Paralysis is a life-changing condition that causes the loss of muscle function in one or more parts of the body. It can severely interfere with your work and daily activities and make you dependent upon others for even simple tasks such as eating and bathing.
Many accidents could lead to a paralysis injury, including road traffic accidents, accidents at work and medical negligence. If another person or entity was responsible for your accident, you might be able to start a paralysis claim and recover damages for pain, suffering and related financial losses.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410 or enter your details to receive a call back. They can let you know if you are eligible for paralysis compensation and answer any questions you might have about the claims process.
What is paralysis, and how can it impact your life?
Paralysis is a life-changing condition that can significantly impact your life and your loved ones. It refers to the loss of muscle function in one or more body parts and can be due to damage to the brain or spinal cord or to the nerves that control your muscles. The extent of paralysis depends on which part of the body is affected and the severity of the damage.
Paralysis can have a significant impact on a person’s life, both physically and emotionally. It can result in the loss of sensation, movement, and control in the affected area, making it difficult or impossible to work and perform everyday tasks and activities. This can lead to the following:
- Increased dependence on others for assistance, a loss of autonomy and mobility, and changes to daily routines. Depending on the level and severity of the paralysis, you may require assistance with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating. You may also need assistive devices such as wheelchairs or walkers to aid mobility.
- Emotional and mental health issues, as you may struggle with feelings of loss, frustration, and isolation. Coping with the challenges of daily life and adjusting to a new way of living can be overwhelming and stressful. A person with paralysis may also face social isolation, as they may no longer be able to participate in activities they once enjoyed or have difficulty accessing public places and transportation.
- Financial considerations, such as the cost of medical treatment, assistive devices, and ongoing care. Individuals with paralysis may need to adjust their employment situation or lose their ability to work, which can also affect their financial stability and sense of independence.
Overall, the effects of paralysis can be far-reaching and life-changing. Individuals with paralysis and their loved ones need to seek support and resources to help them navigate these changes and maintain a fulfilling life.
What are the different types of paralysis?
Paralysis is losing the ability to move or control a part of the body. The different types of paralysis are classified based on the specific body parts affected and the underlying cause. Here are some of the most common types:
Localised paralysis, also known as focal paralysis, refers to the loss of voluntary movement or sensation in a specific area of the body rather than the entire body. It is often caused by damage to a particular nerve or more nerves that control movement or sensation in that area. Examples of conditions that can cause localised paralysis include stroke, nerve injuries, spinal cord injuries, and certain neurological disorders.
Paresis is a form of localised paralysis that occurs when there is damage to the nervous system, which impairs the ability of the brain to communicate with the muscles properly. Paresis can affect one or more muscles, resulting in difficulty with movement and coordination. The severity of paresis can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of nerve damage.
Generalised paralysis refers to a condition in which the muscles throughout a large area of the body are affected and weakened, resulting in a loss of motor control and coordination. Examples of generalised paralysis include:
Monoplegia is paralysis that affects only one limb, such as an arm or a leg. It can be due to various conditions, including nerve damage, stroke, cerebral palsy, or traumatic injuries to the brain or spinal cord. The severity of the paralysis can vary depending on the underlying cause and extent of nerve damage. Treatment may include physical therapy, medication, or surgery, depending on your needs and medical condition.
Hemiplegia is paralysis that affects one side of the body, including the arm, leg, and sometimes the face. It is usually caused by damage to one side of the brain, such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or neurological disorders. The symptoms of hemiplegia can vary depending on the severity of the damage but may include weakness or numbness on one side of the body, difficulty with balance and coordination, difficulty with speech and language, and vision problems.
Paraplegia is a type of paralysis that affects the lower half of the body, including the legs and possibly the hips and pelvic organs. It is usually caused by a spinal cord injury or disease and can result in loss of movement and sensation below the waist. Individuals with paraplegia may require assistive devices such as wheelchairs or crutches to aid mobility and may face challenges with everyday tasks such as bathing and dressing.
Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, affects all four limbs, as well as the torso. It is typically caused by an injury to the spinal cord in the cervical (neck) region, which can result in a loss of sensation and motor function in the arms, legs, and torso. People with quadriplegia will usually require the use of a wheelchair or other assistive devices to help with mobility and everyday activities.
If you suffered an injury that has resulted in paralysis due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to start a paralysis claim. The type and severity of the condition will not affect your right to claim but will determine how much compensation you are entitled to receive.
Can I make a paralysis claim for compensation?
If your paralysis was due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, you should be able to claim compensation for your pain, suffering and related financial losses. The easiest way to find out if you are eligible for paralysis compensation is through a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will ask you a few questions to determine whether:
- The party you hold responsible for your injury owed you a duty of care
- They breached their duty by acting negligently
- Their negligence has led to an accident or incident
- You suffered a paralysis injury as a result of this within the past three years
Duty of care is something that your solicitor will be able to quickly verify if they take on your case. In the UK, various legislations impose a duty of care on different parties, such as:
- The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places a duty on employers to protect the health, safety, and welfare of employees at work. That includes providing a safe working environment and appropriate training and equipment.
