Why bring a spinal injury claim?
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and life changing. They can leave a person partially or totally paralysed, and can bring with it a myriad of issues including incontinence, sexual dysfunction and chronic pain. Most people will find that they require some level of care and/or support for the rest of their lives.
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal injury, whether it was caused by medical negligence, a car accident or a fall, you might be entitled to make a spinal injury claim. Compensation will never be able to make up for what has happened to you, but it can give you access to the resources you need to adjust and have the best possible quality of life. Bringing a spinal injury claim could also have the following related benefits:
It can help with life after leaving hospital
When you’re left paralysed by a spinal injury, you’ll usually stay in hospital for some time. There you’ll have access to full time care, medical treatment and rehabilitation services.
Once you’re ready to be discharged, leaving hospital and starting the transition to independent living can be a difficult change. The compensation from a spinal injury claim can help to fund the support you may need to make this transition as smooth as possible. It could also help ensure you don’t get lost in the system and end up waiting too long for treatment or rehab.
Knowing you have support waiting for you – or at least support that can be arranged as soon as you need it – can be extremely encouraging, helping you maintain a positive outlook as you adjust to your new way of life.
It can help cater to your housing needs
If you have limited mobility following a spinal injury, you may have specialist housing needs. In order for you to have the best chance to live independently, you may need to have adaptations carried out on your current home or move to new accommodation that’s more suitable. Bringing a spinal injury claim can help fund the expenses that arise.
As well as covering the cost of a wheelchair, compensation can help with alterations such as widening doorways, installing ramps or a stairlift, lowering worktops, installing an accessible shower, and the like.
There are a host of new technologies and systems that can help make homelife easier. For example, you may be able to install door opening systems you can control using a tablet, allowing you to let carers in without having to get to your front door.
The better your home is adapted to your needs, the more you can do for yourself and the easier it will be to adapt to your injury.
Similarly, it can help with day-to-day tasks
As well as helping pay for adaptations to your home, the compensation you receive with your claim can help make day-to-day life easier – from bathing and dressing to grocery shopping and meal preparation. Whether you need to fund professional carers to help you, or you need to buy special aids and equipment so you can carry out tasks independently, the compensation can cover the costs. If you have a friend or relative caring for you, a claim can also recompense them for their time and any loss of earnings they incur.
You can use it to purchase specialist aids and equipment
As we’ve already mentioned, purchasing specific aids or equipment can be instrumental in helping you get back to your day-to-day life. A spinal injury compensation claim can fund the costs of the items you may need following your injury, such as:
- A specialist wheelchair
- An adapted car that can accommodate a wheelchair
- Hoists and slings to help with transfers
- An anti-pressure mattress
- A cordless telephone and other communication aids
- A voice-activated computer system
It can help you live your life to the full
After a spinal injury, you may find that you’ll need to change the way you approach the activities you enjoy, such as travelling or sports. They may require more planning, equipment, time or support – and this usually means more cost. A claim can help to cover these extra costs, enabling you to continue doing the things you love.
If you want to travel abroad, for example, you may need to account for extra logistics such as paying for additional luggage or a travel companion. Some places, such as Paris, aren’t well-adapted for wheelchair users so you may need to pay for taxis rather than using public transport. If you need to travel with a lot of equipment, you may need to hire an adapted van rather than a car to make your journey more comfortable.
Whatever you enjoyed doing before your spinal injury, a compensation claim can help cover the extra costs that come with adapting to your ‘new normal’.
It can open new doors
Having a sum of money dedicated to your recovery, rehab and adaptations can give you the opportunity to join clubs and social groups with people in similar circumstances. Whether you join a sports club, a drama society or painting group, the compensation can allow you to explore different group and social activities so you can meet new people, enhance your social life and find a support network. Having a spinal injury can quickly make you feel isolated and alone. Taking an active part in community groups can be instrumental in boosting your morale, helping you make new friends and adding more adventure to your life.
Your claim could help in preventing further injuries
If your spinal injury was caused by medical negligence, such as an error during surgery or a misdiagnosis of a spinal condition, it’s important that questions are asked.
Bringing a spinal injury claim forces the healthcare provider to investigate what went wrong – and it could help shine a light on any bad practices that might be affecting other patients. Any improvements resulting from the inquiry may prevent others from suffering in a similar way.
Going through the claims process can also provide you and your loved ones with a better understanding of what led to your injury and who was responsible. This clarity could be what you need to move on from the causes of your injury and allow you to focus on how you can best deal with the new future before you.
How much compensation for a spinal injury claim?
With the possibility of the benefits outlined above, you may be wondering how much compensation you could expect to receive for a spinal injury claim. Compensation for spinal injuries can vary depending on individual circumstances and reflects the specific needs you will likely have following an injury.
The amount of damages you’re awarded will be assessed in two categories: general damages and special damages. General damages are awarded based on the pain and suffering you’ve gone through, with the amount dependent on the severity of your injury and how it affects your experience and enjoyment of life now and in the future. Guidelines for general damages are published by the Judicial College.
Special damages are compensation for the financial losses and costs you’ve had and are predicted to have as a result of your injury. It’s intended to put you in the position you would’ve been in had you not been injured. The types of things you can claim for include:
- Hospitalisation and medical care
- Long-term rehabilitation
- Nursing care
- Disability aids and specialist equipment
- Adaptations to your home
- Loss of earnings
Our specialist team of solicitors are highly experienced in complex spinal injury cases. You can read some stories detailing our successful spinal injury claims for more details on what a claim involves. If you’re unsure whether or not you have a case, or would like to know more about what’s involved in making a claim, you can contact us for a no obligation conversation.