Spinal injuries or spinal cord injuries usually have a significant impact on an individual’s life as they are traumatic injuries, often causing some degree of paralysis and requiring life-long care, support and rehabilitation.
Spinal cord injuries can be caused in a number of circumstances, from road traffic accidents, accidents at work, when playing sport, or in some cases as a result of medical negligence.
In such circumstances, victims and their families will need the support of a specialist personal injury solicitor who not only has years of experience and legal expertise, but will work closely with the family at all times.
At Hudgell Solicitors, we pride ourselves on ‘seeing the person, not just the claim’ and our focus is always on providing representation in a sympathetic and highly effective manner, placing access to relevant spinal cord rehabilitation programmes at the heart of our work.
Compensation settlements will not only reflect the pain and suffering of the individual, but will also cover future losses through not being able to work, and to pay for the spinal cord injury rehabilitation, nursing care, disability aids, specialist equipment and any home modifications required. These will all be identified and accounted for as part of our legal support to ensure you have the best possible standard of life in the future.
Support in accessing rehabilitation for victims and families following a spinal cord injury
Often spinal cord injury is accompanied by many other traumatic injuries, including brain injury, making rehabilitation support even more integral to the claims process than in some other personal injury claims.
Whilst your personal support package will be tailored to suit your and your family’s specific needs, examples of the sort of help we can offer for spinal cord injury are:
Whilst in hospital immediately following the injury
- Handling financial matters – We will work with insurers to secure funds for things such as family travel expenses to and from the hospital, and where necessary, local accommodation for family members to stay close to their loved one whilst they are in hospital.
- Speaking to employers and mortgage lenders – We’ll speak to the relevant people to try to ensure that your family is not put into immediate financial difficulty due to the injuries suffered.
- Identifying immediate sources of support – Our solicitors will signpost family members to relevant welfare benefits and counselling services, where needed, for all who are trying to come to terms with what has happened.
- Planning your transfer out of hospital – Often the first step we are asked to help with, in conjunction with treating clinicians, is to arrange a transfer from a district general hospital to a special unit, whether an NHS or a private facility. There are very few special spinal rehabilitation centres in England and Wales, but we will use our expertise to identify the most suitable location for treatment.
- Providing a ‘buddy’ who has been through similar injuries – We know it is hugely helpful for people who suffer serious injuries, and their loved ones, to speak to someone who has suffered spinal cord injury themselves and been through rehabilitation and recovery. They can give hope and provide inspiration, as well as answering many of the personal pressing questions you will have, and only those who have experienced it can answer.
- Appointing a case manager to provide tailored support – The appointment of a privately funded and professional clinical case manager who can coordinate everything that you need on a practical level will ensure you have the best possible spinal cord rehabilitation programme in place. This support is usually dependent upon the receipt of confirmation from third party insurers that they will underwrite the cost.
Transfer to a spinal rehabilitation facility and returning home
- Making you mobile and giving you independence – We will engage mobility experts who can advise on the most suitable wheelchair for your needs. Often your best comfort, and accessibility to different types of environment, will necessitate the purchase of more than one wheelchair. The mobility expert will also advise on appropriate vehicle purchases and adaptations.
- Understanding and preparing for your needs at home – Working with your clinical team, we will gain an understanding of your daily living activities for which you will require assistance before being discharged home. This will see us work with experts to ensure plans are drawn up to make your home wheelchair accessible and, where this is not possible, we will seek funding to purchase and adapt alternative accommodation.
- Making adaptations to your home – A key part to getting back to as normal life as possible after a spinal cord injury is getting back to your own home. To do this it is often necessary to make adaptations to your home to enable you to live as independently as possible and to get you back home as swiftly as possible. We will also seek support from experts in assistive technologies that will give you control over your environment , such as heating, lighting, door opening and curtain pulling from the safety of your wheelchair
- Additional support packages – We will discuss and arrange additional therapies and personal support packages that may be necessary, taking account of those available via the NHS and statutory services, and purchasing privately where more appropriate.
Planning medium to long-term reintegration into community living
Depending on the nature of the spinal injury that has been suffered, the pathway to maximum possible recovery can be a long one, spanning several years.
It is our belief at Hudgell Solicitors, and supported by clinical evidence, that the sooner someone is able to access appropriate rehabilitation support, the easier their recovery pathway will be.
It is therefore of utmost importance to us that we offer proactive support all the way through your recovery, subject to having sufficient access to funds. We will be tough and proactive in negotiation, and litigation where necessary, to maintain a constant stream of funding to support your needs.
The type of help that we facilitate for spinal cord injury from a rehabilitation perspective medium to long term is likely to include:
- Ensuring all family members are given the help and understanding they need – It is not only the individual who has suffered a spinal injury that needs help and support. We know family members and loved ones also require support understanding the lasting changes the injury will cause. These can include sensitive personal topics such as ongoing bowel and bladder care, as well as difficulties with sexual function.
- Ensuring you have adequate long-term clinical care – This will most likely need to be funded privately due to restrictions on the NHS budget, through your spinal cord injury compensation claim.
- Providing access to support from charities – We have links to many charities, such as the Back Up Trust, which provides support people of all ages who have suffered spinal injuries to regain their independence and to encourage them to get the most from their lives. Local charities and support groups can help widen your network people to speak to who are in a similar situation to yourself.
- Working towards a return to employment and hobbies – Our solicitors can provide access to specialist vocational rehabilitation provision which will assist you in taking steps to return to meaningful employment or engagement in other forms of activity, such as new personal interests, to maximise quality-of-life each day.
- Considering the trial of new technologies to aid your rehabilitation – Where it is considered clinically appropriate, we can assist with arranging the trial of new technologies, such as robotics, which may enable some assisted walking for certain levels of spinal-cord injury, with a view to securing funding to purchase the equipment most suited to you.
- Holiday Planning – We can provide guidance as to holiday planning so that you can access public transport, suitable accommodation and adventurous activities, where desired, whilst in a wheelchair.