A back injury can stop you from carrying out the simplest daily activities and might cause a lot of pain, suffering and mental anguish. Sometimes, back injuries can have debilitating, long-lasting effects.
You can suffer a back injury in a road traffic accident, an accident at work, or after a slip, trip and fall. Some can be caused by sudden forceful trauma, while others are progressive and develop in time due to repetitive straining.
Mild back injuries cause pain, stiffness or difficulty moving, while a severe trauma can lead to difficulty breathing, fever, numbness, blood in urine and paralysis. If you or a loved one suffered a back injury without being at fault, you might be entitled to claim compensation.
A back injury claim can cover the financial losses you incurred because of your accident and any related pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
The first step towards securing compensation is contacting an experienced solicitor. They will let you know if you have a valid claim and answer any questions you might have. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form to receive a call back.
Can I make a back injury claim?
No two cases are the same, so a solicitor will have to discuss the detail of the accident with you. Within minutes, you will find out if you have a valid claim, but, as a general rule, you might be eligible for compensation if:
- you suffered an injury in the past three years
- somebody else who owed you a duty of care was at fault for the accident
- they caused you a back injury by acting negligently
You can also make a back injury compensation claim even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Examples include not wearing your seatbelt during a car accident or being involved in a pedestrian accident due to crossing the street irresponsibly.
If you have partial liability, your compensation total will be reduced due to contributory negligence. The contributory negligence fee will be decided by a judge based on the circumstances of your accident.
Your solicitor will help establish liability based on the accident circumstances. Usually, you will claim compensation from:
- The insurance company of another driver
- The local authorities, for situations such as pavement accidents
- The Motor Insurer’s Bureau, if your injury was caused by a hit and run or uninsured driver
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if you suffered a back injury in a violent assault
- Your employer, if you had an accident at work
- A business owner or operator, for slips and trips in a privately owned business such as a shop, restaurant or supermarket accident
To find out if you have a valid back injury claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
How do I make a back injury claim?
Back injuries can occur in a variety of accidents that involve a physical impact or manual handling of heavy objects. You can develop back pain even by spending a lot of time at the computer in an incorrect position.
If you believe that your back injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, you might want to make a back pain claim.
Claiming compensation can seem like a time consuming and stressful prospect. However, an experienced solicitor will offer you help and advice through your claim and take care of all the required paperwork. If they decide you have a fair chance of success, you can reach a no win no fee agreement.
If the party responsible for your injury accepts liability, your solicitor will reach out to them and negotiate a compensation settlement. Otherwise, your claim may go to court, and you will have to prove to a judge that they were at fault for your accident and owe you compensation. However, it is important to keep in mind that most injury claims are settled without going to court.
You can provide relevant evidence to support your claim in the form of:
- photographs of the accident scene, if you got injured in a road traffic accident or a shop or supermarket
- photographs of your working environment, if you suffered an injury at work
- pictures of your injuries and during the recovery process
- contact details of any individuals involved in the accident, their license plate and insurance details
- contact details of any possible witnesses
- accident reports, if you got hurt after a slip, trip or fall at work or in a privately owned business
- CCTV or dashcam footage of the accident, when available
- medical reports assessing the extent of your injury, any treatments you received and your recovery prospects
- proof of lost wages and any other financial losses you incurred
Your solicitor will help you gather all of the evidence you need to build a strong case. You will also get a free medical visit with a licensed physician.
They will give you a thorough and independent assessment of your injuries, ensuring you receive the amount of compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.
How much will it cost to claim back injury compensation?
If you suffered a back injury through no fault of your own, making a back injury compensation claim might feel intimidating. You might worry about spending a lot of time and money without having the certainty you will receive compensation.
Having an experienced solicitor to represent you brings clear benefits. They will take care of collecting evidence, talking to witnesses and preparing all the required documents while you can focus on your recovery.
Furthermore, solicitors understand the legal system and have the training and ability to oppose the defendant without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. But you might be concerned about the costs of hiring a legal adviser.
Fortunately, if a solicitor decides you have a valid back injury compensation claim, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement. Also known as a conditional fee agreement, this doesn’t require you to pay any upfront fees or hidden charges.
If you make a no win no fee agreement, you are financially protected even if you lose your claim. Before starting the legal proceedings, your solicitor will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf. This insurance provides coverage for all legal costs if your case turns out unsuccessful.
