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Cauda equina syndrome claims

Cauda equina claims affect between 1 and 3 in every 100,000 of the UK population each year. Though the condition is rare, it can be debilitating and have adverse effects on your life. If your doctor has failed to act in time, you could make a claim. Talk to Express Solicitors today to discuss your no win, no fee compensation.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when making cauda equina claims:

  • Your healthcare provider has a duty of care to protect you
  • You can claim against the NHS or a private healthcare provider
  • You can claim on a no win, no fee basis
  • You generally have three years to make a claim
  • You can claim for injuries, financial losses and long-term effects.

Cauda equina compensation claims

Cauda equina compensation claims are one of the rarer UK personal injury claims, with approximately 1 to 3 in 100,000 people being diagnosed each year.

They are classed as medical negligence claims because of the nature of the injury. Often, people making cauda equina negligence claims do so because their doctor has failed to act in time and made the condition worse.

If this has happened to you, speak to our specialist no win no fee solicitors today.

What is cauda equina?

Cauda equina is a syndrome that is caused when the spinal canal narrows. When this happens, nerves in the upper lumbar region of the spine become compressed.

This can affect the bladder and bowel region, potentially resulting in incontinence, sexual dysfunction and long-term pain. The condition is called cauda equina because the nerves in this region resemble a horse’s tail.

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What causes cauda equina syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome can have multiple causes including trauma injuries, tumours, infections or even surgical errors. It is essential to diagnose cauda equina quickly, otherwise the condition can worsen and lead to lifelong damage. You can make cauda equina syndrome claims if your doctor has been negligent – either by making surgical errors or delaying your diagnosis.

What are the early signs of cauda equina?

Some early signs of cauda equina syndrome include weakness in the lower limbs, numbness, urinary problems, lack of feeling in the lower bottom area (saddle anaesthesia) or lack of sexual function.

How is cauda equina diagnosed?

To diagnose cauda equina, your doctor should carry out a range of tests including a physical exam to check your strength and reflexes. They may also use an MRI, myelogram (X-ray of the spinal canal) or a CT scan. If your doctor fails to run these tests and misses your condition, you could make a cauda equina syndrome disability claim.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

What are the effects of cauda equina syndrome?

The long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome can impact your sexual organs, bladder, bowels and lower limbs. Common symptoms include:

  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • ‘Saddle anaesthesia’ (lack of feeling in the areas that would sit on a saddle)
  • Pain in the sciatic nerve
  • Muscle weakness or pain in the lower body

Our cauda equina investigation will assess your symptoms and help us come up with the largest compensation figure possible for you.

How is cauda equina treated?

Cauda equina syndrome requires decompression surgery known as a lumbar laminectomy, though in some cases, a lumbar microdiscectomy may be better. Lumbar laminectomies are more common for lower back pain, whereas microdiscectomies are more common for leg pain.

It is essential to have surgery within 24 to 48 hours of cauda equina syndrome diagnosis to prevent long-term damage. If your doctor has missed cauda equina symptoms, this could result in delayed diagnosis and a medical negligence claim.

Is cauda equina syndrome caused by medical negligence?

Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by medical negligence if your doctor fails to spot the symptoms or does not act quickly enough. Likewise, cauda equina could be the result of surgical negligence, for example, if your doctor damages your nerves while carrying out spinal surgery.

Our cauda equina syndrome lawyers can help you to find the right evidence and start your no win, no fee compensation claim.

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What happens if cauda equina syndrome is not treated?

If cauda equina syndrome is not treated immediately, this could lead to permanent nerve damage. This nerve damage could cause paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, sexual problems and long-term pain. Contact us to see if you have a cauda equina negligence claim today.

How do I know if I have a cauda equina compensation claim?

You may have a cauda equina compensation claim if you can prove that your healthcare provider has been negligent. When we make our cauda equina negligence claims, we are looking for two things: causation and breach of duty. Causation refers to the physical injury you’ve suffered, such as paralysis or bladder dysfunction. Breach of duty refers to the doctor’s negligence, such as failing to read CT scans correctly or refer you to surgery.

To see if you have a claim, start by calling our experienced cauda equina solicitors. We’ll then take you through the following steps:

  1. Gathering evidence – we’ll help you to gather evidence such as medical records, doctors’ notes and witness statements. We may even offer a medical, which we’ll make as quick and comfortable as possible.
  2. Letter of claim – we will send a letter of claim to your healthcare provider. While we are waiting for them to reply, we’ll come up with a settlement figure that reflects your physical injury, financial losses and ongoing changes to your life.
  3. If your healthcare provider accepts the claim, they will pay the compensation. We’ll take our fee out of your final sum.
  4. If they do not accept the claim, we will take it further. It is very unlikely that your claim will go to court, but we will keep you informed. Remember – you can make a cauda equina claim on a no win, no fee basis, so you’ll only pay if we win.

