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Spinal Injury Claim

If you or a member of your family have suffered a back or spinal injury, it can be devastatingly life-changing. The injury can increase healthcare costs, require new home adaptions, and possibly cause the inability to work.

Table of Contents

    Spinal Injuries: Understanding the Severity

    Spinal injuries can be described as complete or incomplete.

    1. Complete spinal injury

    Complete spinal cord injuries are rare, but they are more serious. A Complete injury results in total Paralysis below the primary level of the injury. Complete spinal cord injuries fall into four categories:

    Cervical vertebrae (7)

    C1 – C7 Spinal Injury  Head, hands, shoulder, arms, neck, and diaphragm.

    Thoracic vertebrae (12)

    T1 – T12 Spinal Injury  Chest muscles, abdomen, and muscles in the back.

    Lumbar vertebrae (5)

    L1 – L5 Spinal Injury  Hip, thigh, feet, and knee muscles.

    Sacrum (5)

    S1 – S5 Spinal Injury  Bladder and Bowel.

    2. Incomplete spinal injury

    More than 60% of all spinal cord injuries are incomplete. Medical experts are trained to respond appropriately to this damage to avoid further complications. Incomplete spinal injuries are classified into three categories:

    • Anterior Cord Syndrome
    • Central Cord Syndrome
    • Brown-Sequard Syndrome

    Common causes

    Many types of accidents can lead to spinal injuries, including:

    • Road accidents: Road traffic accidents are the most common cause of spinal injuries. There is always a possibility of spinal injuries resulting from accidents involving cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians, especially if the victim did not wear a seatbelt or helmet while in the vehicle. Read More
    • Slip and falls: Falls are a common cause of spinal injuries, particularly among older adults. Falls can occur in many different settings, including the workplace, home, and public places.
    • Accidents in the workplace: Spinal injuries can occur in a variety of workplace settings, including construction sites, factories, and offices. Workers who lift heavy objects or work at heights are particularly at risk of spinal injury. Read More
    • Sports and recreation: Sports and recreational activities, such as football, rugby, skiing, and horse riding, can all lead to spinal injuries. These injuries are prevalent among young people and athletes. Read More

    Do I have grounds for a spinal injury claim?

    There are several grounds on which a spinal injury claim can be made

    • You were owed a duty of care by another party (for example, as a road user, employee, patient, or visitor to a premises)
    • That duty of care was breached, i.e., through negligence
    • You have suffered an injury as a result of that breach of duty/ negligence

    Spinal injury claim amount

    How much compensation you receive for a spinal injury claim is dictated by two legally binding documents known as:

    The “Book of Quantum” and

    The recently published Personal Injuries Guidelines by the Judicial Council of Ireland. The Book of Quantum dictates how much compensation you are owed if your authorisation was received from PIAB prior to the 21st of April 2021. In all other cases, compensation in respect of general damages is assessed with the aid of the Judicial council’s Personal Injuries Guidelines.

    The Book of Quantum sets out general guidelines as to the amounts that may be awarded or assessed in spinal injury claims. The guidelines are divided into sections depending on what category of injury was suffered, e.g., head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries and spinal fractures, upper limb injuries, lower limb injuries, and body and internal organs. The Book of Quantum sets out 4 steps to assess what compensation is appropriate for the suffered injury. These steps are as follows:

    1. Identify the category of injury
    2. Assess the severity of the injury (through medical reports and records)
    3. Research the value range
    4. Consider the effect of multiple injuries

    The Personal Injuries Guidelines were adopted by The Judicial Council on the 6th of March 2021. Similar to the Book of Quantum, this legal document sets out guidelines for assessing compensation in respect of general damages. The general principles for this assessment centre on three criteria:

    1. Awards of damages must be fair and reasonable to both the claimant and the defendant(s)
    2. Awards must be proportionate to the injuries sustained
    3. Awards must be compared on a scale of injuries that are both of a lesser and greater magnitude

    One of the most substantial differences brought about by this update is that the average level of damages awarded has been reduced. The new guidelines have, however, provided more detail and more explanation for claimants, which is overall a welcomed change to the process of making a personal injury claim.

    Statute of Limitations

    Generally, the time limit to bring legal proceedings for a spinal injury claim is two years from the date you first become aware you were injured due to an accident/negligent act done to you. There are, however, exceptions to the application for a spinal injury claim. If someone is under 18, the two-year period does not commence until their 18th birthday.

    Also, in cases where a person does not know, they have been injured at first, and they have taken all steps to find out if they are injured, then the two-year period may not begin until they have established that they are injured in some way.

    Support group

    Spinal Injuries Ireland

    SII is the only support and service agency for people who have sustained spinal cord injuries and their families. They provide a nationwide person-centered service to assist people in engaging fully in society following their injury.

    Our team

    Coleman Legal LLP Team

    The highly experienced team at Coleman Legal LLP will discuss your case with you and advise whether you may have a potential spinal injury claim against another party. If you have a potential spinal injury claim, we will, on your instructions:

    • Instruct technical experts as necessary to thoroughly investigate your case.
    • Obtain your medical records.
    • Prepare and submit an application to the Injuries Board on your behalf.
    • Prepare and issue court proceedings if the case is not resolved through the Injuries Board.
    • Manage your case through the litigation process, supporting you throughout.

    If you want to take legal action over a personal injury, you should consult our injury solicitors, who are members of the Law Society’s injury accreditation scheme. Contacted us at:

    Coleman Legal LLP Solicitors

    84 Talbot Street, Dublin 1
    D01 YX60
    DX 112002

    Contact Details

    Free Phone: 1800-844-104
    Fax: (01) 5312727
    Email: [email protected]
    Online Enquiry Form: Apply

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    Clodagh Magennis

    Clodagh Magennis

    Head of Client Services

    P: 1800-844-104
    E: [email protected]

    ”At Coleman Legal, excellence in customer care is paramount. We aim to meet both prospective and existing client’s needs in a professional, engaging, and friendly manner with a clear objective to give quality legal advice and reach a positive outcome.”

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