Monday, December 29, 2008

Spinal Injury: Finding a Solicitor

If someone dear to you has experienced a recent accident that involves a spinal injury, with the right help and technological assistance it will still be possible for them to lead a full and varied life.

Whilst lifelong therapy and assistance will be needed by individuals with a spinal injury, loved ones can now look forward to life with a large degree of independent living. This is true even where the use of arms, legs and even the power of speech have been lost.

So what has changed in recent years to make independent living possible for people with the most serious forms of spinal injury? Computerised technologies have been developed over past decades to assist individuals with a spinal injury or a severe disability. Patients with a severe spinal injury that has affected speech can now speak through the use of a voice synthesiser; simple eye movements can be used for computer control of doors, windows, lights, heating and other household appliances. All in all, these technological developments mean that individuals with a spinal injury can lead a full and rewarding life.

However, the technologies that offer loved ones with a spinal injury the ability to live with a degree of independence do not come cheaply. Fortunately, in the case of accidental spinal injury, nearly all cases will be covered by some form of insurance against which a compensation claim can be made. This compensation claim must cover the ongoing costs of care, equipment, adaptation of homes or provision of a living space suitable for a wheelchair and is sufficient to last for the natural life of the person with a spinal injury. So where do you start?

Finding a solicitor for your spinal injury compensation case

Fortunately, you don't have to go through the process of finding care and support for a loved one entirely on your own. There are many charities that can offer some advice and guidance, but expert practical help can also come from an unexpected quarter; the legal firm you select to represent your loved one’s spinal injury compensation case. However, selecting the right lawyer is the most important first step to take. It is important to understand that once a settlement has been made, a spinal injury compensation case cannot return to the courts to seek additional funds at a later date.

The solicitors you select should have an expert knowledge and experience of what care, equipment and other items will be needed for assisted living during the course of a spinal injury victim's natural life. Ask to see case histories of past clients with injuries similar to your family member, and check to see how much money was awarded. If possible compare this to other firms that you may be considering.

When you have satisfied yourself that your prospective solicitors are suitably experienced in pursuing a spinal injury compensation case, you should also ask what services are offered by the legal firm to assist you in caring for a loved one with a spinal injury whilst your claim is settled. Questions might include:-

- Is a Case Manager appointed so that you can always speak to the same people and especially someone who is familiar with your case?

- Will your solicitor help you find the specialist care teams and equipment your family will need?

- Are these teams likely to be experienced in dealing with assisted living for someone with a spinal injury?

- Will the firm help you deal with any issues or unforeseen requirements that may arise over the course of the claim?

- Will this assistance extend to the years after your award has been made?

- Are these services to support a spinal injury victim provided free of charge?

Interim awards for spinal injury can be sought from insurers to help your family with any immediate requirements while the compensation case is being prepared and heard, so that your loved one can be brought home as quickly as possible.

If at any time you are unhappy with the service you are receiving you can always change your legal firm; you are not obliged to remain with the firm you have selected at the outset. However, choosing your legal representation carefully can save you time and needless heartache whilst your loved one and your family are adapting to life with a serious spinal injury.

About the Author

Neil Glover - Serious injury lawyers with unrivalled expertise. Specialist services for spinal injury, brain injury, head and amputation clients from the UK's leading specialised injury law practice. 0800 61 66 81

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