Why should you choose us?

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Contact us with the comfort of knowing you’ll never be at financial risk when you claim with us. We cover all legal costs, never charge upfront fees, and we only get paid if you do.

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We understand how an accident can affect your financial position. We always look to collect an early compensation (interim) payment where possible.

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With legal specialists for every type of accident claim, we can take over your claim at any stage from another solicitors. We take pride in winning cases other firms turn down.

How much could I receive for cauda equina syndrome negligence claims?

There are no set compensation amounts for cauda equina syndrome negligence claims as every case is different. We will go above and beyond to get you every penny you deserve, looking at your injury and the long-term impacts on your life.

For guideline amounts, the Judicial Board Guidelines offer figures on historical cauda equina claims, based on physical injury:

  • Ligament damage: between £10,000 and £25,000
  • Chronic pain: between £25,000 and £34,000
  • Impaired agility and sexual function: between £34,000 and £62,000
  • Back injuries with complications: between £65,000 and £77,000
  • Severe spinal damage including paralysis and incontinence: between £79,000 and £141,000.

What do cauda equina compensation claims cover?

Your cauda equina compensation claim covers three things: general damages, special damages and the long-term impacts on your life. We’ll assess every one of these to get you the largest no win, no fee settlement possible, for example:

  • General damages – these relate to the physical injury or mental trauma you’ve suffered
  • Special damages – these relate to financial losses, such as time off work or medical treatment
  • Long-term effects – these relate to changes you have to make in your life, such as quitting your job, dealing with chronic pain, sexual dysfunction or using mobility aids.
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What are the time limits for a cauda equina investigation and compensation claim?

You generally have three years from the date of your injury to make a cauda equina compensation claim. Though cauda equina is a lifelong injury, we always recommend you contact us as soon as you are diagnosed. This will help us to gather the most accurate evidence to support your claim.

There are exceptions to the three years from diagnosis rule. If you were under 18, you can have a ‘litigation friend’ represent you anytime up until your 18th birthday, after which you can represent yourself until age 21. If you were mentally incapacitated, then there is no time limit, and a friend may have to represent you.

Is cauda equina syndrome a permanent disability?

Cauda equina syndrome can lead to permanent disability if it is not caught quickly and treated with surgery. This can include paralysis of the lower limbs, bowel and bladder incontinence, sensory anomalies or chronic pain. All of these can affect your life long-term, so our cauda equina solicitors will ensure you get the settlement you deserve.

Can I work with cauda equina?

Cauda equina can be a permanent disability, which often leaves patients unable to carry out their jobs or severely limited in the jobs they can do. If you’re no longer able to work, our experienced medical negligence solicitors can secure you payments to keep you covered long-term.

Frequently asked questions about claiming compensation for cauda equina negligence

Can you sue for cauda equina syndrome?

You can sue for cauda equina syndrome if your condition was caused by medical negligence. Our dedicated solicitors will look for evidence of physical injury and doctors’ negligence to support your claim.

Can I claim for time off work caused by cauda equina?

You can claim for time off work caused by cauda equina. This would be classed as ‘special damages’ as it is a financial loss. If you have to quit your job, we can also help you with long-term financial compensation.

Can cauda equina be misdiagnosed?

Cauda equina syndrome can be misdiagnosed if your doctor fails to miss vital signs on tests such as X-rays and CAT scans. Likewise, if they fail to refer you or make a surgical error on your spine, this would be classed as medical negligence and would give you grounds to make a claim.

Why should I claim for cauda equina syndrome?

You should claim for cauda equina compensation because you deserve to – cauda equina can have long-term effects on your life and cause considerable financial losses. Your claim could cover lost earnings, medical bills, adaptations to your home, physical therapy, counselling and additional leisure or holiday costs. We’ll also consider the long-term effects on your life, such as inability to work or take part in your favourite hobbies.

What are the time limits for a cauda equina compensation claim?

You generally have three years from the date of diagnosis to make a cauda equina compensation claim. There are two exceptions to this. If you were under 18, a ‘litigation friend’ can represent you up until the date of your 18th birthday, or you can represent yourself until age 21. If your injury left you ‘mentally incapacitated’ – for example, if you suffered brain damage – then somebody can represent you with no time limits. We generally advise you claim as soon as possible to help us gather the most accurate evidence.

Why choose Express Solicitors for cauda equina negligence claims?

At Express Solicitors, our expert cauda equina negligence solicitors have decades of experience dealing with claims just like yours. We specialise in taking on the claims that others will not, and we’ll go above and beyond to get you the largest settlement possible. We also work on a no win, no fee basis, and may be able to get you early compensation payments.

To get your life back on track, start your cauda equina claim with Express Solicitors today.

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