Children with Spinal Injuries

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a life-changing event for anyone, but when it’s your child, the repercussions can be devastating. The resulting physical disability and the accompanying emotional suffering are extremely difficult for both child and parents. If you believe your child’s injury was a result of someone else’s carelessness, you may be able to claim for compensation on their behalf.

children spinal injuries

Compensation for children with a spinal cord injury

Our friendly and dedicated solicitors will meet with you, wherever is most convenient, to assess your child’s claim and determine the best route forward to win compensation. Some of our team have direct personal experience of living with spinal cord injuries, so we know the emotional trauma involved for everyone concerned.

As specialist spinal injury solicitors with plenty of experience working on cases involving children and young people, we work hard to obtain the best medical care and support available for your family. Our Raquel Siganporia sustained a spinal cord injury aged 11 and uses her legal and personal experience when representing our clients who are children, to obtain the best outcome possible.

How much compensation can I get for my child?

It’s difficult to give an exact figure as each case is so different. That said, the compensation awarded to children with spinal cord injuries can be substantial and higher than that of an adult. This difference is because children have to live longer with their injury and require more frequent replacement of equipment as they grow.

Our solicitors will factor all possible expenses that may be required throughout their lifetime, including treatment costs, rehabilitation expenses, home modifications and any potential impact on their education and future income.

Causes of spinal cord injury in children

Between 2% and 5% of all SCIs occur in children. They are predominantly the result of road traffic accidents and sports injuries. However, they can also result from operations that don’t go to plan, infections, and cancers.

The position of the injury on the spinal cord affects the long-term repercussions for the child. An injury to the top of the spine, particularly in the neck area, can result in complete paralysis (including all four limbs, known as Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia). Damage to the lower spine may lead to a loss of function in the lower body and legs (Paraplegia).

Symptoms of spinal cord injury in children

An SCI in a child can sometimes be hard to diagnose due to their small frame and ‘softer’ bones. Their spinal structures are still developing, meaning the mechanisms of injury differ from those in adults.

Common symptoms of a spinal cord injury in children include:

  • flaccid extremities
  • paralysis
  • numbness or paraesthesia (the sensation of burning or tingling)
  • weakness or paresis (a slight or incomplete paralysis)
  • priapism (persistent, prolonged, and usually painful erection)
  • incontinence of bladder and bowels

The younger the child is, the harder it becomes to assess their spinal injuries accurately.

The financial repercussions of a spinal cord injury

While a spinal cord injury is devastating in itself, children usually adapt surprisingly well to their new circumstance when compared to adults. Still, the emotional trauma for child and parents is immense. Paralysis at such a young age also brings a number of other difficult issues, one of which is financial.

A child’s ability to quickly adjust can justify the costs of a range of equipment to help them adapt and engage in the future. As the child grows, equipment such as wheelchairs, standing frames and physiotherapy equipment often only last a short time as growth spurts make them redundant. It can be expensive to constantly replace such specialist equipment.

Parents often require help in modifying their home with care products and assistive technology. You may also need to make changes to your lifestyle and perhaps even your careers.

The chronic long-term complications of a childhood SCI

Children with an SCI also ‘age’ faster compared to their peers. After 20-25 years post-injury, the body experiences increased complications associated with physical paralysis.

They may experience a ‘slowing down’ as well as numerous chronic secondary problems. These include fatigue, shoulder wear and tear, more frequent skin breakdowns (pressure sores), problematic bladder and bowel routines, and increased difficulties manoeuvring in and out of places (bed, bathroom, car).

As an example, a child injured aged five will begin to experience these long-term complications when they are 25-30 years old. Even if the individual copes well for the first 20 years, the next 50 could be fraught with issues.

Children are also nearly always likely to develop scoliosis if they cannot walk and they use a wheelchair. Scoliosis is a curvature of the spine. Medical professionals try to treat scoliosis conservatively by giving a child a brace to wear. If this doesn’t stabilise matters, they might need spinal surgery to fix the spine. If this is required, it usually happens in their teens.

We understand these issues and complications. We are expert in factoring these possibilities into a claim to secure your child’s future where we can.

Education and future work

A spinal cord injury also has a significant influence on a child’s immediate educational needs and future career prospects.

It’s difficult for any young person to return to school after a traumatic and life-changing event. Children with SCI might need extra support at school. Thankfully, schools today are more inclusive environments. Many have adapted their premises for disability use, but a lot still needs to change.

Injured children can flourish with the right support for them and their families, and this is where fair compensation helps.

In the long-term, career opportunities can be hampered, depending on the severity of the spinal injury. These factors are also taken into consideration during a compensation claim.

Talk with our solicitors

To discover more about making a spinal cord injury compensation claim on behalf of your child, call us today on 0800 030 20 40 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.