Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF) Compensation Claims
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by spine vertebrae compression fracture we can help.
The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered spine vertebrae compression fracture 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
vertebral compression fracture compensation:
Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCF), also called spinal compression fractures, are caused when one bone in the spine is compressed against another.
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?
Vertebral Compression Fractures are generally caused by a forceful impact, typical in a road accident or a fall from height. This impact 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.
Who is at greatest risk of injury?
Some individuals are more at risk of sustaining a VCF due to potentially undiagnosed bone weakness. Weakness or brittleness of the bones is associated with osteoporosis which is a factor in around 85% of VCFs. Cancers that have metastasised to the bone can also weaken the bones.
If your injuries are more severe, perhaps in part due to these health conditions, you are likely to receive more compensation. The amount is likely to be greater as a result of the higher degree of pain you may have experienced, and the longer period of recovery needed.
Diagnosing Vertebral Compression Fractures
Vertebral Compression Fractures may be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms may be mistaken for arthritis, aches and pains associated with aging, spinal disc problems or muscle strain.
The severity of VCF pain varies considerably. Some patients report acute pain, where others may experience no pain until the injury is very advanced.
VCF symptoms include:
- Curvature of the spine and loss of height
- Difficulties with balance and mobility
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Potential neurological symptoms.
Diagnosis will be confirmed by an independent medical assessment which will be arranged by your solicitor when you start your claim.
Longer-term health issues
Left untreated, VCFs may lead to the development of serious health issues and, potentially, 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.
Do I have a vertebral compression fracture claim?
It should be possible to make a vertebral compression fracture claim if you were injured:
- in the last three years, and;
- someone else was at fault, and;
- that person owed you a duty of care.
Injury 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 vertebral compression fracture claim on their own behalf.
Can I still claim if I didn't report the vertebral compression fracture?
If you did not report the accident it can make it more difficult to pursue a vertebral compression fracture claim, but a claim may still be possible. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and on the other evidence available.
The amount of money you could claim for your vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture? (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
Vertebral compression fracture compensation amounts
The following vertebral compression fracture 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.
|Back injury||Serious||Less severe disability||£22,130 to £30,910|
|Back injury||Serious||Ligament or disc damage with permanent symptoms||£9,970 to £22,130|
|Neck injury||Moderate||Injuries that worsen an existing condition||£6,290 to £10,960|
|Neck injury||Severe||Causing paralysis||Around £118,240|
|Paralysis||Paralysis of short duration||Up to £39,330|
|Paralysis||Paraplegia||£174,620 to £226,610|
|Paralysis||Tetraplegia (Quadriplegia)||£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.
General damages for a serious back injury can be £30,000
For a more minor arm injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,000.
However, if you have a serious back injury and a more minor arm injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + 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 vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.
Your vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture compensation
Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture claim could be worth now:
How long does a compression fracture claim take?
How long it can take to secure compensation for a compression fracture can vary considerably.
For example, a simple liability accepted injury claim might be concluded in a matter of weeks. However, if liability is denied a claim can take substantially longer. Normally an injury claim takes 4 to 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read: How long will my claim take?
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your vertebral compression fracture 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.
Will I get advice on treatment options?
As part of the vertebral compression fracture claims process, your solicitor can arrange a thorough and independent needs assessment. The assessment may offer advice on treatment, access to treatments and therapies not always available on the NHS and co-ordination with rehabilitation providers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists etc
How did your injury occur?
The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:
No win, no fee
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 vertebral compression fracture 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 promise
Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is zero financial risk in making a vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your compensation is awarded. 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 vertebral compression fracture claim?
If your vertebral compression fracture 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.
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. vertebral compression fracture 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:
if you can claim
to start a claim
Vertebral compression fracture 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.
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.
How long do I have to make a vertebral compression fracture claim?
In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the vertebral compression fracture to make an injury claim.
The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your vertebral compression fracture claim becomes 'statute barred'.
Can I claim for a vertebral compression fracture 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 vertebral compression fracture compensation.
In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a vertebral compression fracture claim will be taken on by a solicitor.
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.
Jonathan Speight, Senior litigator
About the author
Jonathan has over 30 years' experience in the personal injury sector and has been awarded the rank of Senior Litigator by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).