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How much compensation can I claim for a vertebral compression fracture?

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Jonathan Speight

Panel Senior Litigator

A guide to making a No Win No Fee vertebral compression fracture claim

Vertebral compression fractures (VCF), also called spinal compression fractures, are caused by one bone in the spine being compressed against another bone.

Back injury compensation claims relating to this injury often follow cycle accidents, other road traffic accidents and falls from height.

Most compression fractures occur in the front of the vertebra, causing the front part of the bone to collapse to create a wedge-shaped vertebra.

One or more vertebrae may be damaged, leading to either the slipping of a disc or the potential dislocation of a particular bone within the back area.

What are the causes of VCF?

These fractures are generally caused by a large impact such as that sustained in some road accidents. This may crush the whole of one or more vertebrae. It may also disrupt or break the posterior of the spine, although this is less common.

Quittance's network have assisted in a range of back and spinal injury claims, including:

Are some at a greater risk of injury?

Some individuals are more at risk of sustaining a VCF injury than others, due to potentially-undiagnosed bone weakness. The weakness may be as a result of osteoporosis (said to be responsible for around 85% of VCFs), or cancers that have metasized to the bone.

Claimants whose injuries are more severe, perhaps in part due to these health conditions, are likely to receive more compensation. The amount is likely to be greater as a result of the higher degree of pain the Claimant has experienced, and also due to the likely longer and more costly recovery.

Identifying vertebral compression fractures

Vertebral compression fractures may be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms may be mistaken for arthritis, aches and pains associated with ageing, spinal disc problems or muscle strain.

An initial diagnosis will be confirmed by an independent medical report. This report will be arranged by your solicitor when you start your claim.

The pain can vary from patient to patient. In some it can be sharp and acute, in others it may not even be noticeable until the injury is very advanced.

Other symptoms include:

?    Curvature of the spine and loss of height
?    Difficulties with balance and mobility 
?    Bowel and bladder problems
?    Potential neurological symptoms.

Longer-term health issues

Left untreated, VCFs may lead to the development of serious health issues and potentially a long-term disability.

As well, as being painful, vertebral compression fractures can restrict movement. Many sufferers find that their walking is affected - requiring more energy because of alterations to the shape of the spine. 

Immobility of the spine may also lead to chest and breathing problems.

On-going sustained back pain and the development of more serious long-term problems including arthritis may lead a patient to become depressed.

Can a claim be brought for a vertebral compression fracture?

Where a vertebral compression fracture has been sustained due to an accident it may be possible to bring a claim for compensation if it can be established that the accident was not the fault of the Claimant.

If the accident has occurred in the workplace, then a claim should be brought against the Claimant's employer. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, all employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for all their employees and workers; this includes those on part-time, temporary and casual contracts, plus self-employed contractors working in the organisation.

They must eliminate or control identified risks, provide training and supervision, and ensure premises and equipment are safe. By not doing so, the employer may be found negligent.

Where the injury is the result of a road traffic accident, a claim should be brought against the person responsible for the accident.

No Win, No Fee arrangements for vertebral compression fracture compensation claims

No Win, No Fee agreements, also known as CFAs or "Conditional Fee Agreements", are the start of a injury claim.

Your Conditional Fee Agreement is, in essence, a contract or "terms and conditions" between your injury lawyer and you.

The agreement details the work your lawyer provides and the success fee that will be taken from your compensation award when the lawyer wins the case.

You have no hidden fees when working with a Quittance injury-specialist solicitor. You will be able to focus on your recovery, with the knowledge that that there will be nothing whatsoever to pay up front.

What to do next

Get more information

Find answers to questions asked by injured people in the FAQ section.

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Ready to start a claim?

Phone the Quittance team on 0800 612 7456 (or 0333 344 6575 from a mobile) to make a compensation claim. Alternatively, you can start a compensation claim here.

Do you have any other questions? Our solicitors can assist

If you would like to discuss your options with a lawyer first, request a callback or call Quittance on 0800 612 7456.