- The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 imposes a duty of care on occupiers of premises to take reasonable care to ensure the safety of visitors to those premises.
- The Road Traffic Act 1988 imposes a duty of care on drivers to drive safely and within the law, with particular attention to other road users.
- The Consumer Protection Act 1987 places a duty on manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe for consumers to use.
If your solicitor determines that another party who owed you a duty of care is liable to pay you compensation, they will take on your case on a no win no fee basis and offer you support and advice through all the steps of the claims process.
What do I need to claim paralysis injury compensation?
To make a paralysis claim, it is not enough to prove that another party owed you a duty of care. You will need relevant evidence to show that their negligence has directly caused your injury. You also need to prove the extent of your paralysis and how this has affected your work and personal life. Your solicitor will try to collate as much evidence as possible, which could include:
- Medical records, including diagnostic tests such as x-rays, your doctor’s notes regarding the severity of your injury and your recovery prospects, and any treatments and interventions you received;
- Photographs or videos of the accident scene can help prove how the events occurred, especially if they were taken before anything was moved or replaced;
- If you were injured at work or in a public place, you should file an accident report with the responsible party. You can ask for a signed copy as proof of the time, date and location of your accident;
- Investigation reports if your accident was inspected by the police or the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE);
- CCTV or dash cam footage of the accident, if available;
- Names and contact details of any witnesses who saw your accident and could later support your version of the events if liability is denied;
- Your notes about how the accident occurred and how the paralysis injury has affected your life;
- Evidence of all the financial losses and expenses you incurred after the accident, such as receipts, invoices and wage slips.
If you’re unsure if you have enough evidence, you don’t need to worry, as a personal injury solicitor can help you gather everything you need to claim paralysis compensation. They could also arrange a free medical exam with a specialist in the field to determine the long-term effects of your injury and your medical and rehabilitation needs.
What are the most common causes of paralysis injuries?
Many different circumstances could result in a person suffering paralysis in an accident, including:
Negligence by medical professionals could cause paralysis in several ways, including:
- Negligent surgical errors, such as damaging the spinal cord during surgery;
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition that causes paralysis;
- Administering the wrong medication, wrong dosage, or improper administration of medication;
- Errors during anaesthesia administration can cause nerve damage leading to paralysis;
- Failure to monitor patients can result in untreated complications that may lead to paralysis.
Medical professionals have a legal duty of care to provide a reasonable standard of care and take all the necessary steps to ensure that their patients are not harmed during their treatment. Failure to meet this duty of care could result in a claim for medical negligence, including claims for paralysis injury compensation.
Road traffic accidents
Road traffic accidents can be a common cause of paralysis injuries. When a person is involved in a severe accident, such as a car, motorbike, or pedestrian accident, the impact can cause damage to the spinal cord, leading to paralysis. The severity of the paralysis can vary depending on the location and extent of the damage. The condition may be temporary in some cases, but in more severe cases, it can be permanent. If the accident was due to the negligence of another driver, you may be able to make a personal injury claim.
Sports accidents can lead to paralysis if a severe spinal cord or head injury occurs. Common sports with a higher risk of causing paralysis include football, rugby, hockey, diving, gymnastics, and combat sports such as boxing or mixed martial arts. Paralysis can also occur in extreme sports such as skydiving, base jumping, and bungee jumping. Although many sports accidents are nobody’s fault, you might be eligible for paralysis compensation if your injury was due to faulty equipment, inadequate training or other types of negligence.
Accidents at work
Accidents at work can result in paralysis injuries due to various reasons, such as falls from heights, electric shocks, and machinery accidents. In such cases, your employer may be liable for the injury if it can be proven that they failed to provide a safe working environment or did not adhere to health and safety regulations. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other UK laws, employers should take the following steps to prevent workplace injuries:
- Conduct regular risk assessments to identify hazards and take steps to eliminate or control them;
- Provide their employees with information, instruction, training, and supervision as necessary to ensure their health and safety at work;
- Consult with their employees on matters affecting their health and safety at work, either directly or through their representatives;
- Maintain good housekeeping and make sure that all equipment and machinery are safe for the intended job and in good working condition;
- When necessary, provide free and suitable personal protective equipment (PPE), such as helmets, harnesses and safety boots;
If your employer has failed to take these and other necessary measures to protect your health and safety, you might be able to claim paralysis compensation from them.
When an individual suffers a violent assault, their head, neck or back may be hit, causing severe damage to the brain or spinal cord, which could result in paralysis. In cases where the attacker is unknown or cannot pay compensation, you may be able to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is a government-funded scheme funded by the Ministry of Justice and requires you to make an official police report before starting a paralysis claim.
This list is not exhaustive, and many other circumstances could cause you to suffer permanent or temporary paralysis. As long as another person or entity was at least partially responsible for your accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
To find out if you have a valid paralysis injury claim, you can call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Alternatively, fill in our online claim form, and a friendly adviser will call you back.
How much is a paralysis compensation claim worth?
