Spinal Cord Injury - Medical Negligence Solicitors - Compensation Claims


If you have been injured in the UK by a healthcare professional and would like to speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about Spinal Cord Injury without further obligation, just use the helpline. A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims involving clinical negligence will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence. We operate using the no win no fee** scheme and you will not have to fund or finance your claim in any respect. In the event that the claim is successful the other side will pay our legal charges and if we are not successful you pay nothing at all. Do yourself justice and call our solicitors offices today.

Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury involves any injury to the spinal cord. It is generally caused by a severe injury such as a motor vehicle accident, fall from a great height, or sporting injury (such as a diving injury). The symptoms can simply be pain or can be paralysis, such as is seen in quadriplegia or paraplegia. Often there is a loss of bowel or bladder function. There can be an incomplete injury in which only part of the spinal cord is injured or a complete injury, in which the spinal cord is complete crushed or transected.

The most dangerous thing that a healthcare provider or first responder can do with an injured person is to move the spine. There can be a spinal fracture of the C spine or the thoracic spine that is not damaging the spinal cord but that will do damage to the cord with movement. The severely injured patient should be told not to move and manual restraint of the cervical spine should occur.

The American Spinal Injury Association or ASIA has published a classification of spinal cord injuries which still exists today. It lists five categories for providers to follow:

  • A means there is a complete spinal injury with no motor or sensory function exists in S4-S5.
  • B indicates an incomplete spinal cord injury. Sensory but not motor function is preserved.
  • C is an incomplete injury where motor function is preserved below the level of injury but less than half of the muscles have function.
  • D is an incomplete injury where greater than half of the muscles have function below the level of injury.
  • E is an injury where there are minor deficits exist but motor and sensory scores are normal.

The symptoms you get depend on the level of injury. Each spinal cord level corresponds to the function of certain muscles. If the high spinal cord levels are involved (above C2), there can be difficulty breathing and the need for a respirator. Above C8 and the person is quadriplegic, with loss of function of various muscles of the arms and the muscles and sensation of the trunk and legs. With a complete transection of the thoracic or lumbar spine, you get loss of function of the legs and parts of the trunk. Some lower lumbar spinal injuries lead only to bowel and bladder function losses.

A person with a complete injury has little hope of developing a functional recovery. Incomplete patients, with aggressive treatment and management, stand a chance of at least partial recovery. It’s the initial recovery that’s important. The doctor must stabilize the spine and use the proper medication to decrease the swelling of the spinal cord and surrounding tissues.

Cervical or neck injuries usually end up with tetraplegia, also called quadriplegia. C1 and C2 injuries can be fatal if the doctor doesn’t manage the airway and breathe for the individual. This is also true of C3 injuries. C4 results in loss of the biceps and shoulder function. C5 losses cause damage to hands and wrists.C7 and T1 results in a loss of dexterity in the hands and fingers but arm function is somewhat intact.

Thoracic levels reveal loss of function to various levels of the thorax including the abdominal muscles and trunk stability. The lower the level of injury, the better is the trunk stability.

Damage to the lumbar or sacral areas of the spinal cord leads to lessened control over the legs and hips with inability to control anal function and bladder function. Sexual dysfunction becomes a problem with damage to these areas of the spine.

What’s important is to have a high level of suspicion in injuries to the back or neck and not to move these patients without cervical spine, and thoracic and lumbar stabilization. Respect the golden hour of emergency care and get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

Spimal Cord Injury Solicitors

For honest and independent legal advice on spinal cord injury contact our legal professionals today. If you have suffered personal injury and you fear you may have been the victim of incompetence there is no time for delay. In order to know your options you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. Our surgery medical negligence solicitors operate a no charge service whereby you can meet us in person or chat over the telephone with one of our experts and obtain initial advice. If you subsequently decide to proceed no further then that is your right and you will not be charged for our initial advice.


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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here