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Cauda equina syndrome claims
What is a cauda equina injury?
It is not uncommon for people to suffer a ‘slipped disc’ in the lower part of the spine. This disc is the soft cushion of tissue that we have between each of our vertebrae that acts like a shock absorber. Normally when a disc slips, it will bulge out to the left or the right, irritating the root of the main nerve to the leg on that side of the body. This can cause pain (known as ‘sciatica’), altered sensation and sometimes weakness in the leg on the side with the bulged disc.
In rare cases, the disc bulges out centrally rather than to one particular side. This can affect not just one or both legs, but also the buttocks and ‘saddle’ area (the area between the legs including the genitals). The result can be problems with bladder, bowel and sexual function.
This conditions known as ‘cauda equina syndrome’. ‘Cauda equina’ is Latin for ‘horse’s tail’, so-called because to early anatomists the nerve roots that fan out at the base of the spinal cord looked like a horse’s tail.
How do cauda equina claims arise?
People might bring cauda equina claims when they’re left with permanent injuries after ‘red flag’ symptoms of this condition have been missed.
Most episodes of back pain and/or sciatica in one leg will get better with time and straightforward treatment is usually managed by GPs without the need for hospital referral.
However, there are some symptoms that have to be handled very carefully as they may need specialist investigation or referral or at least specific warnings to be given to the patient as to what to do if the symptoms get worse.
The ‘red flag’ symptoms of possible cauda equina syndrome include:
- Sciatica in both legs
- Altered sensation in the buttocks and/or ‘saddle area’
- Difficulty in lifting one or both feet
- Problems passing urine
These symptoms should not be ignored and need to be investigated urgently because the situation can deteriorate quickly, leading to serious and permanent problems. In these instances, emergency spinal surgery to relieve compression of the nerve root may be needed. If these symptoms are not followed up quickly enough, permanent and preventable injuries could occur.
What is the process for claiming cauda equina compensation?
If you are worried that you are worse off because of a failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome at an earlier stage, you can get in touch with our specialist solicitors. We can usually investigate your case under a no win, no fee agreement. We will get copies of your medical records and prepare a statement from you about what happened. We will instruct an independent medical expert to get answers for you about whether you should have been diagnosed earlier and, if so, what difference the delayed treatment made to your cauda equina injuries and long-term prognosis.
How much compensation can you claim for cauda equina syndrome?
As with most forms of medical negligence, it’s possible to claim for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life for a cauda equina injury. It’s also possible for you to be compensated for lost or reduced earnings as well as the additional treatment or care which you have needed
What is the time limit to claim compensation for cauda equina syndrome?
Every cauda equina claim is different and your specialist solicitor will advise you about your particular case, however, in most cases, you have three years from the date your cauda equina syndrome should have been diagnosed or the date your cauda equina injury was actually diagnosed to issue a claim with the Court.
As it takes time to receive the documents and independent expert evidence needed to bring a cauda equina misdiagnosis claim we always recommend that you speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible.
How much does it cost to make a cauda equina claim?
In most cases, our specialist cauda equina injury solicitors will represent you on a no win, no fee agreement. They will usually want to meet with you when you decide to go ahead with investigating a claim, so that they can explain more in person about how your legal claim is funded and the steps involved with bringing a cauda equina injury claim. Your solicitor will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Cauda equina syndrome misdiagnosis compensation – speak to a specialist medical solicitor
If you’re unhappy with how medical professionals have handled your cauda equina syndrome diagnosis and treatment, our specialist medical negligence solicitors are here to help. With decades of experience between us in cauda equina injury claims, we can help assess and investigate your situation and find out whether you might be owed answers and compensation.
Give us a call on 0117 905 9785 to speak to a member of our team about your cauda equina injury and what to do next. We handle all calls with compassion and in total confidence.