Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation Claims Guide – Due To Medical Negligence Or Hospital Negligence

Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation claims guide

Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation claims guide

Cauda Equina Syndrome, or CES, is a condition where nerves located in the lower back at the bottom of the spinal cord, are compressed. CES must be treated within the first 24-48 hours otherwise irreversible damage could occur to the spine. This may result in devastating injuries which could include loss of bladder, or bowel control, or paralysis and in very severe cases, it may indirectly be fatal.

Although rare, CES is a condition where symptoms may progress quickly. Unfortunately, the initial symptoms can easily be misdiagnosed by doctors as being general lower back pain, a common injury in the UK. This can result in delayed treatment which then allows the condition to worsen rapidly. Decisive action including a correct diagnosis and treatment is paramount to reducing the devastation CES can cause if left untreated for too long.

Although Cauda Equina is not a common condition, doctors should be able to correctly recognise and diagnose the condition so they can start a treatment in a relatively short time frame. If you or a loved one have been permanently injured due to a medical misdiagnosis, or delay in treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome, you may be able to claim compensation providing the claim is started within the personal injury time limit.

Making a personal injury claim can be a long, complex process and so having legal offers a greater chance of a successful outcome. Accident Claims UK’s expert personal injury solicitors could help you to make your claim against a negligent third party so that you receive the level of Cauda Equina Syndrome compensation you could be entitled to, just call us on 0800 073 8801.

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A Guide To Claiming Compensation For Cauda Equina Syndrome

If you sustained permanent injuries due to suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome that was misdiagnosed causing a delay in treatment, a claim for medical negligence could be made if it can be proven that another medical practitioner of similar qualifications and experience, would not have made the misdiagnosis.

CES is a serious condition that requires emergency medical care. Cauda Equina Syndrome symptoms can develop very quickly leading to debilitating injuries that could permanent if not treated quickly enough.

When claiming compensation, a defendant’s liability must be proven for any chance of the claim being successful. Gathering evidence and making sure that a strong case is put together is essential when it comes to claiming the maximum amount of compensation you could be entitled to. Making a claim can be a complex process, and requires a knowledgeable approach for the best chance of success.

Accident Claims UK recognises that the majority of people needing to make a claim, will have either no experience at all, or limited experience at best on how to file a personal injury claim. As such, we have put together this informative guide to help you understand what is involved in filing a negligence claim against a third party specifically in relation tor Cauda Equina Syndrome.

The guide includes information on what Cauda Equina Syndrome is, potential causes, symptoms, diagnostic process, and treatment. Also included are the possible situations that could lead to a claim, what can be included in the claim, the potential compensation amounts, and how having a No Win No Fee personal injury lawyer rather than a solicitor who is paid by the hour, could be beneficial to your case.

If you require further assistance after reading through the guide, you can contact us at Accident Claims UK for expert advice.

What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a condition that affects the lower back region of the body. It can sometimes be misdiagnosed as general lower back pain and although lower back pain may be an uncomfortable and painful problem, in the majority of cases, surgical intervention is not usually needed with symptoms being managed with treatment, rest and painkillers.

However, in rare cases, lower back pain can be the early stages of Cauda Equina Syndrome. Should this be the case, once a diagnosis is made, you would be admitted to hospital as a matter of urgency so that emergency surgery can be carried out.

The Cauda Equina is a group of nerves found at the base of the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is compressed it could cause the Cauda Equina to be compressed and swollen too, affecting spinal tissues.

If the Cauda Equina is damaged, the victim can be left with debilitating injuries that are likely to be permanent. Bladder and bowel incontinence, significantly reduced mobility, and possible lower body paralysis are some examples of the permanent injuries associated with Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Potential Causes Of Cauda Equina Syndrome

There are several causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome with the majority of people affected being adults. Children rarely suffer from Cauda Equina Syndrome, but for those who do, it is usually due to a spinal injury or birth defect. Some of the common causes include the following:

  • A condition called stenosis which is when the spinal cord becomes narrower can lead to CES
  • Ruptured disks in the lower back area
  • Spinal lesions, or malignant spinal tumours
  • Inflammation of the spine
  • Spinal infections
  • Spinal haemorrhage
  • A spinal injury such as a fracture
  • Birth defects
  • Complications arising from serious spinal trauma in the lower lumbar area possibly caused by accidents such as a road traffic accident, or from serious assaults involving stabbing or gunshot wounds

Regardless of the cause, if you have developed CES due to a misdiagnosis and subsequent delay in treatment leading to debilitation, you may be able to claim compensation by filing a negligence claim against a third party.

Cauda Equina Symptoms

CES can occur suddenly and rapidly, or sometimes the symptoms may come on gradually over some weeks or months. Either way, CES is classed as a urgent health issues due to the permanent damage and injuries it can cause.

