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Cauda Equina Claims

Have you received negligent treatment?

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Decades of combined experience

in Medical Negligence litigation.

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The experts in Medical Negligence Claims

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd’s specialist Medical Negligence department has an in-house team of Solicitors and legal professionals dedicated solely to this area of law. With decades of combined experience, we are dedicated in assisting clients who have suffered physically, mentally and financially as a result of negligent medical treatment.

The specialist team pursues an array of medical negligence claims ranging from Prescription errors and misdiagnosis, to complex birthing injury and spinal claims and everything else in between.

What is Cauda Equina?

Cauda Equina is a spinal condition that must be treated quickly and correctly. Delays in diagnosis and treatment can often lead to serious long term health complications that could have been avoidable.

It happens when nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed. When this happens it is a medical emergency and swift diagnosis is essential. It can develop incredibly quickly and must be treated as a medical emergency. If it is not diagnosed and treated within 24-48 hours the effects can be life changing.

Cauda Equina is a well known condition in any clinical setting and Doctors are trained to spot ‘red flag’ symptoms that alert them to the need for urgent treatment.

What causes Cauda Equina?

Cauda Equina is more common in adults than children, the causes of the condition could start from any of the below:

  • A slipped disc (a severe ruptured disc in the lumbar area); the most common cause.
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis).
  • A spinal lesion or malignant tumour.
  • A spinal infection, inflammation, haemorrhage or fracture.
  • Complications from a severe lumbar spine injury from, for example, a fall or car crash.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pins and needles, pain, numbness or weakness in both legs which causes problems with mobility.
  • Problems with bladder and/or bowel function, such as incontinence or difficulty passing urine.
  • Severe lower back pain.
  • Saddle and/or sensory abnormality.
  • Sexual dysfunction that comes on suddenly.
  • Severe or worsening altered sensation in the legs, buttocks, inner thighs, backs of legs or feet.

How is it diagnosed?

Once any of these red flags have been identified by a clinician you should be referred immediately for urgent care. They should take a full medical history and complete a physical examination. You should then be referred for immediate imaging by way of MRI, CT Scan or X-Ray.

These methods combined should lead a competent clinician to a diagnosis.

Treatment of Cauda Equina

Once Cauda Equina had been diagnosed, immediate treatment is key to avoiding long term effects, ideally within 48 hours of the symptoms starting.

Surgery is needed to relieve pressure on the nerves. Surgery must be performed quickly to prevent permanent damage to the nerve that can result in paralysis of the legs, loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sexual function or other problems.

What claims in relation to Cauda Equina?

Negligence can occur at various stages of a Cauda equina diagnosis.

  • Misdiagnosis – The the most common reason for a compensation claim. Clinicians may fail to properly take a detailed medical history or perform a thorough physical examination and miss key ‘red flag’ symptoms of Cauda Equina syndrome.
  • Delayed treatment – Time is of the essence with Cauda Equina syndrome. Patients with signs or symptoms of this condition require urgent investigation to confirm the diagnosis but there can still be delays in performing these. If delays occur, the patient may deteriorate and lose the opportunity to have their condition successfully treated.
  • Inadequate or poorly performed surgery resulting in cord compression.
  • The failure to recognise post-operative complications following surgery.
Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have to claim?

Claims of this nature are subject to a three year limitation period. This means that claims have to be commenced within the Courts in three years of rather the date the negligent act occurred or the date you became aware that negligence had occurred.

In cases involving deceased victims, this limitation period commences from the date of death and in cases involving minors, the limitation period starts when they reach their 18th birthday.

The law surrounding limitation periods is complex. Our specialist team will be able to advise further.

How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value claims at their outset, given the complexities involved. However, we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

General damages – for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.

Special damages – for all of your out-of-pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future.

Fatal Accidents Act claim – for cases involving the death of a loved one a claim under the fatal accidents act may be able to be made which allows (in certain circumstances) for a statutory bereavement award.

This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.

How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a ‘no-win, no fee’ agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim, a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After The Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.

Why choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon or medical terms they don’t understand, and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.

What do I do now?

If you believe or feel you have a claim, contact us for a no-obligation consultation regarding your options:

1
carol cook
Carol Cook — Head of Department

Carol Cook joined Oakwood Solicitors in May 2017 to lead the Medical Negligence department. She handles a wide range of Clinical and Dental Negligence claims and has a specialist interest in Birth Injuries.

Carol has years of experience in handling complex clinical and Dental Negligence claims securing substantial amounts of damages for her clients. Carol studied her law degree (LLB honours) at Salford University.

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