Clinical negligence claims involving spinal injuries
Clinical negligence claims involving spinal injuries

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Clinical negligence claims involving spinal injuries
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages
  • Procedural matters
  • Types of experts
  • Common spinal claims
  • Take home messages

Breach of duty

For details of the law on breach of duty in clinical negligence claims see Practice Note: Duty of care and breach in clinical negligence claims.

Practical tips for spinal claims:

  1. treatment for spinal injuries and conditions often requires a multidiscipline approach which relies on strong communication between teams. Furthermore, such injuries and conditions may occur against a complicated medical background. This increases the risk of problems arising

  2. ascertain the referrals and transfers between potential defendants eg GPs, ambulance services, community services Trusts, local hospital (acute) Trusts, major trauma centres, tertiary care providers, private providers, rehabilitation and care services. Be aware that sometimes patients choose to see a Consultant as both an NHS and private patient

  3. clarify the roles and referrals within each defendant body. The treatment pathway is likely to involve a range of teams eg: A&E, nursing, orthopaedics, and neurosurgery

  4. create a factual chronology at the outset and update this document as further information is known. Investigate any missing details. Include the exact timing of when symptoms developed, where and when referrals were made, and when the treatment or investigations actually took place


Causation can be difficult to establish in spinal claims. There may be pre-existing problems that complicate the picture. In addition, ascertaining whether different treatment would have altered the outcome can be