Pedestrian in a Road Traffic Accident: The Road to A Compensation Claim

Pedestrian spinal cord accident

A spinal cord injury results after trauma is experienced on the spine which, leads to a fractured or dislocated vertebrae. Road traffic accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injury.


Spinal Cord Tissue Damage

Displaced bone fragments or ligaments can bruise and tear the spinal cord tissue. As a consequence, nerve cells are destroyed and signals can no longer be carried up and down the spinal column between the brain and body. This is why, in the majority of cases, where there is spinal cord injury, there is too paralysis.

If you or a loved one sustains a spinal cord injury the consequences can be truly life altering. 

“Today alone 444 people will attain a spinal cord injury through from a Road Traffic Accident.”

As it stands, in the UK there are 1200 new spinal cord injury cases every year. To put this in perspective, that is a new life-changing SCI occurring every 8 hours. Of this, 37% - which works out at 444 spinal cord injuries - are caused on our roads alone every year. 

If we break that 37% down even further, the distribution of spinal cord injuries caused by vehicles are as follows:

Spinal cord injuries

Although pedestrians account for a smaller percentage, this still translates as 15 people a year whose lives are unnecessarily impacted by the devastating results of being a pedestrian in a road traffic accident.


Road Safety: Prevention is the only cure for Road Traffic Accidents

As above, the national spinal cord injury statistical centre (NSCISC)’s recent findings show vehicular road accidents to account for 39% of spinal cord injuries. This ranks these types of accidents 1st in causes of spinal cord injury. This figure is particularly devastating as the vast majority of accidents caused on our roads can easily be avoided. 

As it stands there is no definitive or proven treatment for spinal cord injuries. This means that prevention is not only better than a cure, but it is the only cure.


Spinal Cord Injury ‘Treatment’ for a Pedestrian

Treatment for spinal cord injury is two-fold. First is an acute recovery stage. This aims to stabilise the patient whether via surgical fixation, conservative care or both. 

Acute recovery can be a long a nervous time. Following SCI the human body reacts by shutting down areas of the nervous system to prevent further damage. This is called spinal shock. 

Unfortunately, spinal shock also acts to mask the damage of the injury. This means the patient’s medical team is prevented from determining the level of permanent damage and the prognosis.

Spinal shock can last for a period of up to six weeks post injury. But once subsided, medical professionals can then make an accurate prognosis and examine the extent of the spinal injury. The results of these examinations heavily steer the second phase of any treatment: Rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation is hugely varied from patient to patient. However, the main collective aim is to achieve the highest level of functional independence possible. Whilst, at the same time, optimising whatever sparing the patient may have.

Once recovery and rehabilitation have been completed the individual is then allowed home. Home, at this stage, will either be a new home or their previous home that has been heavily adapted. This is necessary as it will allow the individual to continue living as independently as possible and to allow wheelchair access.


Building Your Spinal Cord Injury Compensation Claim

Following any car or road traffic accident, whether you were a passenger, driver or pedestrian it is important to act fast. 

This includes gathering all evidence, witness statements and seeking instant medical attention. The aim is to collect as much evidence to support you if - further down the line - you decide to stake a compensation claim.

Additionally, the faster you act the more time you will have to carefully consider a solicitor to carry your claim forward. 

It is important to consider your options at length. If you would wish to discuss this with anyone as Aspire Law we would be more than happy to help. Each one of our solicitors will talk you through your query with an expert knowledge and experience of spinal cord injury.

We understand that if you have been a passenger in a car accident or similar, then the majority of the time the driver will indeed be someone close. It is important to note that a claim would be made against the person responsible’s insurance company and not the person themselves. 

Consequently, if personal or family ties are holding you back from claiming potentially life changing compensation, then please do get in touch so that we can discuss a favourable way forward for all.


Organisations That Can Help With Your Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury and the paralysis that goes along with it can make the idea of returning to normal life immensely daunting. However, it doesn't need to be the case and you are not alone. 

There are many charities and organisations whose aim is to help those with SCI return to as normal a life as possible. 

Four of the most useful are listed below:

• First and foremost, our partners Aspire Charity a national charity provide help to those paralysed due to a spinal injury. They offer practical help, financial aid, housing and assistive technology and good honest advice. 

Rica carries out research on consumer affairs and publishes information to enable disabled people to live independently. They evaluate and improve standards of products and services by ensuring manufacturers, providers and regulators are aware of the needs of less able bodied people.

Back UP! work to inspire independence in anyone affected by spinal cord injury and to encourage all to get the most from their lives. Their services include mentoring, wheelchair training, courses and support to get back to work or school.

Apparalyzed is a free spinal cord injury peer support website and discussion forum. It offers help and advice for everyday problems experienced by those living with paralysis due to SCI. 

Please note that the above list is nowhere near exhaustive. There is a plethora of organisations out there to help with any problem you may encounter following an SCI, from the general to the specific. 

Following, Aspire Law are delighted to announce the publication of our latest resources The Directory: 

The Directory is a useful guide for people who have recently sustained or are living with a long-term spinal cord injury.  It contains useful information about organisations that provide essential help and support. It covers a wide range of subjects; from charities to equipment, to transport, to holidays and mobility and much more. 

You can view and download a copy of The Directory on our website by following this link.  


Compensation Claiming for a Spinal Cord Injury with Aspire Law

After a spinal cord injury, a compensation claim can mean everything. Adjusting to an SCI and living with such disability, unfortunately, does not come cheap at all. Thus, one way to manage these extra costs is to secure compensation if the accident in question was not wholly your fault.

A fair financial settlement can enable you and your family to continue as normal a life and level of independence as is possible.

Even if you feel partly to blame for the incident, you should get in touch with a specialist spinal cord injury law firm to discuss your options.

At Aspire Law, we have a lot of experience in these complex and highly sensitive cases. We have even settled many claims where our client was partly to blame for their accident.

If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of being a pedestrian in a road traffic accident or by means of any other accident then please get in touch, we can change your life.


See also... 

National Witness Appeal on BBC's Crime Watch for Chanelle Higgins

Personal Injury Compensation - for those living with SCI

Pedestrian Accident Spinal Injury Compensation: When, Who and How?