Fact sheet: Spinal injury compensation claims
If you have been involved in an accident and have sustained a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to claim for compensation. The claim process can be confusing and intimidating.
At Aspire Law, we are experts at dealing with spinal cord injury compensation claims. We have produced this short guide to explain how the compensation process works.
Why make a claim?
The main purpose of making a claim is to secure for you and your family a sum of money that will allow you to live independently for the rest of your life.
Values awarded can vary dramatically, but in broad terms you will be compensated to enable you and your family to continue to enjoy the same standard of living you would have had, if your accident had never happened.
There are three main elements to your compensation:
- Compensation for pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.These are often referred to as ‘general damages’.
- Compensation for financial loss.This includes any income you have lost as a result of an inability to carry on working, as well as the future losses calculated up to the date that you planned to retire. This can also include any travel, accommodation and out of pocket expenses incurred by your family and friends as a result of your accident.
- Provision for medical care. Your spinal cord injury may mean that you require a full-time care regime for the rest of your life.
Compensation payments can be made as a lump sum, a one off payment or can be spread across a number of years. They may also be spread across a number of years, index linked to inflation.
We will always provide you with advice about the options that may suit you best.
How long will the claim process take?
Compensation claims for spinal cord injury can often take up to three years to conclude, but this can depend on how fiercely a claim is defended. There are a number of key elements to your claim that require input from medical experts and other witnesses, and sometimes this can take a long time to co-ordinate and arrange.
At Aspire Law, we understand that a case that drags on is not in the best interests of our client, so we aim to get you the maximum level of compensation in the shortest possible timeframe.
We also work very hard to make sure we secure interim payments for you, wherever possible. Interim payments are payments made by the defendant’s liability insurer, in cases where they have admitted liability. These payments are extremely useful and can be made shortly after your accident has happened.
For instance, they can be used to pay for adaptations to your home, first class private care regimes and the specialist equipment that you will need to become as independent as possible.
How long do I have to make a claim?
Normally you have three years from the date of your accident, or the date that you became aware of the injuries sustained, to make a compensation claim. Different guidelines apply for children under the age of 18.
It is always a good idea to consult a specialist spinal cord injury law firm like Aspire Law as soon as possible after the accident.
This will enable us to collect valuable CCTV evidence and witness statements whilst the details of the accident can still be easily recollected.
To make a successful claim for compensation we will need to prove that the defendant was to blame for your accident, so the sooner important evidence can be collected, the stronger your claim will be.
How do I fund a claim?
At Aspire Law we fund the vast majority of our cases through Conditional Fee Agreements, which are more commonly referred to as no win no fee agreements. We will explain to you in detail how no win no fee works, but in simple terms if you win your case, your compensation and our fees are paid for by the defendant’s liability insurer. If you lose your case, then you will not have to pay anything. This is a good option for many of our clients because it represents a no risk way of funding what can be a very expensive legal case.
If you are a member of a trade union, you may well be entitled to legal expenses insurance.
It is a good idea to ask a member of your family to find all of your current insurance policy documentation because this may provide legal expense funding, a detail that could be buried within the small print. We will be happy to have a look through any insurance schedules that you have to see if such funding exists.
How else can a solicitor help me?
A serious spinal injury to you or a member of your family can sometimes mean that you are not able to meet your usual financial commitments, like paying the mortgage or other household bills. We can help you reduce some of the immediate financial concerns that you may have in a number of useful ways:
We will be happy to review any insurance policies that you may have, to make sure you are claiming everything to which you are entitled. This can include sickness and disability insurance as well as legal expenses cover.
Help with your creditors
If there are any creditors chasing you for urgent payment, we will contact them on your behalf to explain about your injury and your compensation claim. We ask them to be flexible whilst the details of the claim are put together.
We will always look to obtain interim payments from the defendant as soon as possible. These payments will enable you to meet any immediate financial obligations you may have, as well as funding the purchase of any specialist equipment that will help you regain your independence.
If you or a member of your family has recently sustained a spinal cord injury, you are entitled to a range of welfare benefits. The welfare benefits system is very complicated to navigate, particularly if this is the first time you are making such an application. We work very closely with our partners at the charity Aspire, who provide a dedicated Welfare Benefits Advice Service. We will refer you to them, so that you can get advice and support to help you to claim the payments to which you are entitled.
Help with your employer
If you are having any problems with your employer, perhaps relating to non payment of sick pay or a reluctance to negotiate a phased return to work, we can work with you and your employer to reach a solution.
You may have already spoken to a solicitor about your claim and been told that you do not have a credible case. We come across this quite often and would recommend that you speak to us to obtain a second opinion.
Spinal cord injury compensation claims can be very complicated and require the intervention of a specialist and experienced legal firm like Aspire Law. We may be able to see some detail in your case that was overlooked by the previous solicitor, in which case we would be pleased to represent you. It will not cost you anything to ask us for a second opinion about your case, so if in doubt, please call us on 0800 030 20 40.
If you have been allocated a solicitor by your insurance company and are unhappy with the way that your case is being handled, you are entitled to change solicitor. We will be happy to talk to your existing solicitor, and will make all the arrangements to take over your case.
Alternatively, your compensation claim may have gone to court and failed, or perhaps you did not receive the amount of compensation you expected. We would be happy to review the details of your case and let you know if we think you have grounds for an appeal.