Back injuries can be some of the most debilitating injuries it is possible to suffer. Though they can vary considerably, many different back injuries can cause lasting damage. If you have been unfortunate enough to suffer a back injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for your injury and the negative effects which have resulted.
Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive indicate that from 2016 to 2017 work-related back disorders were responsible for the loss of 3.2 million working days. For the economy, that’s a huge amount of lost working time, but on a more personal level these numbers show the big difference a back injury can make to someone’s working life. For each case included in the statistics, the average number of working days lost was 16.5 days. Given that the minimum holiday entitlement for UK employees is 20 days (not including bank holidays) that’s almost a full year’s worth of holiday missed from work due to a back injury.
Those figures only reflect work-related back injuries but there are many ways in which a back injury can occur. The most frequent causes include:
- Workplace accidents – As noted in the statistics above, work-related back injuries are very common. Aside from impacts, falls, or falling objects, injuries to your back can be sustained through lifting and carrying heavy loads. If your employer has not provided sufficient training or equipment, they may have failed in their duties towards you.
- Road traffic accidents – Whiplash is not limited to the neck, it can also cause damage to your back as well. The forces involved in severe accidents can cause injuries in multiple locations of your body and soft-tissue upper and lower back injuries are common effects from road traffic accidents.
- Slips, trips, and falls in locations other than the workplace.
- Defective products – For example, a faulty chair could cause a back injury.
In many ways, the human back is very prone to injury. It is a complex structure made up of various components. It has to allow flexibility in multiple directions whilst still providing the rigid support which allows us to stand upright. The major components are:
- The spinal cord – A long bundle of nerve tissues running down the length of the spine. It carries signals between your brain and the rest of your body.
- Vertebrae – A series of bones which protect the spinal cord and give the back its rigid structure.
- Discs – These are jelly-like discs which sit between the vertebrae. They act as cushions, allowing some limited movement but also absorbing shocks down the spine.
- Nerves – Many nerves radiate from the spinal cord. Damage to the back can affect these nerves. Even if a nerve itself is not directly damaged in an accident, other effects of trauma can impinge on the nerves causing various conditions.
Different kinds of back injury
- Soft-tissue injuries – These refer to strains and damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The lower back (or lumbar spine) is particularly vulnerable to soft-tissue injuries. This is because of its greater flexibility and its role in carrying the majority of the body’s weight.
- Slipped discs – In medical terminology these are referred to as herniated or ruptured discs. Trauma sustained in an accident can cause the outer layers of a disc to break, allowing the fluid inside to leak out. This can lead to a lot of pain and the leaked fluid can press upon the spinal cord or major nerves, causing pain, a loss of sensation in parts of the body, or feelings of pins and needles.
- Broken vertebrae – Fractures to the vertebrae can be particularly serious due to their proximity to the spinal cord.
- Damage to nerves or the spinal cord – If major nerves are damaged or affected by damage to other spinal components, there can be very severe consequences to bodily function. The spinal cord in particular plays a vital role in the body. If it sustains damage it could lead to loss of muscle control, loss of sensation, even partial or complete paralysis.
Why should I make a claim for compensation for my back injury?
Claiming compensation can help you to get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Often once you have started a claim, insurers will provide you with rehabilitation in order to assist with your recovery.
Even though it cannot reverse the effects of the accident directly, bringing a compensation claim can fund your recovery and help you to rebuild your life. It can mitigate the financial strain you may face after a back injury has disrupted your ability to earn and provide for you and your family.
Not only that, a compensation claim can act as a powerful deterrent to the party responsible for your injuries. Your claim could prevent the same thing from happening to others. By claiming the compensation you are entitled to, you will send a strong message that the responsible party must do its utmost to prevent such negligence occurring in the future. If your claim is successful, the other side’s insurance premiums are likely to increase, as well as that they may have to pay any excess.
Make your back injury compensation claim with Truth Legal
At Truth Legal, our specialist personal injury solicitors will work tirelessly to obtain the compensation you deserve. We pride ourselves on delivering an ethical, honest, and efficient service. Meet our team of friendly and experienced solicitors.
We are based in Harrogate with presences in York, Manchester, and London. We are more than willing to sit down with you for a free, no-obligation consultation and to discuss any ways in which we can help you. Or, we can arrange a telephone consultation with you. Whichever you prefer.
Begin your claim with us today by contacting us now.
For any claim, it is important to instruct a firm of solicitors who specialise in the type of claim you are making. You are entitled to instruct whichever solicitors you wish. This means if you have already started a claim with another firm you can transfer your case to us. Even if your case was allocated to a particular firm by a claims management company or by your insurance company, it is your case and you have complete freedom to choose your own solicitors.
