Spinal Abscess Injury Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a spinal abscess injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a spinal abscess injury 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 spinal abscess injury compensation:


A spinal abscess is an infection of the tissues that surround the spinal cord, characterised by the build up of a pus-filled sac. The condition is caused by bacteria entering the spine, usually after a back injury or trauma.

Spinal abscesses may also develop as a complication of medical procedures such as epidural anaesthesia or catheterisation of the spine.

Since antibiotics have been routinely used during medical procedures, spinal abscesses have become extremely rare. When they do occur, however, these abscess can have very serious consequences. Any delay in detecting and treating a spinal abscess is capable of causing permanent paralysis and damage to the spinal cord.

If you have suffered a spinal abscess after receiving substandard medical treatment, or experienced a delay in diagnosis or treatment of an abscess, you may be eligible to make a medical negligence claim.

Spinal abscess symptoms

A spinal abscess injury may initially present no symptoms. As the abscess grows, the patient may begin to experience the following:

  • Fever
  • Numbness and tingling in a localised area of the skin
  • Pain in the back which radiates to the hips, legs and arms
  • Rapid progressive weakness or paralysis
  • Impotence
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence

Because the initial symptoms are vague and may indicate many diseases, doctors will try to detect the presence of an infection with a blood test. Medical staff may also look at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the spinal cord or test a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. Fluid is extracted from the spine using a procedure known as a lumbar puncture.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the recommended treatment is to drain the abscess and flush out the bacteria using a saline fluid. The patient is usually given intravenous antibiotics to prevent further infection.

Making a claim for a spinal abscess injury

Early diagnosis is critical to the chances of a patient making a full recovery from a spinal abscess injury. Left untreated, the abscess could burst allowing millions of bacteria to spread throughout the body. An enlarged abscess could also compress the spinal cord leading to neurological conditions such as paralysis, incontinence and nerve loss. In some cases, a spinal abscess can be life-threatening.

Medical staff owe a duty of care to provide treatment in a professional and timely manner. A claim may arise whenever this duty is breached and the patient suffers injury as a result. Examples include:

  • A delay in diagnosing the spinal abscess
  • Failure to treat the spinal abscess as an emergency case
  • Incomplete draining of a spinal abscess resulting in further infection, spinal compression or scarring
  • Surgical error during a spinal epidural, lumbar puncture or catheterisation procedure
  • Errors in the delivery of post-operative care.

This list is not exhaustive. A claim may be made whenever it can be shown that the medical practitioner behaved in a manner which dropped below reasonably expected standards. The arguments will often be highly technical, revolving around the details of extensive medical reports.

No win, no fee - the facts

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.

Our no win, no fee promise

If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a spinal abscess injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my spinal abscess injury 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 spinal abscess injury claim?

If your spinal abscess injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

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, and 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Spinal abscess injury 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.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

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.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

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.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

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.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor