Spinal Injury Due to Medical Negligence
Our specialist medical negligence solicitors have experience dealing with a range of negligent spinal injuries and conditions, including cauda equina syndrome and spinal surgery claims.
If your injury was caused by poor treatment, negligent surgery or a failure to properly treat or diagnose, it’s likely that our solicitors have previously dealt with a spinal injury compensation claim similar to yours.
The information below relates to medical negligence and spinal injuries. If your injury was caused by an accident or trauma other than medical negligence, please visit our spinal injury compensation claims page.
We are proud to be Business Members of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), which provides essential support and guidance for those affected by a medical or other spinal cord injury.
Can I make a spinal negligence claim?
To make a claim for spinal negligence compensation, we will need to show that your treatment fell below the standard that you could reasonably expect from your healthcare professionals. We can discuss your situation with you and establish exactly what happened and why you have been injured.
We offer no win no fee funding for spinal negligence cases, so you have the option to make your compensation claim with no financial risk to yourself. There may also be other alternatives for funding, including insurance policies you may hold. If you would like to call us, we will be happy to go through your options with you to assess the best choice for your circumstances.
Looking for more information? Please take a look at our spinal injury medical negligence FAQs or get in touch to discuss your case with a member of our team.
Why choose Barcan+Kirby for medical spinal injury compensation?
We are independently recognised as one of the leading medical negligence teams in the South West. This includes:
- Top ranking by legal directory Chambers and Partners UK for our medical negligence practice
- Four members of the team – Richard Harries, Jay Nathwani, Claire Hurrell and Fiona Dabell – are individually ranked by Chambers and Partners for their expertise
- Our Clinical Negligence team is one of only five medical negligence departments in the South West to receive a top tier ranking (Tier 1) from legal directory the Legal 500
- Richard Harries is recognised by the Legal 500 as a ‘Leading Individual’ whilst Helen Franklin and Jay Nathwani are listed as ‘Next Generation Partners’. Claire Hurrell and Fiona Dabell are also noted as ‘Key Lawyers’
- The team is headed up by panel members of Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA) (the charity for patient safety and justice) and the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Accreditation Scheme
- Team of the Year award winners at the Bristol Law Society Awards 2019
Where necessary, our medical negligence lawyers work with various external experts to ensure your case is managed to the highest standard, including barristers, cost lawyers and charities.
For more information about our team and the services we offer, see our medical negligence compensation claims page.
Spinal injury medical negligence FAQs
The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae which are split into different levels:
- Cervical spine, which is your neck area
- Thoracic spine, which is the main and largest area of your back
- Lumbar spine and sacrum which is the lowest area of your back
There are many discs, ligaments and muscles which protect your spinal cord. When a break, dislocation or injury in these occurs, it can damage your spinal cord and may result in paralysis, muscle weakness and altered sensations. This is because the messages that the brain would normally send down to the relevant muscles are disrupted due to the break or injury.
Types of spinal injury
There are two types of spinal injury: complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means a person has lost all sensory and motor function below the site of the spinal cord injury. Whereas, with an incomplete spinal cord injury, the person retains some function below the injury.
Common causes of spinal injuries as the result of medical negligence include:
- Delayed management of cauda equina syndrome
- Wrongly administered spinal anaesthesia and spinal nerve damage
- Misdiagnosed spinal fractures
- Spinal surgery negligence
- Failure to treat a spinal fracture
- Failure to adequately explain the risks associated with spinal surgery and provide alternative options
- Cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but serious neurological condition. It occurs when the nerves at the base of the spine become trapped or damaged. Cauda equina syndrome is considered a surgical emergency, so early diagnosis and treatment are vital in order to avoid lasting damage.
If there’s a delay in diagnosis of cauda equina, the sufferer can be left with severe disabilities. These can include permanent incontinence in the bowel or bladder, loss of sexual function, limb weakness and inability to walk.
Most negligence claims for cauda equina and spinal injuries arise from an initial misdiagnosis of the condition, delay in diagnosis or delay in providing the correct treatment.
To start a claim for spinal injury, you can speak to a member of our Medical Negligence team, who will take details of what happened and assess whether you have grounds to claim compensation.
Once you have instructed our medical negligence solicitors, they will need to obtain evidence to prove that the injury to your spinal cord is as a result of medical negligence. Our solicitors will rely on medical records, statements from medical staff and the expertise of external experts.
To sue for a spinal injury caused by medical negligence, we will need to establish three things:
- You were owed a duty of care;
- This duty of care was breached; and
- This failure in the duty of care caused your injuries.
We will investigate your case fully to establish exactly what happened and request all available documentation from the medical authority involved, including your medical records and any incident reports they may have prepared.
We will arrange for our medical experts to examine you and prepare reports on your injuries. We will also take witness statements in support of your case.
Compensation for spinal injury negligence is divided into two categories:
- General damages
- Special damages
General damages mean payment to compensate you for your pain and suffering and for the loss of the ability to do things, known as loss of amenity.
Special damages means compensation for the financial losses related to what has happened. This includes loss of earnings, future loss of earnings, the cost of adapting your home if this is needed, special equipment, home help, help with personal care and the cost of any medical or therapeutic care.
The compensation in respect of a hospital spinal injury claim can be substantial if the incident has left you with long-term incapacity. We can discuss your potential spinal negligence settlement with you and answer your questions about the compensation you could reasonably expect.
In certain circumstances, we can request interim payments from the health authority and their insurer to ensure that you have adequate financial support during the time that your case takes to complete.
If a medical spinal injury is not treated, it can cause permanent nerve damage and, potentially, paralysis. In the short-term, an untreated spinal injury can deteriorate as swelling and bleeding cause pressure on the nerves.
Where a spinal fracture is not diagnosed in the long-term, the spine may become deformed which can potentially cause severe pain and compression of the nerves.
You should speak to an expert medical negligence solicitor straightaway where:
- Your healthcare practitioner has failed to diagnose your spinal injury; and
- You believe that this has led to medical problems that you would not otherwise have suffered; or
- That your medical problems have been made worse because of a failure to deal appropriately with your spinal problems.
You generally have three years from the date the negligence occurred, or from when you first became aware of the spinal injury, in which to start a claim. Our medical negligence solicitors can talk you through the claims process and advise you on the relevant time limits during your initial meeting.
If a child has suffered a medical spinal injury, the three-year period starts on their 18th birthday. If someone does not have the mental capacity to bring a claim on their own behalf, there is no time limit and they can bring a medical spinal injury claim at any stage after the incident.
Start a spinal injury medical negligence claim today
A spinal injury can have a devastating impact. Our medical negligence solicitors are only too familiar with the challenges those with a debilitating spinal condition face every day.
We offer a free consultation with a spinal injury medical negligence claims solicitor to talk about your options and how best to fund your spinal negligence compensation claim.