Cauda equina syndrome claims

Cauda equina syndrome claims

For finding answers and getting justice

Living with (CES) is a life-altering experience, a journey filled with uncertainties and challenges. It’s a path you should never have to walk alone, especially if your condition was caused by medical negligence.

At Switalskis, we understand the gravity of your situation and the profound impact has on your life. Our goal is to provide you with much-needed guidance and professional support as you walk this difficult path. With years of experience in handling claims, we stand firm as your committed partner in seeking justice and compensation.

We realise that no amount of money can truly compensate for the pain and suffering you've experienced. However, securing a cauda equina compensation claim can help ease the financial burden brought about by medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, lost wages, and other associated expenses. It can also bring about a sense of closure and recognition of the ordeal you've been through.

Contact us today and let's start your journey towards recovery together. Call us today on 0800 1380 458, or get in touch via our form.

How Switalskis can help you

Making a claim can be complex and emotionally demanding. But when you choose Switalskis as your legal partner, we shoulder the burden, guiding you through each step of the claim process with diligence and sensitivity.

From the initial consultation to the negotiation or litigation process, we handle every aspect of your cauda equina negligence claim. We’ll use all of our skills and resources to gather evidence, consult with medical experts, assess the full extent of your damages, and build a robust case for compensation.

We believe that financial constraints shouldn’t prevent anyone from seeking justice. That’s why we offer no win, no fee services, ensuring you can pursue your cauda equina compensation claim without worrying about upfront legal costs.

We understand that a legal claim is just one part of your journey. You're dealing with emotional, physical and financial challenges, and our team is prepared to support you through these with the utmost empathy. At Switalskis, you're not just another case - you're a person in need of understanding, care and support.

Read what our clients had to say about the help they received from Switalskis

What is cauda equina syndrome?

is a serious and potentially life-altering medical condition that needs immediate attention and treatment. The term 'cauda equina' translates to 'horse's tail', and describes the bundle of nerve roots located at the base of the spinal cord. These nerve roots send and receive messages to and from your legs, feet and pelvic organs.

CES happens when these nerve roots in the spinal canal are severely compressed, often due to a large disc herniation, spinal stenosis, a tumour, or a traumatic injury such as a fracture. This stops the nerves from functioning normally, leading to a range of symptoms that can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

Typical cauda equina symptoms may include severe lower back pain, numbness or weakness in the legs, sexual dysfunction, and loss of bladder or bowel control, often termed  'saddle anaesthesia'. It's important to note that CES is a medical emergency. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can make a significant difference in preventing permanent damage, such as paralysis or incontinence.

Being diagnosed with can be a frightening and confusing experience. If you believe that your CES wasn’t treated promptly or appropriately due to medical negligence, you may have grounds for a cauda equina compensation claim. At Switalskis, we're here to provide expert legal guidance and support through this challenging time.

What causes cauda equina syndrome?

is usually caused by a severe compression of the cauda equina nerves. This compression can be triggered by several circumstances, including:

  • Disc herniation: this is the most common cause of CES. A herniated, or slipped, disc occurs when the soft, jelly-like substance inside the discs that cushion your vertebrae leaks out, pressing against the nearby nerves. If this happens in the lower back, it can compress the cauda equina nerves.
  • Spinal stenosis: spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Lumbar spinal stenosis affects the lower back and can result in cauda equina syndrome.
  • Spinal tumours: abnormal growths in or near the spinal cord can lead to the compression of the cauda equina nerves.
  • Traumatic injuries: injuries, including fractures or dislocations in the lower back from accidents, falls or sports injuries, can potentially cause damage and place pressure on the cauda equina nerves.
  • Inflammatory conditions: certain inflammatory conditions like ankylosing spondylitis can also lead to CES.

In rare cases, infections or surgical complications may result in CES. Timely identification and treatment of these conditions are vital to prevent long-term complications of CES. Medical professionals have a responsibility to make sure care is prompt and adequate. Should there be a failure to do so, it may be categorised as negligence and give grounds for a compensation claim.

How is cauda equina diagnosed?

Diagnosing CES promptly and accurately is vital to prevent long-term complications and improve the patient's outcome. 

The first step is a thorough medical history and physical examination. The healthcare professional will ask questions about your symptoms, their onset and any contributing factors. This helps them establish a detailed understanding of the situation. In the physical exam, the doctor will check for muscle weakness, sensory changes and signs of bladder or bowel dysfunction, among other things.

