Spinal Injury Compensation Claims

If you have been affected by a spinal injury we can help.

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

Introduction

Figures published by the national charities Aspire, the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) and The Back Up Trust indicate that around 2,500 people sustain a spinal cord injury each year in the UK.

Currently, there are an estimated 50,000 people living with paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

Over 78% of spinal cord injuries are caused by road traffic accidents and slips, trips and falls. Although some spinal cord injuries lack completely effective treatments, rehabilitation support can help, and medical research into spinal injury continues worldwide.

Compensation enables injured claimants to fund treatment and rehabilitation care to ensure they enjoy the best possible quality of life.

Quittance Personal Injury are proud to support:

Spinal Injuries Charity

Patient with nurse

Do I have a spinal injury claim?

You should be able to make a spinal injury claim if your injury occurred:

  • within the last three years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.
Check my claim

Claim eligibility - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a spinal injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if I don't know who was to blame?

You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options. Specialist lawyers have years of experience identifying the responsible party in cases where liability is uncertain.

Low value spinal injury claims - Updated June 2021

The regulations for making a lower-value road accident claim (sometimes called 'small claims') have changed.

From 31 May 2021, some lower-value spinal injury claims should be made using the Ministry of Justice’s new Official Injury Claim Service online portal.

If you were injured in a vehicle, and the general damages for your injuries are likely to be under £5,000, the Official portal will be used to make your claim. The portal should also be used if the total value (general damages and special damages) for your claim is less than £10,000.

Claims for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and children are not affected by the new regulations.

The new process can be daunting, and we are here to help. You can still use a solicitor to calculate the value of your compensation and to help you make a low value claim through the portal.

No Win, No Fee compensation for low value spinal injury claims

Some solicitors are no longer assisting with lower-value claims, but we can still help you make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim for a lower-value road accident claim.

Read more:

Claiming compensation through the small claims process.

How to use the Official Injury Claim portal to claim compensation

Spinal injuries

Spinal injury can be complete damage across the whole width of the spinal cord, or incomplete damage across part of the spinal cord.

Both types of injury can cause varying degrees of paralysis, loss of bodily function, and loss of sensation.

In the most serious spinal injuries, spinal cord damage can result in:

  • Tetraplegia (also known as quadroplegia) - partial or total loss of use of all limbs. The injury usually results in loss of both sensation and motor control of limbs.
  • Paraplegia - impairment of motor or sensory function of the lower extremities. This can include the functions of the lower torso and motor control of the legs.

Your specialist personal injury solicitor will assist you in assessing and documenting your injury for your compensation claim. Assessment will include the impact of your spinal injury on your livelihood, personal care needs and quality of life.

Spinal injury claims

There is a statutory time limit for making personal injury claims. This time limit is three years from the date of the accident; or three years from the date the claimant was aware of injuries caused by an accident.

Personal injury claims for spinal injuries should be made as soon as possible following the accident. In many spinal injury cases the Court will agree an interim pay-out before the final settlement is agreed. This interim payment can fund essential care and equipment needed following the spinal injury.

How much compensation can I claim for a spinal injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your spinal injury 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 spinal injury 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

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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a spinal injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Spinal injury compensation amounts

The following spinal injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fifteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Example Amount
Back injury
Less severe disability £22,130 to £30,910
Ligament or disc damage with permanent symptoms £9,970 to £22,130
Neck injury
Fractures or dislocations or severe soft tissue damage £36,240 to £44,630
Causing paralysis Around £118,240
Paralysis
Up to £39,330
£174,620 to £226,610
£258,740 to £322,060

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a severe spinal injury can be £55,000

For a less serious arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.

However, if you have a severe spinal injury and a less serious arm injury, you would typically receive £55,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,000.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a spinal injury 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 spinal injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your spinal injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I claim for an existing spinal injury 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.

Calculate my spinal injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a spinal 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 spinal injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a spinal injury claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a spinal injury can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim could be completed in a couple of months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your spinal injury 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 did your injury occur?

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

No win, no fee - the facts

No win, no fee means that your solicitor will not charge you anything at all if your spinal injury claim is unsuccessful. 'No win, no fee' is also known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA'.

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and someone else was to blame (even partially), our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a spinal injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

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

If your spinal 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.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. spinal injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

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 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 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Spinal 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 spinal injury claim?

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

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

Can I claim for a spinal 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 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim spinal injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a spinal 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.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher