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Title: How much compensation for paraplegia?

Date: 25 January 2012

Question

I am now 16 months on from a serious accident in which I have been rendered paraplegic. The bus company responsible has admitted responsibility for the accident in full. I would like to know how much compensation I will get as my solicitors keep avoiding answering this but I need to know so I can plan my future. Can you help?

Mark Ritchie, by e-mail

Answer

I am sorry to hear about your injuries and that your solicitors are not answering your questions. As you know (but for the benefit of the readers) paraplegia is complete paralysis of the lower half of the body including both legs, usually caused by damage to the spinal cord. To value claims lawyers like me use Guidelines (called the JSB Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages) which are published every two years and which reflect court awards across the country. This therefore gives a pattern of awards for different injuries and as such it is possible to place injuries within certain bands of damages. For paraplegia the band is £144,000 to £186,500.

The level of ward within the bracket will depend on the following: the presence and extent of pain; the degree of independence, depression; age and life expectancy. The presence of increasing paralysis or the degree of risk that this will occur, for example, from syringomyelia (damage to the spinal cord due to the formation of a fluid-filled area within the cord), might take the case above this bracket. Clearly medical evidence is crucial to determine where your injuries fall within the bracket and of course there is the claim for financial losses to consider which will be very significant.

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