Without the ATE insurance offered in no win no fee claims, you would be liable to pay all the claiming costs if you lose the case, both for you and the defendant. On the other hand, if you make a no win no fee back injury claim, you won’t have to pay a single penny if you lose the case.
In a no win no fee claim, you will only have to pay a success fee if you win your case. The success fee will be deducted from your compensation award and cannot exceed 25% of the compensation total.
The key benefit of a no win no fee claim is that you don’t have to pay anything if you lose your claim. The process is fully transparent, and there are no hidden charges.
What are the most common types of back injuries?
While all injuries to the back or spine can be painful and might require an extended recovery period, injuries to the spinal cord can have debilitating lifelong consequences.
Common types of back injuries include:
Sprains and strains.
Strains occur when you twist or pull a tendon or muscle in your back, while sprains affect the ligaments that connect the bones at a joint.
Symptoms of sprains and strains are similar and include pain, swelling, spasms or cramps and difficulty moving. Treatment involves resting and the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatories, which could be followed by physical therapy.
Herniated or slipped discs
This type of injury occurs when the rubbery discs between the vertebrae push through a tear in the outer ring, irritating the nearby nerves. It could be caused by wear and tear or a traumatic injury.
Symptoms of herniated or slipped discs include arm or leg pain, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling. Depending on how severe the trauma is, treatments include pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, epidural injections, physical therapy and sometimes surgery.
Fractures to the vertebrae often occur after severe trauma to the back caused by slips, trips and falls or road accidents. Other causes include osteoporosis and overuse.
The most common symptom of a back fracture is pain that worsens with movement, accompanied by hunched posture, painful breathing, numbness or a general sense of weakness. Depending on the type of fracture, you might need a brace, traction or surgery.
Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
Damage to the spinal cord is the most severe type of back injury you might suffer. If major nerves get damaged, this can permanently affect your mobility and control of bodily functions such as the bladder and bowel.
A complete SCI injury due to severing of the spinal cord will cause total loss of function below the injured site and result in tetraplegia, quadriplegia or paraplegia. If the spinal cord was not completely severed, the victim could recover some motor or sensory function.
What are the main causes of back injury claims?
You can sustain a back injury in any scenario that involves a physical impact or overuse. Medical negligence during surgery can also lead to nerve damage, causing loss of movement and feeling.
In severe cases, back injuries can be life-changing, causing permanent paralysis. Spinal injuries can have a major psychological impact on you and your family, and the road to recovery is often long and hard.
If you or a family member suffered a back injury without being at fault, you might want to claim compensation for all that you’ve endured.
Common causes of back injury claims include:
Road traffic accidents
Vehicle collisions are a common cause of back injuries, ranging from mild to very severe. According to the Royal London Hospital, 46% of the patients who sustained a spinal cord injury in 2018 were victims of a road accident, with a mortality rate of 37%.
Severe back and spinal cord injuries can result even during low-speed collisions such as those in car parks and often have permanent debilitating consequences.
Slips, trips and falls
You can suffer a back injury after a slip or trip in various places, from the workplace to public places and privately owned businesses. Falls are often caused by uneven surfaces, poor lighting, wet or slippery floors, unexpected obstacles in walkways, or any other hazards caused by poor housekeeping.
Injuries sustained after a slip, trip and fall can range from cuts, bruises and soft tissue injuries to severe fractures and spinal cord damage.
There is always some degree of back injury risk associated with various sports like horse riding, skiing or motorsports. You can nonetheless make a back injury claim if you suffered an accident due to someone else’s negligence.
Accidents at work
Workplace back injuries could be caused by violent trauma due to a slip, trip and fall in an office accident or a fall from height in a scaffolding accident. They can also develop over time as a result of repetitive strain injury (RSI). Poor posture, lack of manual handling training, faulty equipment or poor housekeeping can result in accidents causing a back injury.
If employers don’t respect the Health and Safety Executive guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees, they might be liable for compensation.
You can claim compensation for any back injury sustained due to a defective product such as a chair, bicycle, trampoline or protective equipment.
Medical negligence caused by sub-standard care can lead to severe damage.