Acute onset CES is where the condition develops rapidly with symptoms manifesting as motor and sensory deficits in the lower part of the body which typically develop within 24 hours.

Gradual onset of CES is where symptoms progress more slowly, and sometimes intermittently over a few weeks or months. Intermittent loss of bladder or bowel control, muscle weakness, numbness, lower back pain and sciatica in one or both legs, are common symptoms of gradual onset of CES.

CES requires immediate hospital admission and surgery because the longer treatment is delayed, the more likely serious permanent injuries could be an issue.

Information regarding CES symptoms can be found here.

Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome

Diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome quickly and correctly is paramount in preventing permanent damage if left untreated or treatment is delayed.

Unfortunately, CES isn’t always easy to diagnose. The early symptoms may be similar to those of general lower back pain, and so it could be easily misdiagnosed by a doctor. However, doctors should be aware of CES and if suspected, no matter how remote, take steps to get a confirmed diagnosis so that surgery and treatment can be performed as a matter of urgency.

Diagnosing CES involves an initial physical examination where a doctor checks for signs of nerve damage. Often, blood and urine samples are taken to rule out any other possible causes of a patient’s symptoms such as an infection, for example.  The most reliable method of diagnosing CES is by way of an MRI scan. The sooner a correct diagnosis can be reached, the greater the chance of recovery.

If a doctor fails to correctly diagnose the condition, and a patient suffers as a result, they may be found negligent in their duty of care as a medical professional. As such, the hospital, organisation, or trust they work for, could possibly be held liable to pay compensation should a negligence claim be filed against them. Information on GP negligence claims can be found here.

If you have sustained permanent damage caused by CES due to the condition being misdiagnosed by a medical professional, you may be eligible to make a claim. Speak to one of our medical negligence solicitors at Accident Claims UK for help and advice regarding starting your claim today.

Treatment For Cauda Equina

The main treatment in most cases of CES, is lumbar decompression surgery called a lumbar laminectomy. The procedure releases the pressure on the Cauda Equina. For maximum effect on improving motor and sensory deficits, surgery should be performed within 24-48 hours after symptoms first been diagnosed.

Depending on the cause of the CES, other treatments may be required alongside the surgery, such as antibiotics if an infection was the cause, or possibly radiotherapy if a malignant tumour was to blame. Further information can be found here.

Medical Negligence Related To Cauda Equina

Regardless of whether you are seen by a medical professional in a private healthcare setting, or an NHS setting, if they treated you negligently resulting in your CES developing, or becoming worse which as a result leaves you with permanent injuries, you may have grounds to make a personal injury claim.

Medical professionals have a legal and moral duty of care to provide the correct medical care and treatment required to improve their patient’s health to the best of their ability. If a patient under the care of a doctor receives a wrong diagnosis causing their health to deteriorate, a patient could have a legitimate cause to claim medical negligence.

Injuries that could result from delayed or incorrect treatment of CES can have serious life-altering consequences, and although claiming compensation cannot change what has happened, it can help with the financial burden the CES injuries may have left you facing. Speak to one of our expert medical negligence lawyers at Accident Claims UK for further help and guidance on claiming compensation from a negligent third party.

Claims Against The NHS For Cauda Equina Syndrome

Thousands of people across the UK receive medical care from the NHS every day and in most cases, they receive an exceptional standard of care. However, occasionally the level of care experienced is below standard, and a patient suffers further as a result. An example being when Cauda Equina Syndrome symptoms are misdiagnosed as something else causing the patient to then potentially suffer irreversible nerve damage.

All NHS medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care to give them the appropriate and correct medical attention required, and if a patient receives a wrong diagnosis, delay in treatment or the incorrect treatment, the medical professional could be deemed to be in breach of their duty of care, and therefore liable to pay a settlement amount if found guilty of negligence.

Delayed Cauda Equina Syndrome treatment can lead to Cauda Equina Syndrome bladder dysfunction, bowel and sexual dysfunction, permanent nerve damage, neurological problems, possible paralysis and in very severe cases, death.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to medical negligence, contact Accident Claims UK to find out how our personal injury solicitors could help you to get the compensation you deserve.

Cauda Equina Syndrome Personal Injury Compensation

Even when using our personal injury claims table, accurately predicting how much compensation you could receive isn’t possible at this stage as numerous variables will affect the final settlement value of the claim, with each case being different in various ways. However, in the table below we show the possible amounts for injury compensation following the latest College Judicial Guidelines.

