Paraplegia Injury Compensation Claims

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered paraplegia 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 paraplegia injury compensation:

Introduction

Every year, over a thousand British people will suffer an injury to their spinal cord according to the charity Spinal Research. At present, there is no cure for such injuries, which means that around 50,000 individuals in the UK live with paralysis.

Paraplegia is a specific type of paralysis characterised by the loss of feeling and movement in the legs while the arms remain unaffected. It is usually caused by damage to the spinal cord which interrupts the nerve impulses travelling between the body and the brain.

Most cases of paraplegia are the result of a serious impact to the body such as that experienced in a car crash or blast injury. Anyone who is experiencing paraplegia as a result of an accident that was not their fault may be eligible to claim compensation.

Knee cartilage physio

What are the causes of paraplegia?

Paraplegia is usually the result of a traumatic accident. Whenever there is fracture of the spinal vertebrae, there is a risk that the spinal cord will be damaged causing temporary or permanent paralysis. Examples include:

This list is not exhaustive. Any type of accident can potentially cause paraplegia, especially where an individual takes an impact to their back or neck.

What are the effects of paraplegia?

There are varying degrees of paraplegia. Individuals with the condition will experience different symptoms depending on which vertebrae have been injured. Generally, the higher up the spinal cord has been injured, the more widespread the injuries will be. Invariably, previously healthy people are left unable to walk and cannot register sensation such as heat and pain in their lower body.

Other effects include:

  • Problems with digestion
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Respiratory diseases such as pneumonia which may occur if there is loss of control in the chest area
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pressure sores
  • Osteoporosis.

Clearly, the condition has a profound effect on a person's physical capabilities. Receiving a diagnosis of paraplegia also affects a person's psychological health. Statistically, around one in five people will become clinically depressed after receiving a paralysis-inducing injury.

How will a claim help me?

Paraplegia is a life-altering injury. In addition to the loss of mobility, individuals often experience loss of income during recovery and many find that they are unable to return to the job they previously held. Even if the injuries cause partial instead of total paralysis, there is a high chance that the person involved will have to make significant adjustments to the way they live their life.

While a settlement can never fully compensate individuals with paralysis for the injury they have suffered, it can help ease the financial burden. An experienced injury lawyer can help individuals with paraplegia secure the highest levels of compensation for specific losses which include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical costs such as physiotherapy and rehabilitative care
  • Personal and attendant care
  • Travel costs
  • Wheelchairs and other specialist equipment
  • Home adaptations such as wheelchair ramps.

Each case will be determined on its own merits by reference to the seriousness of the injury as determined by an independent medical examination. Due to the irrevocable nature of paralysis, the amount of compensation can be substantial. This compensation will be paid out by the person who was negligently responsible for the accident or their insurance company.

How did your injury occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

No win, no fee

Under a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a paraplegia injury claim without having to worry about upfront legal fees. If your paraplegia injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a paraplegia injury 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 paraplegia injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my paraplegia injury claim?

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

How do personal injury solicitors get paid?

If your paraplegia injury claim is successful, the defendant, or their insurer, will pay the compensation and your solicitors fees.

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.

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 injury 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:

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Paraplegia 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.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a paraplegia injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the paraplegia injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your paraplegia injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a paraplegia injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim paraplegia injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a paraplegia injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

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

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.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert