree of residual disability.
Severe Back injuries such as fractures leading to severe pain, restrictions to agility, arthritis or if the injury compromises the ability to work, can be awarded £31,350 to £56,375. This increases from £59,950 to £71,500 if there are other complications such as compromised or impaired bladder function and the possibility of future or ongoing surgical procedures. Higher awards of between £73,700 and £130,130 can be made for more serious injuries that do not involve paralysis. Serious injuries including paralysis are considered separately
While the Judicial College guidelines are suggested amounts rather than legally binding their use is usually adopted in Court. Most insurance companies will, when calculating a settlement amount, also refer to the guidelines.
In situations where an existing medical condition or injury has been worsened by the illness or accident, compensation may also be claimed.
In addition to the general damages figure, you could claim compensation for costs you have incurred during treatment and ongoing care.
What is the chance of your claim for compensation being successful
It will need to be shown, that the accident or circumstances in question caused your injuries. It must then be demonstrated that this resulted from a breach of duty by the party you are holding responsible.
If the other side has admitted fault then you have a good chance of winning.
Otherwise, if liability is contested achieving a successful outcome may be difficult.
Irrespective of whether liability has been admitted, you are advised to do what you can to build a strong case. Your personal injury solicitor will recommend a course of action. You could:
- report the incident to a relevant person or authority
- get photographic evidence of the scene and check for any CCTV footage (e.g. with local businesses)
- collect statements of any witnesses (and their names and addresses)
It is worth considering the above and doing everything you can to build a stronger case.
How does No Win, No Fee work with back injury claims?
A back injury No Win, No Fee injury claim properly begins once a Claimant agrees a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as a "CFA", with a injury lawyer.
The CFA explains the work provided by the solicitor handling your case and, most significantly, a "success fee". The "success fee" is the percentage to be deducted from the damages after the case is won.
You have absolutely no hidden charges when choosing a a Quittance personal injury solicitor. You are able to prioritise your rest and recovery, knowing that there is nothing whatsoever to pay at the outset.
Get a free Compensation Claim Report
You may prefer to hold off starting your claim. Many potential Claimants feel more comfortable doing their own research before starting a claim. Getting the information required to make a decision can be a challenge. Quittance created a report, the Compensation Claim Report (CCR) to provide those answers.
The Compensation Claim Report assesses:
- how much compensation you could be awarded
- how long it should take to reach a settlement
- the probability of success
A Compensation Claim Report offers a detailed calculation and assessment of your claim. Get a Compensation Claim report here.
Frequently asked questions
Quittance recognises that you will most likely have questions when considering whether or not to go ahead with a compensation claim.
For specific answers to questions relating to the personal injury claims process, such as "How does No Win No Fee work ", why not visit FAQ section
What should I do next?
Our solicitors offer a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss all of your options, should there be more questions you would like to ask, or in the event that you would like to speak to a claims-specialist solicitor.
A free Compensation Claim Report includes a detailed and bespoke assessment of the chance of success, likely compensation and the time the claim could take to be processed.