Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by Cauda Equina Syndrome we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered Cauda Equina Syndrome and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.
In our guide to claiming
cauda equina syndrome compensation:
Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is considered to be a surgical emergency. Compression of the nerves in the spinal cord can cause irreversible damage if not treated immediately.
Cauda equina syndrome can develop very quickly. Because the condition is so rare, it is often misdiagnosed as regular back pain. Misdiagnosis can cause the condition to worsen, resulting in irreversible damage. CES must be treated within 24 to 48 hours.
Do I have a cauda equina syndrome claim?
Medical negligence claims differ from personal injury claims as the following will need to be established:
- there was a breach of duty ("negligence" or "fault"); and
- the breach of duty was the cause of your injury, damage or loss ("causation" or "avoidable harm").
Breach of Duty
A breach of duty means that the standard of care you received was below the standard that could reasonably be expected of a competent healthcare professional.
To establish causation, it will need to be demonstrated that the injury you suffered resulted from the negligent care rather than the underlying condition.
Get an impartial opinion
To get impartial advice on whether you have a claim, speak to a cauda equina syndrome claim expert on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.
Is compensation always payable?
If an error occurred during treatment and the patient was harmed as a result, this may be referred to as an "undesirable outcome".
Not all treatment that results in an undesirable outcome will result in the payment of compensation.
Sometimes an undesirable outcome is due to a known risk associated with the treatment, or due to a mistake that a doctor could reasonably have made in the circumstances.
How long do I have to start a claim?
If your injury is apparent immediately after medical treatment, you will have 3 years to start a claim.
It may be that the negligent procedure happened more than 3 years ago, but your injury was only diagnosed recently, within the last 3 years. If so, you may still be able to make a claim.
What if your injury was diagnosed months or years after treatment?
You may not be immediately aware of your injury. In some cases, months and even years can pass before symptoms appear.
The law allows you to make a medical negligence claim up to three years after the 'date of knowledge' (when you first learned of the injury).
It is recommended that you start a claim as soon as possible, as medical negligence cases can be complex. Starting your claim sooner will give your solicitor more time to gather medical evidence, assess the extent of your injury and to negotiate interim payments and your final compensation amount.
Causes of the condition
A range of spine and back-related injuries and conditions can cause cauda equina syndrome to develop. A medical negligence claim can arise in circumstances where the syndrome was misdiagnosed but a reasonably able medical professional would have made a correct diagnosis.
Injuries and conditions that can lead to CES include:
- Traumatic injury
- Disk herniation
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal trauma
- Inflammatory conditions
- Infectious conditions
CES as a result of medical negligence
If the syndrome was bought on or worsened as a result of misdiagnosis, you may have grounds to make a claim.
The Cauda Equina nerves at the base of the spinal cord are involved in the activity of the lower limbs and pelvic function. If the problem is not treated immediately, it can lead to bowel and bladder dysfunction, sensory issues and paralysis.
The amount of money you could claim for your cauda equina syndrome will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your cauda equina syndrome has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
What can I claim for after a cauda equina syndrome? (see list)
Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
What is the average injury compensation for a cauda equina syndrome claim?
The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.
However, the money you would receive following a cauda equina syndrome will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your cauda equina syndrome compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.
Can I claim for an existing cauda equina syndrome that has got worse?
Yes, it is possible to pursue a claim in the event that a pre-existing medical condition, illness or injury is made worse or aggravated by an accident or someone else's negligence.
Cauda equina syndrome compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a cauda equina syndrome injury can be complicated.
Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.
Find out what your cauda equina syndrome claim could be worth now:
How long does a cauda equina syndrome claim take?
The length of time needed to win compensation for a cauda equina syndrome can vary significantly.
For instance, a straightforward liability accepted medical negligence claim could be settled in 12 to 24 months. However, if liability is denied a claim can take considerably longer. Typically, a medical negligence claim takes 12 to 36 months. See more: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your cauda equina syndrome claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
How does no win, no fee work?
No Win, No Fee is an agreement with your solicitor (known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) that means that you can make a cauda equina syndrome claim with:
- no upfront legal fees
- no solicitor's fees payable if your claim is not successful
- a success fee payable only if your claim is successful
No Win, No Fee is the most common way to make a compensation claim.
Our no win, no fee guarantee
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a cauda equina syndrome claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim
What do I pay if I win my cauda equina syndrome claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, once your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my cauda equina syndrome claim?
If your cauda equina syndrome claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.
Is there a catch?
The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Cauda equina syndrome FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an early compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.