The amount of compensation you could receive depends on a number of factors, such as the severity of your injury, the impact it has had on your life, and the circumstances surrounding the incident that caused your injury. Compensation for serious injuries such as being paralysed in an accident can be substantial due to the significant impact they can have on a person’s life.
Before negotiating your settlement, your solicitor will ensure that all your losses and expenses are included in your paralysis claim. The compensation for personal injuries typically covers two types of damages:
General damages refers to compensation for the actual physical injury and the subjective losses it has caused, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life and the inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed
- Physical impairment and disability
- Loss of consortium
Special damages compensate for any financial losses that you suffered because of your injury, including:
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses for diagnostic tests, interventions and hospitalisation
- Cost of short and long-term care and assistance
- Medical devices such as wheelchairs or walking frames
- Costs of rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your disability
The compensation you are entitled to receive for special damages will be assessed based on the evidence you can provide. This could include wage slips, bank statements, receipts or invoices. General damages are awarded based on similar cases and the guidelines published by the Judicial College, according to which you could receive:
- £219,070 to £284,260 for paraplegia
- £324,600 to £403,990 for tetraplegia
Time limits for claiming paralysis compensation
In the UK, all personal injury claims have a three-year time limit, which will generally begin on the date of the accident that left you paralysed. Under section 33 of the Limitations Act 1980, the court has the authority to override the three-year limitation period. This is only done in certain circumstances if it is deemed reasonable and fair to do so, depending on the length and reason for your delay.
Exceptions to the three-year limitation date include:
- The time limit starts to run on the date of knowledge of your injury if the paralysis did not become immediately apparent after an accident or you were in a coma following your accident.
- If the injured person is a child, the limitation date will not apply before the child’s 18th birthday. Before that, a parent or legal guardian could claim paralysis compensation on their behalf at any time.
- If the claimant lacks the mental capacity to start a paralysis claim, a litigation friend could claim on their behalf at any time. The time limit is suspended until the injured person regains their intellectual capacity.
- If you suffered a paralysis injury while serving in the military, you have seven years to start a compensation claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).
- The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) enforces a two-year time limit to start an injury claim following a violent crime.
Regardless of how much time you feel you have to start your claim, it is essential to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. That will ensure you will not miss any deadlines and makes it easier to gather evidence and build a strong paralysis injury claim.
How long will my paralysis injury claim take?
The duration of a paralysis claim can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the severity of the injuries, and whether or not liability is disputed. It is difficult to provide a precise timeframe as each claim is unique and will take a different amount of time to conclude.
Typically, straightforward claims with no disputes can take several months to settle, while more complex cases can take several years. It is also worth noting that the duration of a claim can be affected by the court’s backlog, which may delay the process. Some things you could do to speed up the claims process include:
- Contact a solicitor as soon as possible after the injury to start your claim right away
- Try to document everything in as much detail as possible from day one
- Ask your solicitor to arrange your free medical examination as soon as possible
- Carefully consider any early compensation offers if you want to settle early
Your solicitor can provide you with an estimated timeframe based on the specific circumstances of your case and keep you updated on the progress of your claim.
Can I make a paralysis claim on behalf of someone else?
Yes, you can make a paralysis injury claim on behalf of someone else if they are unable to make the claim themselves. To do so, you must apply with the court to become their litigation friend. Before appointing you to act on the claimant’s behalf, the court will verify that:
- You can conduct legal proceedings fairly and competently
- You have no conflict of interest with the injured person
Becoming a litigation friend is a long-term commitment which brings several responsibilities, including:
- Acting in the best interest of the person you are representing and making decisions on their behalf
- Attend court hearings and present evidence in court
- Pay any costs and expenses associated with the claim
- Sign legal documents and deal with correspondence
- Keep updated on the proceedings and carefully consider any settlement offers
- Instruct your solicitor and take legal advice
A litigation friend usually claims on behalf of a child under 18 or an adult who is a protected party. A protected party is someone who lacks the mental capacity to make decisions about a claim and can include individuals with conditions such as dementia, learning disabilities, or acquired brain injuries.
If you secure compensation as a litigation friend, you will usually need to attend an Approval Hearing in court. A judge will review the available evidence and decide whether the compensation agreed between the two parties is fair. Based on their age and the severity of their injuries, the injured party may also need to attend the hearing.
No Win No Fee paralysis injury compensation
No Win No Fee, also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), is an arrangement between a claimant and their solicitor where the solicitor agrees to take on the case without any upfront fees. If you have a valid paralysis claim, your solicitor will offer you a no win no fee agreement, so you can pursue compensation without taking any financial risks and regardless of your financial situation.
If the case is successful, your solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of your compensation award. This will be agreed upon in advance and aims to compensate your solicitor for the risk they took by offering you a Conditional Fee Agreement. If your claim fails, you do not have to pay them a single penny.
In a paralysis injury claim, the costs of seeking compensation can be significant and include legal fees, medical reports, and court fees. If you lose, all these will be covered by the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy your solicitor will take out before starting legal proceedings, so you will not be left out of pocket.