If the healthcare professional suspects CES based on your history and physical examination, they will order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. The most commonly used imaging test for diagnosing CES is (MRI). This advanced imaging technique can provide detailed pictures of the spinal cord and surrounding structures, allowing doctors to identify any compression on the cauda equina nerves.

Other diagnostic tests may be performed depending on your symptoms and clinical situation. For example, a test can help evaluate the function of the bladder and sphincter muscles.

How is cauda equina treated?

Treating CES is a matter of urgency and usually needs immediate surgery. The aim is to ease the pressure on the nerves at the base of the spine to prevent permanent damage and improve the chances of a full recovery.

It's important to know that the speed at which this condition is diagnosed and treated significantly impacts the outcome. Quick diagnosis and immediate surgery, often within 48 hours from the onset of symptoms, can make a significant difference to the individual's quality of life.

However, the journey doesn't end with surgery. Post-operative care is also vital and may include physical therapy, occupational therapy and other supportive treatments designed to aid recovery and enhance the individual's independence and mobility.

Unfortunately, where there is a delay in diagnosis or a failure to treat cauda equina syndrome, irreversible damage can happen, leading to long-term complications.

Making a cauda equina syndrome claim

Navigating the process of making a cauda equina claim can seem daunting, especially while dealing with the emotional and physical impacts of the condition. Switalskis is here to support and guide you through every step of this process.

Step 1: Initial consultation

Reach out to Switalskis for a free, no obligation initial consultation. During this meeting, we’ll listen to your story, understand your concerns and explain whether we think you have a strong case. If we decide to proceed, we can then discuss the next steps and the available funding options.

Step 2: Establishing your claim

We’ll gather all the relevant information we need to build your case. This will include applying for all of your medical records, including your GP records. We’ll ask you for photographs, receipts and any other documents that may support your claim. We will take a detailed witness statement to tell your version of events. We may arrange for you to be assessed by an independent medical expert to provide an unbiased view of your injuries and future prognosis. The aim will be to prove that the negligence was responsible for your injury and consider the potential value of the claim.

Step 3: Notifying the defendant

Once we have supportive evidence, we’ll send a letter of claim to the doctor and/or hospital involved. This will outline details of the claim and state allegations regarding the negligent treatment.

Step 4: Defendant response

The defendant will then have four months to investigate the allegations made against them and respond to the letter of claim in a letter of response. This letter will include whether the defendant accepts they are at fault, which is called an admission of liability. If they do not accept fault, they will state this in the letter and this is called a denial of liability. We will advise you of the next steps at this stage.

Step 5: Settlement and compensation

If the defendant or practice has admitted fault, negotiations can start. Our cauda equina solicitors will negotiate on your behalf, using our expertise and experience to secure the highest possible compensation amount for you. At this stage, we will discuss about how much compensation you may receive. This will be calculated to cover the pain and suffering caused by the negligence, as well as any financial losses or expenses you’ve experienced as a result.

Step 6: Court proceedings (where necessary)

Most claims will be settled through negotiation without needing to go to court. In the rare instances where the case does go to trial, you can trust us to represent you throughout the process.

At Switalskis, we understand that every client's situation is unique. We strive to make this journey as straightforward as possible for you, explaining complex legal terminology in simple, clear language, so you understand and are comfortable with every step of the process.

Contact us today and let's start your journey towards recovery together. Call us today on 0800 1380 458, or get in touch via our form.

Our cauda equina syndrome specialists

Photo of Suzanne Munroe
Suzanne MunroeDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Sarah Walker
Sarah WalkerDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Charlotte Reeves
Charlotte ReevesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of Kay Barnes
Kay BarnesDirector and Solicitor
Photo of David Thomas
David ThomasDirector and Chartered Legal Executive
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Cauda equina syndrome claim FAQs

Is there a time limit on making a cauda equina syndrome claim?

Time limits play a vital role when considering a claim. The general rule in the UK for medical negligence cases, including claims, is that you have three years from the 'date of knowledge' to start a claim.

The 'date of knowledge' isn't necessarily the date the negligence happened, but is the date you first became aware that you've suffered a significant injury due to potential negligence. It could also be the day you recognised the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, the day you received your diagnosis, or when you realised the care provided was below the accepted standard.