Type Of InjuryAmount Of CompensationComments
Cauda Equina Syndrome NegligenceClaims Can Be As His As £1 Million Plus For total compensation amounts including loss of earnings.Cauda Equina Plus other total claims example future loss of earnings.
Paraplegia£205,580 to £266,740Level of award will depend on the extent of paralysis, level of pain, degree of independence, well-being, lifestyle implications and impact on bladder, bowel and sexual function
Bowels (a) - Double IncontinenceUp to £ 172,860Where there is total loss of control of both bowel and bladder
Severe Bowel Problems (b)Up to £140,870Complete loss of control
Moderate - Severe Bowel Problems (e-c)Up to £75,000Faecal urgency and passive incontinence persisting after surgery and causing embarrassment and distress.
Severe Bladder ProblemsUp to £132,040Complete loss of control
Moderate - Severe Bladder Problems (c)£60,050 - £75,010Serious impairment of control with some pain and incontinence
Severe Back Injury (iii - i)£69,600 - £151,070Damage to spinal cord and nerves. Award amount will depend on severity and level of pain and disability
Moderate Back Injury (ii)£11,730 - £65,440Some damage to nerve root, disk damage possibly requiring surgery, compression injuries. Level of severity, mobility and pain will determine level of award.
Minor Back Injury (ii - i)£2,300 - £11,730Award will depend on level of pain and suffering, type and amount of treatment required, and recovery time.

If your claim is successful, the final settlement amount you are awarded would depend on the unique circumstances of your case, and would be a total of all of the elements that are included in your claim. We discuss the various elements below in the guide.

Special Damages In Cases Of Cauda Equina Compensation

As mentioned above, there are various elements that when combined, give the final settlement amount of compensation awarded when a compensation claim is successful, these include:

General Damages – these are the compensation awarded for the actual physical or psychological injuries themselves. The amount awarded would depend on the severity of the damage, what treatment is needed, and for how long, an the expected duration for recovery. If there are any long term health issues as a result, and the impact the injuries have had on the claimant’s well-being and lifestyle, would also be taken into consideration.

Special Damages – these cover the monetary costs/losses caused as a direct result of the injury such as:

  • Medical Costs – any costs for medical treatment, consultations, counselling or prescription charges, for example, could be included in the claim
  • Travelling Costs – any travel-related costs as a direct result of your injuries could be included. These also include any costs due to any vehicle adaption required to suit any special needs caused by the injury
  • Care Costs – you can include costs for housekeeping, personal care, and childcare if they were incurred as a result of your injury
  • Lost Income – any lost income or future income lost would need to be calculated and could be included in the claim
  • Housing Adaptations – if you had to make alterations in your home to cater for your injury, these could be included in a claim

To ensure every expense is included in your claim, be sure to keep all receipts as evidence of expenses.

No Win No Fee Claims For Cauda Equina Syndrome

When making a personal injury claim, your best option to maximise your chances of success, is to have a legal team to conduct your case on your behalf. Using a personal injury solicitor can remove a lot of the stress and worry when it comes to making a negligence claim. However, having legal help doesn’t come cheap and this is why Accident Claims UK offer a No Win No Fee Service.

With our No Win No Fee policy, you would not be expected to make any upfront payments, or pay anything during the claiming process. We only expect payment if we are successful in securing your compensation award, and we take payment (the success fee) from the compensation awarded.

In the unlikely event that we do not win your case, however, we will not ask you for payment at all. Using a solicitor that offers a No Win No Fee service is financially more viable than using an hourly paid solicitor who requires payment throughout the whole process, potentially leaving you hundreds or thousands out of pocket should your negligence claim against a third party not be successful.

All the solicitors at Accident Claims UK work with a No Win No Fee policy. Please contact us to find out more.

How Our Team Could Help You Claim Compensation

Accident Claims UK works with personal injury solicitors who have been in the industry for many years, and hold a wealth of experience in filing successful claims for all types of injuries including Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Accident Claims UK offers a No Win No Fee service, a free consultation appointment, and can arrange for you to be examined by a local independent specialist/consultant who would provide a vital piece of evidence for your claim in the form of a medical report.

We give an exceptional standard of customer care, and always strive to do our best at securing the maximum possible amount of compensation for our clients.

If you or a loved one have been affected by CES made worse by medical negligence, contact us and we can immediately set the wheels in motion to work on your claim.

Begin Your Cauda Equina Compensation Claim

To get your claim started as soon as possible, just contact us at Accident Claims UK on 0800 073 8801. We offer a free consultation at which time you can discuss the details of your case in full, asking any questions that you may have. We will assess whether or not you have a valid cause to claim compensation, and if so, make a start on gathering evidence to support your case and to build a strong case ready to take to court.

Medical Resources

Discharged prematurely from hospital claims guide

This guide may be useful if you were discharged too early from the hospital before your CES diagnosis was made.

Chronic pain compensation claims

Another of our guides giving help and advice for if you are suffering from chronic pain caused by someone else.

Surgical negligence claims

This guide may be useful if something went wrong during your surgery for CES.

Back pain – NHS

This is an NHS website and has general information regarding back pain which may be useful.

 

Article by KH (Kelly)

Editor Honey