Personal injury claims involving spinal injuries
Produced in partnership with James Byrne of 9 Gough Square

The following PI & Clinical Negligence practice note produced in partnership with James Byrne of 9 Gough Square provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Personal injury claims involving spinal injuries
  • The spine
  • Types of spinal injury
  • Catastrophic spinal cord injuries (CSI)
  • Other common injuries related to the spine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Breach of duty
  • Causation
  • Damages
  • Starting point
  • More...

Personal injury claims involving spinal injuries

The spine

The spine is a complex structure, divided into five regions:

  1. cervical (C1 to C7)—the neck region; it has the greatest range of flexibility and supports the full weight of the skull

  2. thoracic (T1 to T12)—the upper to mid back region; its main function is to hold the ribcage, which in turn protect the major organs. It has very limited movement

  3. lumbar (L1 to L5)—the lower back region, its main function is to support the body’s weight and it has good flexibility

  4. sacrum (S1 to S5)—the pelvis region, its main function is to connect the spine to the hip bones

  5. coccyx—it is the tailbone and is an important attachment for tendons and ligaments within the pelvic area

Within the spinal column the spinal cord runs from the medulla oblongata to first lumbar vertebra. The spinal cord consists of a cylindrical bundle of nerve fibres and is surrounded, for protection, by cerebrospinal fluid. It is the main pathway connecting the nervous system to the brain, alongside acting as the co-ordinating centre for the simple instinctive reflexes.

Types of spinal injury

Catastrophic spinal cord injuries (CSI)

Practitioners should be aware that there is often a delay in understanding the full extent of an injury suffered to the spinal cord because the body is likely to go into ‘spinal shock’. This creates a condition in the

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