However, there are exceptions to this three-year rule:

  • Children: if the person who suffered the negligence is under 18 at the time, the three-year period doesn’t start until their 18th birthday. This means they have until they turn 21 to start legal proceedings.
  • Mental capacity: if the person who suffered the negligence lacks mental capacity to make their own decisions, they may be no time limit to make a claim on their behalf.
  • Fatal cases: if you’re claiming on behalf of a deceased family member who passed away due to complication arising from negligence, the claim must be made within three years of the date of death, or the date of knowledge that negligent treatment caused their death.

How are cauda equina syndrome claims funded?

Potential costs are among the biggest concerns our clients have about claiming compensation. At Switalskis, we're committed to making the process as accessible as possible by offering various funding options to meet your needs:

  • No win, no fee agreement: also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA), this is the most common way to fund a cauda equina syndrome claim. Under a no win, no fee agreement, you won't need to pay anything if your claim is unsuccessful. Our costs are written off. If you win your case, a percentage of your compensation will be used to cover our fees. This option allows you to pursue your claim without any financial risk, and we'll discuss all of the potential costs with you upfront to avoid any surprises.
  • Legal expenses insurance: we will begin an insurance policy to cover you for the out-of-pocket costs we incur during the investigation. We have our own insurance provider that we use. However, you may have legal expenses cover as part of your home or car insurance policy, which can also be used to fund your claim. We'll assist you in understanding your policy and liaising with your insurer.
  • Legal Aid: in very rare cases, Legal Aid may be available for clinical negligence claims, although it's usually reserved for specific situations. Our team can guide you on whether you might be eligible.

Remember, your first consultation with our clinical negligence solicitors is free and without obligation. We'll discuss the funding options available to you and help you choose the best one for your situation.

How long do cauda equina syndrome claims take?

The length of time it takes to resolve a claim varies depending on the specifics of the case. Every claimant's circumstances are unique, from the severity of the syndrome to whether or not liability is admitted. Whatever the timeframe, we strive to complete the process without compromising the quality and thoroughness of our legal representation.

In cases where the responsible party admits negligence early on, a resolution might be reached within 18 months to two years. However, if the healthcare provider disputes the claim or if the medical facts are complex, a claim can take several years to conclude. Rest assured, we’ll work diligently to gather evidence, liaise with medical experts, and negotiate with the other side to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

We understand the urgency you may feel to conclude your claim, especially if you're facing financial pressures due to lost income or increased care costs. Therefore, in many cases, we seek to secure interim payments. These are early part payments of your compensation, granted before the final settlement, to help you cope with immediate expenses and losses related to your condition.

While we recognise the desire for swift resolution, our top priority is to secure the maximum cauda equina compensation for you. Our lawyers will keep you informed at every stage, making sure you understand the timeline and any factors that could influence it. Your welfare, rights and peace of mind are at the heart of what we do at Switalskis.

Why Switalskis?

Coping with the aftermath of a diagnosis can be a challenging journey. The emotional toll it takes calls for the backing of a trusted partner who can guide you through these unfamiliar and stressful times.

Clarity in complexity

compensation claims may appear complex, but our aim is to simplify this complexity for you. We're committed to translating complicated legal jargon into plain, clear language. Our dedicated team is here to address all your concerns, simplify the process, and make sure you're fully briefed at every step of the journey.

Empathy at every step

Understanding your unique circumstances is at the heart of our approach. We listen attentively to your concerns, respect your feelings, and provide thoughtful advice that is customised to your needs. To us, you're more than a client - you're an individual grappling with challenging circumstances, and we're here for you, steadfast in our support.

Expertise you can trust

When dealing with something as significant as a compensation claim, you need assurance that you're in capable hands. At Switalskis, our team brings together decades of experience and a proven track record in handling cauda equina claims. 

Led by seasoned professionals, many of whom hold accreditations from the Law Society and AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) , we're unwavering in our commitment to protect your rights and work towards achieving the best outcome for you and your loved ones.

Championing your rights

Our team is driven to uphold your rights and make sure your voice is heard. We'll guide you through every stage of the claim process, making sure you're informed and empowered to make the decisions that are right for you.

We can support you in the following medical negligence situations

Find out how Switalskis can help you

If you feel that medical negligence resulted in you or a loved one developing cauda equina syndrome, it's important to take that first step towards justice. Switalskis is here to guide you through the process, providing expert advice, emotional support and strong representation.

Contact Switalskis today by calling 0800 1380 458 or get in touch with us through the website to discuss your concerns in confidence with a legal specialist.

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