Medical Negligence Claims

Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims

Cauda equina syndrome happens when the collection of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed, and should always be treated as a medical emergency.

The potential long-term effects of cauda equina syndrome include paralysis and incontinence, so doctors need to be able to recognise the warning signs associated with cauda equina syndrome. These symptoms include:

  • Severe back pain
  • Incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Pain in one or both legs

If the symptoms are ignored or misdiagnosed the neurological effects can be devastating – decompression surgery to relieve the pressure on the spine needs to happen as soon as possible.

Our medical negligence solicitors understand the impact of this condition and can help you make a cauda equina claim if your life has been changed by the condition. Most of our claims are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement, which means there’s no financial risk to you.*

We’ll use our range of rehabilitation contacts to make sure you have a proper care package in place to aid your recovery and improve your quality of life.

Access to client liaison managers and rehabilitation contacts
Links with support groups and charities
In-house public law and Court of Protection experts
Advice from our IM Asset Management team on how to take care of your compensation

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Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims - More Information
    • What Will Happen When I Make A Claim?
    • After you’ve contacted us, we’ll set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case and whether you have a legal claim. We’ll discuss what funding options are available to you to pay for your claim, including No Win No Fee agreements*.

      We’ll then get in touch with those responsible for your negligent treatment at an early stage to see if they accept the blame for your illness. If they accept responsibility, we’ll try to secure interim compensation payments which can fund private medical care and ongoing expenses, before your claim fully settles. Any interim payments will be taken out of your final compensation award.

      Our experts will look into your case in detail, gathering evidence from independent medical professionals. These experts evaluate what care you should have received and can determine any future implications to your health. They’ll also advise us on the care you’ll need in the future.

      We’ll always try and negotiate claims out of court, keeping the claim process as short as we can. However, if your opponent doesn’t accept responsibility or doesn’t agree with the amount of compensation we feel you need, we’ll start court proceedings.

      Even when trial dates have been set, claims are still often settled before reaching court. If your claim does need to go to court, we’ll be there to help you every step of the way, talking you through what will happen so you feel as comfortable as possible.

    • How Long Do I Have To Make A Claim?
    • In most medical negligence cases, you have three years to make a compensation claim, starting from the date your injury happened or the date you first became aware that your injury was a result of negligence). For children, this three year period begins on their 18th birthday, so you have until they’re 21 to make a claim.

      If you have questions or concerns about the time limits, please call us for free initial advice on 0800 121 6567.

    • Can I Make A Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
    • Many of our cases are funded with a No Win No Fee agreement. This means that there’s no financial risk* to you when making a compensation claim.

      At the start of your case we’ll discuss funding options with you, advising you which we think is most suitable. If you have legal expenses insurance (LEI) or are covered by a trade union policy, these may be best for you. Legal expenses insurance is included in many household insurance policies, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re already covered.

      If we think you’re best supported by a No Win No Fee agreement, we’ll explain the process clearly. This involves setting up an insurance policy that will protect you, at no cost to you. You’ll only have to pay anything when your claim is successful – your opponent will pay most of our fees.

      Please visit our No Win No Fee page for more information on how it works.

    • Meet Our Experts
    • As the largest medical negligence department in the country, our solicitors are highly rated by independent legal guides.

      We have years of experience in securing compensation for those who’ve suffered as a consequence of medical errors. Our solicitors are aware that every claim is different and we make sure that we understand the care and support you need.

      Getting an apology and explanation for what’s happened can be just as important as the compensation award. We’ll take the necessary steps to help you make a complaint and will campaign to ensure systems are put in place to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to somebody else.

      Meet the team

They were always there to answer my questions and queries when I was at my most vulnerable and they persevered to obtain the best possible result."

Lisa, client

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Common Causes And Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda equina syndrome is caused when the bundle of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord (the cauda equina) is compressed. These nerves are used to relay messages to the legs, feet and pelvic organs.

Some of the most common causes of cauda equina syndrome include:

  • Tumours on the spine
  • Slipped disc (also known as a herniated or prolapsed disc)
  • Spinal fracture
  • Spinal infection

Due to the serious nature of cauda equina syndrome, medical professionals need to investigate and act upon any potential symptoms as soon as possible. These “red flag” signs include:

  • Back pain
  • Inability to urinate
  • Incontinence caused by the loss of sensation in the bowels
  • Loss of feeling in the genital/perineal area
  • Pain, weakness and loss of sensation in the legs

If any of these symptoms are ignored by a doctor or nurse, the results can be tragic. We’ll seek justice on your behalf if your life has been changed by medical negligence, helping make sure that the same mistakes aren’t made again.

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What Constitutes Medical Negligence?

There are a number of symptoms related to cauda equina syndrome (see “What Are The Common Causes And Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?” for more information).

If a patient has any of these symptoms, they should be sent for an urgent MRI scan. Depending on the results of the MRI, they should then be referred for decompression surgery to relieve pressure on their spinal cord. The earlier this operation happens, the better.

A delay in the diagnosis and treatment can lead to permanent disability, so it’s vital that the signs are taken seriously. Some of the conditions cauda equina syndrome is often mistaken for include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Prostate problems
  • Sciatica

Cauda equina syndrome can also be caused by negligent spinal surgery, and we have first-hand experience of helping people who have been affected by surgical mistakes make the best recovery possible.

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What Are The Consequences Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?

If decompression surgery happens within 48 hours, it’s much more likely that someone with cauda equina syndrome will make a better recovery than when there’s been a delay in diagnosis.

The failure to diagnose and treat cauda equina syndrome can have serious and long term (sometimes permanent) effects:

  • Incontinence
  • Loss of mobility
  • Paralysis
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Severe pain

We’ll make sure that your compensation fully reflects the severity of these consequences. Specialist care is an important part of any cauda equina syndrome claim, and our solicitors will make sure that you have access to the very best medical support while we continue with your case. We have client liaison managers available, who can put you in touch with rehabilitation specialists to help you maximise your recovery. These experts may include:

  • Physiotherapists
  • Sex therapists
  • Continence advisors

You might also need to make adaptations to your home after suffering from cauda equina syndrome: we’ve helped many clients improve their independence with changes to their house. We’ll give you advice on how best to use your compensation to make your home more accessible.

Our project Great Adaptations shows the kind of changes we could help you make to your home.

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Awards & Recognition

We're always proud to be recognised for the work we do for our clients and have been named as a leading firm in the latest legal guides - which provide information and recommendations about lawyers and law firms in the UK.

"They are forensic and analytical as well as campaigning and careful. All of the lawyers work tirelessly for the smaller cases as well as the bigger cases."
We're delighted to have been named Claimant Solicitor of the Year in the 2016 Post Magazine Rehabilitation First Awards, an award we've won on seven previous occasions.
"One of the best’ and ‘go-to firm’ Irwin Mitchell covers the full range of work, and specialises in complex, unique cases."

What Our Clients Say

We truly value and appreciate the feedback we receive from our clients, as we look to improve the services we offer on an ongoing basis.

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We’re proud to support national spinal injury charities.

We have close links with spinal injury charities across the country, proudly supporting the vital work they do for spinal injury victims. Some of charities we work with include:

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome UK
  • Back Up Trust
  • Spinal Injuries Association


Our Offices

Our offices are located in major cities throughout the UK and have excellent transport links.

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To begin your claim for compensation, or ask any questions regarding personal injury claims, contact us today for a free consultation.

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