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Back and spinal injuries vs. ‘wear and tear
  • Aug 25, 2021
  • Latest Journal

by Christopher Boughton, Associate Kingsley Napley

We represent clients who have suffered all types of back and spinal injuries. Sometimes their injury is caused by an incident which by its very nature is likely to result in serious damage, such as a high speed car crash. In other cases the cause may initially appear much more harmless and yet have just as serious  consequences.

Most people with a spinal cord injury will experience chronic pain which can impact on all aspects of their life. It could prevent them from going to work, seeing friends or participating in sports and hobbies they enjoyed before. Other symptoms might include loss of sensory functions or control of their arms, legs and/or body.

The two most common causes of spinal cord injury are road traffic accidents and falls. The amount of force or trauma at impact does not always have to be substantial. A heavy or awkward fall at ground level can result in a whole range of serious injuries, including fractured vertebrae. Similarly an individual may initially ‘walk away’ from a low speed  collision, only to find over the next few months that their condition slowly starts to deteriorate.

The root cause of a spinal injury can be complex and is a matter medical experts are best placed to comment on. A defendant to a claim might try to argue that a pre-existing back condition is the actual cause of the claimant’s injury/symptoms, such as  degenerative disc disease where one or more of the discs between the spinal vertebrae deteriorate or break down (sometimes referred to as ‘wear and tear’). In these situations it is important the claimant’s solicitors instruct the correct spinal expert, such as a spinal neurosurgeon, to report on what impact (if any) an underlying condition had on the injuries suffered.

Where the symptoms of a spinal injury take a while to develop, there can be a tendency to dismiss a link to an earlier accident that initially appeared relatively ‘insignificant’. However the spine, spinal cord and other parts of the back are not the most straightforward parts of the human anatomy. If someone suffers a back or spinal injury and believes it may be due to someone else’s negligence, it is important they instruct solicitors who are minded to fully explore the cause of their injuries, with the correct medical experts where necessary.

About the author
Christopher Boughton is an associate lawyer in the Medical Negligence and Personal Injury team.
 Chris joined Kingsley Napley in January 2017 as a Legal Assistant in the Regulatory team, conducting Fitness to Practise investigations on behalf of regulatory bodies. He then completed a training contract with the firm, becoming a fully qualified solicitor in September 2020.