Fri 08 Jan 2021

The value of a back injury

Back pain is a very common injury. In fact, it is the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain alone accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population. These significant figures can largely be attributed to normal wear and tear as we get older or a result of sedentary lifestyles. However, you may have suffered a back injury as a result of an accident such as a trip, slip or fall or lifting a heavy object. Or, you may have been involved in a car accident. If you've been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault and suffered as a result, compensation could be awarded. There is no doubt that a back injury can be a debilitating and long term injury and it is important that the appropriate level of compensation is sought to reflect this.

What would your compensation cover?

If you have suffered a back injury, the amount of compensation a court may award will depend on the severity of the injury and the impact it has had on your life and will continue to have in the future. As back injuries can vary from sprains and strains to nerve root or spinal cord damage in the worst of cases, awards are understandably wide-ranging. The facts and circumstances of each individual case will be assessed. Some of the factors the court will look at when assessing the level of compensation are:

  • The degree of pain experienced and the length of time it takes to make a full recovery;
  • The impact of the injury on everyday life and the long term impact it is likely to have. This includes their ability to continue to work or take part in leisure activities previously enjoyed;
  • Wage loss, both past and future, and whether services have been required by family and friends;
  • The extent of the treatment required, particularly whether surgery was necessary;
  • Whether there was a pre-existing back pain and the extent to which this was exacerbated by the accident

How much could be awarded?

If you have a claim for compensation, how much could you be awarded?

Morton Fraser's Compensation Calculator is a handy guide which can provide you with an indication of the value of your injury. It is based on the Judicial College Guidelines which take account of recent court decisions and serve as a reference point for lawyers when considering compensation. The recommended awards for back injuries are set out below.

  • For strains, sprains, disc prolapses, soft tissue injuries or fracture injuries where surgery is not required and a full recovery is made within three months, you could expect up to £2,090 or £6,730 if recovery takes up to two years. Where recovery is longer (up to five years) or the recovery is to "nuisance" level only, compensation could be up to £10,670.
  • Common injuries to the back such as disturbance of ligaments and muscles, soft tissue injuries resulting in an acceleration and/or exacerbation of a pre-existing back condition or prolapsed discs are valued between £10,670 and £23,680.
  • More serious injuries are wide-ranging and may include a fractured lumbar vertebrae causing constant pain and discomfort and leading to a risk of osteoarthritis or damage to an intervertebral disc resulting in nerve root irritation and reduced mobility. Such injuries are valued at £23,680 to £33,080.
  • The most severe bracket accounts for injuries leading to chronic conditions where, despite treatment or surgery, disabilities remain.  Such cases are valued between £33,080 and £59,490. For injuries involving nerve root or spinal cord damage leading to symptoms such as loss of sensation, impaired mobility and, in the worst cases, incomplete paralysis, awards will be in the realm of £63,280 to £137,330.

What next?

The above guidelines and our Compensation Calculator provide an initial indication of the values a court may award for the 'pain and suffering' you have endured but do not take into account personal losses such as wage loss. Each individual case must therefore be considered on its own facts and circumstances. Our experienced Personal Injury team will take the time to assess your claim and can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today on 0131 247 1000 or through our personal injury compensation enquiry form.

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