If a doctor fails to diagnose a slipped disc or broken vertebrae, this could lead to long-term mobility issues and even paralysis. Misdiagnosis or mistreatment of cauda equina syndrome can cause permanent paralysis, loss of bowel and bladder control and loss of sexual function.
Criminal assaults and animal attacks
Blunt or penetrating trauma caused by a violent attack can cause anything from minor cuts, bruising and lacerations to severe fractures and even spinal cord damage.
If you suffered a back injury in any of the above scenarios, or any other way where somebody else was to blame, you might be entitled to claim back injury compensation. Based on the circumstances of your accident and any available proof, an experienced solicitor can help identify the liable party and build a strong back injury claim.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a claim and can answer any questions you may have.
How much compensation can I claim for a back injury?
Compensation amounts for personal injury claims depend on the extent of your injuries, how your back injury affected your life and any financial cost or losses you incurred.
The awarded compensation aims to help the victim move on with their life and place them in a financial situation similar to where they would’ve been without having the accident.
In addition to securing the compensation you deserve, your solicitor will work with other specialists to give you:
- Financial support through interim payment and advice on personal injury trusts and welfare benefits
- Access to the latest treatments and therapies that are not always available through the National Health Service
- Coordination with rehabilitation and counselling therapists
The compensation for a back injury will cover:
Special damages compensate you for quantifiable financial losses. These could be direct or future economic losses such as:
- loss of irreplaceable items
- lost earnings
- repair or replacement of damaged personal items
- loss of earning capacity
- transportation costs
- short-term medical expenses like consultation fees, medication, treatments and hospital stays
- long-term medical expenses such as physiotherapy
- modifications to your home or vehicle
General damages cover the non-pecuniary aspects of the injury you suffered, also named pain, suffering and loss of amenity:
- physical pain and suffering
- psychological trauma
- loss of consortium
- loss of companionship
- loss of physical and mental capacity
- loss of a unique career
- lower quality of life
General damages are not easily quantifiable and depend on the victim’s circumstances and subjective losses. However, the Judicial College, which is part of the Ministry of Justice, offer guidelines for general damages compensations.
According to their guidelines, you might receive:
- Up to £1,960 for minor injuries that require a short recovery period
- £1,960 to £6,300 for moderate back injuries with complete recovery within two years without the need for surgery
- £6,290 to £9,970 for sprains, strains or prolapsed disk with full recovery within five years without surgery
- £9,970 to £22,130 for ligament and muscle damage to the back that requires surgery
- £22,130 to £30,910 for moderate back injuries that require surgery and cause some degree of disability
- £30,910 to £55,590 for lesions of fractures that result in chronic back pain and lack of mobility
- £59,120 to £70,490 for severe back injuries such as nerve root damage, causing loss of sensation and mobility or reduced function of the bowel and bladder
- £85,4700 to £151,070 for the severest types of back injuries with spinal cord damage, with extreme pain, disability and some degree of paralysis
An injury to your back can have dramatic long-time consequences. If you suffered an accident without being entirely at fault, you are entitled to claim compensation for your pain, suffering and financial expenses.
An experienced solicitor can give you a fair estimate of how much compensation you could receive if you make a back injury claim. For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details into our online claim form.
Is there a time limit to claim compensation for a back injury?
The basic rule regarding personal injury cases is to file your claim within three years of your accident. The last day you can start legal proceedings is known as the claim limitation date.
There are some exceptions to the three-year claim limitation date:
- There is no time limit to make a back injury claim on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to make a claim themselves. The three-year countdown will only begin if the victim regains their abilities.
- A parent or a guardian can claim compensation for a child up until their 18th birthday. Afterwards, the victim will have another three years to start a back injury claim themselves.
- If you injured your back due to a faulty product, you could claim back injury compensation within ten years of the product launch date.
- If the claim is related to a physical assault, the limitation date is generally two years through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The time period might be extended if the victim was too ill to start a claim.
- For injuries that happened abroad, the time limit may be much shorter. Your solicitor can always let you know what limitation date might apply to a particular foreign country.
It is advisable to always contact a legal adviser as soon as possible after your accident or have a close family member contact them. If there’s very little time left until the limitation date, most solicitors will not take on a claim.
Gathering evidence, talking to witnesses and the responsible party and preparing all the legal documents might take a lot of time. Your solicitor might need at least a few months to build your case, so make sure to start legal proceedings on time.