Eligibility for Compensation for Paralysis in an Accident
You may be eligible to claim compensation for paralysis in an accident – provided that the accident which caused the injury was due to the actions – or in actions – of a negligent third party. The person or entity responsible for the accident must, however, have owed you a duty of care, and a breach of that care was the reason why you suffer a degree of paralysis.
Paralysis can be caused in a serious road accident, a fall for a height, when playing sport and in work place accidents – to name some common examples – and is caused when the body sustains a serious injury and the brain, nerves or spinal cord become damaged.
Paralysis can be temporary or permanent, complete or partial. For example, quadriplegic injuries may result in the loss of fingers and toes while mobility is retained in the arms and legs. However, no matter what degree of paralysis you have sustained, you have the right to claim compensation for paralysis if the injuries were sustained because of another person’s lack of care.
If you have been injured in an accident that has caused some degree of paralysis, you would be well advised to engage with an experienced personal injury solicitor to assist with your compensation claim for a paralysis injury.
Establishing Negligence in Paralysis Injury Claims
Proving negligence in certain compensation for paralysis in an accident claims can be reasonably straightforward, in cases when an employer has breached their duty of care, for example, by not installing the relevant equipment to prevent a fall from a height. However, it can be extremely difficult to prove liability in cases involving medical negligence. Even when there appears to have been an obvious case of negligence, you should always engage a solicitor experienced in personal injury cases involving medical negligence for legal counsel when attempting to pursue a medical negligence resulting in paralysis claim.
An experienced medical negligence solicitor would be required to assist with medical negligence paralysis claims as it is often impossible to obtain total proof of negligence when the actions of a doctor have allegedly caused an individual to lose functionality in part of their body.
In such cases, it will be necessary to show that a different doctor who holds a similar status would have been able to prevent paralysis by choosing an alternate route, one which would have been a normal course of action to take under the circumstances. Therefore, a solicitor will need to arrange for top medical consultants to establish whether one of their contemporaries is liable for the injuries sustained in order to give weight to a compensation claim for a paralysis injury.
Paralysis Claims for Children
Temporary or permanent paralysis can be suffered from birth injuries that cause conditions such as Erb’s palsy and brachial plexus paralysis, which can often be caused by the negligence of the midwife or attending obstetrician. In such cases it must only be proven “on the balance of probabilities” that a medical practitioner is responsible for the paralysis from actions they took, or failed to take, when birth problems arose.
Tetraplegic and paraplegic injuries to children are highly distressing situations for the parents. When another person’s negligence has caused the terrible accident in which their child’s paralysis was sustained, a claim can often be made.
It is recommended that a parent – or guardian – who wishes to make a compensation claim for a paralysis injury seeks the advice of an experienced solicitor as soon as is practically possible after the accident. Although a child cannot make any sort of claim until they reach their majority (i.e. their eighteenth birthday) – after which they would have a limit of two years to make the claim – it is possible for a parent or guardian to make the claim on their behalf by acting as their “next friend”.
Making a Compensation Claim for a Paralysis Injury
Most personal injury claims in Ireland – including compensation for paralysis in an accident claims but always excluding cases associated with medical negligence – must begin with the involvement of the Injuries Board. An inexperienced potential plaintiff who is unfamiliar with the claims process would be advised to consult with a solicitor to assist them in completing the application Form A. It is vital that all aspects of the victim’s injury are represented on the form as any omissions or errors could see a significant reduction in the value of their claim. Along with the application Form A the following documents must be supplied:
- Form B – the treating doctor’s evaluation
- Bills or receipts for any expenses you wish to recover
- The appropriate fee for application submitted online or by post
If the Injuries Board assessment is satisfactory to all parties involved, the claim can end there, but most cases are settled through direct negotiations the victim’s solicitor can hold with the negligent party’s legal representatives. A minor number of cases will be brought to the High Court.
How Much Compensation Can A Paralysis Victim Expect?
Compensation for paralysis in an accident is difficult to calculate. No two cases for paralysis compensation are alike – even when the injuries sustained are identical – and the compensation figure calculated should be based on each case’s individual merits, after the victim’s solicitor has sought specialist medical opinion on the severity of the injuries and the affect they could have on the victim throughout life. The compensation figure is measured by the degree of paralysis sustained, its permanence, whether it is total or partial, whether some functionality may be restored, and the level of pain and suffering experienced as a result of the accident and injuries. The victim’s age and sex will be taken into account, and consideration will be given to how the injuries have affected an individual’s quality of life.
In addition to the compensation for these “general damages” – for pain, suffering and loss of amenity – a compensation claim for a paralysis injury can be made for “special damages” – to enable the victim to be reimbursed for expenses or costs that can be attributed to the injury. The purpose of special damages is to ensure that the victim is no worse off financially that they were before the accident which caused them to become paralysed. For example, any medical expenses that have been incurred or will be incurred in the future, loss of income due to an inability to work, the restructuring of a house to accommodate a wheelchair, home help and transport costs can all be included in a special damages claim.
Compensation for Paralysis in an Accident: Summary
- It is possible to claim compensation for paralysis in an accident if the injuries sustained were caused by another party’s negligence,
- It has to be proven that a breach in a third party’s duty of care was the reason behind the injury in order to make a compensation claim for a paralysis injury
- Cases involving medical negligence never involve the Injuries Board and require expert analysis from specialist consultations to assist in proving negligence
- A parent or guardian can make a claim for compensation on behalf of a child by acting as their “next friend”
- Compensation figures are calculated on a case-to-case basis and claims can be made for both “general” and “special” damages.
If you have been injured in an accident for which you were not entirely to blame, you would be well advised to consult with an experienced personal injury solicitor. Most solicitors offer a free initial consultation in which they can answer any questions you may have regarding your case, and to assess your claim to determine whether it is worth pursuing. By engaging with a solicitor, the opportunity of achieving a successful claim is increased as they can ensure your Injuries Board application is completed to accurately represent your injury, to negotiate with the negligent party’s insurers and, if necessary, to prepare a comprehensive case for any court action that may be required.