There could be many reasons behind poor service: unqualified or overworked staff, a lack of understanding in relation to back injury claims, poor communication, or just a lack of trust. None of this is excusable. If the service you are receiving from your current representatives is poor then you should seriously consider switching or changing solicitors to Truth Legal.
Find out more about making a back injury claim
If you would like to know more about claiming for a back injury, or you wish to discuss your case, contact us today. We are more than happy to chat things through with you in a free consultation, with no obligation to proceed further.
Let us help you to claim the compensation you deserve.
Back injuries can vary greatly. The most severe injuries will usually attract the most compensation.
The following figures are from taken from the 14th Edition of the Judicial College Guidelines. These are the same figures that judges often use when assessing the value of a personal injury claim.
|Back Injury||Description and Factors Considered||Compensation|
|Severe||Cases at the lower end of this bracket will involve serious damage to the back, such as fractures of vertebrae or discs and ongoing disability such as pain, discomfort, impaired bodily function, and long-term effects upon quality of life.|
Cases which also involve factors such as a loss of sensation, scarring, or an increased combination of effects will warrant the mid-point of this bracket.
Towards the upper end of the bracket, cases will involve damage to the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing severe pain, partial paralysis, and impaired bodily function. Only the most severe combinations of these factors will lead to the highest figures.
|£34,000 to £141,150|
|Moderate||Cases in this bracket include those where there is an ongoing residual disability but which is not as severe as described in the bracket above. This includes less severe fractures, prolapsed discs, nerve root irritation, reduced mobility, and significant pain and discomfort.|
Cases towards the lower end of this bracket may include very severe soft-tissue injuries.
|£10,970 to £34,000|
|Minor||This bracket covers cases with mainly soft-tissue injuries where a full recovery is possible or there is a recovery to ‘nuisance level’ symptoms.||Up to £10,970|
NB – in very rare and severe cases, which involve complete paralysis, a different set of brackets may be appropriate. For such cases, injuries may warrant an award of up to £354,260.
The descriptions above are only very general. When valuing the compensation which would be reasonable for your injury, many factors will be looked at such as:
- The pain and discomfort you have experienced.
- The duration of your symptoms.
- How your injuries have affected your life.
- The extent of treatment and/or medication you required (or continue to require).
- The combination of different symptoms you have experienced.
As you can see, claiming for a personal injury does not just mean claiming compensation for the pain and suffering your injury has caused, it also involves claiming compensation for how the accident has affected your life. This is a claim for ‘loss of amenity’. The personal injury element of a claim is sometimes called ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’.
However, other losses, which have arisen from the accident and injury, can be claimed in addition. Frequently claimed categories of loss include:
- Travel expenses.
- Medical expenses and treatment costs.
- Care and assistance.
- Loss of earnings.
The vast majority of back injury claims (and personal injury claims in general) involve proving you were injured through another party’s negligence. There are several parts to this:
- The other party must have owed you a ‘duty of care’. This term may call to mind a doctor/patient situation. This is one example where a duty of care would exist but the idea of a duty of care covers other situations. For example, it can cover employers and employees and the duty of road users to take care in relation to others.
- They must have failed in their duty of care. This could be because they took certain actions or failed to take appropriate action – anything which meant they did not meet the standards which the law required of them, such as an employer making you carry a heavy weight in contravention of the Manual Handling Regulations.
- Their failure must then have caused your injury.
To succeed in your compensation claim, you must prove each of these points. Sometimes, the other party may accept some of the points themselves. For example, they might admit they were at fault for the accident, or they might accept your injury was caused as a result of it.
Once these points are established, you must then prove the amounts of compensation you are claiming are accurate and reasonable. This means supporting them with evidence.
Because you are making the claim, it is for you to prove all of these things. It is not for the other side to disprove them.
This may make the process sound difficult, but Truth Legal’s expert solicitors will guide and support you throughout your claim, ensuring that we instruct the correct medical experts to comment on your injuries. Our advice and effective handling of your claim will ensure it is made as easy as possible.
Time limits apply to personal injury claims. If too much time has elapsed from your accident, you may be prevented from making a claim.
In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of the accident in which to either settle your claim or begin court proceedings.
This time can quickly run out. If you are thinking of bringing a back injury claim, or you are worried matters have been left for too long, contact us as soon as possible so that we can advise you on where you stand.
There some rules which can change the time limits applicable to your case. Even if you believe you have missed the time limit, it is worth speaking to us to see if anything can be done.
If the accident which caused your back injury was not your fault, Truth Legal can often conduct matters on the basis of a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement. In the vast majority of situations, this means you will not have to pay our fees if we are unsuccessful in recovering compensation for you.
On the other hand, if we are successful, our fees will be paid by a portion of your compensation award and also by the other party (or more commonly their insurers). This is how No Win No Fee Agreements usually operate.
If you have any concerns about funding your claim, we are more than willing to discuss matters with you in more depth.