We have represented clients, paralysed by spinal cord injury (SCI), for over 30 years. These claims might involve arguments about liability, for example:
- Was the Accident & Emergency Department negligent by sending away a patient with cauda equina syndrome?
- Was the car driver partly liable for the accident by driving too fast?
- Was the young man attacked in the street at fault for starting the fight, preventing him from recovering criminal injury compensation?
However, what is not in dispute is the severity and impact of SCI, both on the individual and their families. Part of our job is to gather evidence to prove how much it will cost to provide for a client during their lifetime. Sometimes these cases go to Court for a judge to decide how much compensation should be awarded. Evidence is set out in paper reports from many experts as well as statements from the client and their family. They can also give oral evidence at trial but it can never truly paint the full picture of living with SCI. This includes the mental health of clients as they come to terms with their new way of life.
How can you possibly understand such a life changing event which you have not personally experienced? That is why we encourage you to view the very open and honest account of life after SCI in the recent BBC documentary, Being Frank; The Frank Gardner Story.
This programme shows just how much a person’s daily life is affected by paralysis in very frank terms (excuse the pun!). Many will recall that Frank Gardner was the BBC correspondent injured in an attack which killed his cameraman and which he nearly did not survive. It is inspirational but also down to earth.
In the programme, other SCI survivors detail the emotional impact on themselves and their partners. One of the images that stuck with us was Frank Gardner’s attempts to get to the studio in time for a live broadcast. Getting from A to B is a simple task for most of us but turned into such a dramatic moment as we worried “will he make it?” For anyone using a lift, this programme should make you think twice!
Not all SCI patients have the chance to continue adventures abroad in quite the same way as Frank Gardner, and few would want to be carried into the jungle, but the positive approach to a such a serious injury is a lesson for us all. It also reflects the importance of allowing everyone with SCI to be as independent as possible. We are glad that maximising compensation for our injured clients has enabled them to do this; an example is a former doctor, whose story will be on our website soon and who is equally inspirational.