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Cauda Equina Claims

The consequences of poor or delayed care for people suffering from cauda equina syndrome can be extremely serious and challenging. It is, therefore, imperative that patients are able to bring about a successful compensation claim with the help of a specialist solicitor who truly understands the condition and the issues surrounding it.

JMW has built an unrivalled reputation as a specialist in cauda equina syndrome claims, handling most cases on a no win, no fee basis. Our knowledgeable and professional approach has made all the difference to our clients; we have not only achieved compensation settlements that have allowed them to rebuild their lives, we have also acted as a great source of support during an extremely challenging time.

If you or a loved one has been affected by cauda equina syndrome that was caused by medical negligence, our team of specialist solicitors is here to help. Contact us today on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online contact form and we will get in touch with you about making a cauda equina syndrome claim.

Average settlement relates to claims settled between 1 May 2021 and 30 April 2023 that range from five figure sums to those running into millions of pounds. The compensation JMW has secured has helped our clients to purchase specially adapted homes suitable for their disabilities and cover the cost of other expenses such as lost earnings

What Our Clients Say

“JMW have been a tremendous support to me and my family. They put their faith in me and my journey and I can’t begin to thank Eddie Jones and the team enough.  The success of my claim has made mine and my family’s lives so much easier, we no longer need to worry about our financial situation or stress over adapting our home.”

JMW medical negligence client Claire Rawlings, who has cauda equina syndrome

How JMW can help with cauda equina claims

Our solicitors have successfully settled many claims of this type and are currently helping sufferers across the country to challenge the poor care or negligence that has resulted in their long-term injuries, including those caused by cauda equina syndrome. Successful claims help those in need to cover medical costs and make any essential adaptations to their daily life.

Headed up by leading cauda equina solicitor Eddie Jones, our specialists have strong links with the charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), and two of our partners are on their panel of approved solicitors. In addition, we have lawyers who are members of the Law Society's Panel of Clinical Negligence Specialists. We work nationwide and visit our clients at home whenever needed.

We have helped a range of people affected by cauda equina to claim compensation where medical negligence made the effects more severe and frequently achieve some of the highest settlements nationally.

What is Cauda Equina?

Eddie Jones, a cauda equina specialist solicitor at JMW, explains cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina is a type of serious spinal injury that can devastate lives due to the distressing long-term problems it causes, including incontinence, lingering pain, impaired mobility and sexual dysfunction. When it first strikes, urgent surgery is required to stop its effects from becoming permanent.

Lower back pain is exceedingly common and, in the vast majority of cases, it clears up on its own without treatment. However, occasionally it can be a symptom of something more serious. At the upper lumbar region of the spinal canal, the nerves of the pelvis and legs branch out from the end of the spinal cord in a 'horse's tail' effect. Anything that causes a narrowing of the spinal canal in this area - resulting in a compression of this particular bundle of nerves - is classed as cauda equina syndrome (CES).

These nerves are susceptible to injury, particularly those supplying the bladder and bowel. The most common cause of CES is a prolapsed (slipped) disc, but other causes may include:

  • Injury to the lumbar spine
  • A tumour
  • Infection (particularly abscesses)
  • Damage during surgery

For more information about CES, such as what it is, the symptoms to look out for, who it affects and where to go for help, check out our cauda equina infographic and click on the image below.

Common Reasons for a Claim

At JMW we have helped hundreds of cauda equina patients make a claim after receiving negligent treatment and have identified several recurring issues with the care provided. Among these common types of cauda equina medical negligence claims are:

Lack of Awareness in Hospitals

Medical staff in hospitals may not be fully aware of the signs of cauda equina syndrome, nor the need for fast action and the devastating impact it can have on the life of a patient without urgent treatment. Systematic failures, such as a lack of funding and resources, at smaller hospitals may also mean they are not fully equipped to deal with serious spinal injuries requiring urgent investigation, and there may be delays in referring patients to specialist units.

Delayed MRI or CT Scans

People affected by cauda equina sometimes face delays of days, or even weeks, before they undergo a scan. While waiting, their condition can deteriorate so significantly that it may be too late to prevent permanent nerve damage when the condition is finally identified, and lives can be devastated as a result.

Misdiagnosis by GPs

Whilst most GPs are aware of cauda equina and the need to immediately refer patients to hospitals for scans and surgery, some may let patients down by misdiagnosing the condition and failing to recommend appropriate action.

Negligent Surgery

A poor standard of surgery can mean that a patient's condition is worsened or is left untreated. This can lead to permanent damage being caused and the need for further operations, which can be traumatic for patients and also carries the risk of long-term injury.

What to Do if Your Loved One is Diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome

A diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome can be devastating, and the long-term impact of this spinal condition can mean that patients very often struggle to get their lives back on track.

Like many debilitating conditions, a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome can have serious implications for the patient’s whole family. It may be difficult to know where to turn to in circumstances such as these, but cauda equina syndrome compensation may help significantly with this, which is why it is important to seek out guidance from specialist cauda equina syndrome lawyers.

JMW is a trusted partner of the cauda equina champions charity

The Cauda Equina Champions Charity started life as the Cauda Equina Syndrome Association (CESA) back in 2013. It was set up by Claire Thornber with support from JMW and strives to raise awareness of the devastating spinal condition cauda equina syndrome and to support those affected by it.

Claire identified identified that there was a need for an organisation to campaign for greater understanding of the 'red flag signs' of CES. She hopes to ensure that more sufferers receive urgent treatment to enable them to recover and avoid permanent injury.

CES can affect anyone of any age and is caused when the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine become compressed, often by a slipped disc. The red flag signs are bowel and bladder dysfunction, altered sensation in the lower part of the body, pain in the back/legs and loss of sexual sensation. It requires surgery to relieve the pressure within 24/48 hours but if healthcare professionals do not recognise the signs, or delay treatment, the condition can become permanent.

For more information about the Cauda Equina Champions Charity click here.

Case Studies

Man’s Life Devastated by Appalling Cauda Equina Syndrome failures - £9.3 million

‘Chris’ had his life completely devastated after a misdiagnosis of serious neurological condition cauda equina syndrome. Chris was left with bowel and bladder dysfunction, severe permanent pain, mobility problems, sexual dysfunction and depression. Although nothing could make up for this severe impact on his life, Eddie Jones, a partner in the JMW clinical negligence team specialising in cauda equina cases, obtained £9.3 million in compensation to help Chris cover the cost of his lifelong disabilities. Read the full case study here.

Client Stories

Ginny's Story 

JMW supported Ginny through a cauda equina compensation claim after she was left unable to work, with permanent disabilities and bowel and bladder incontinence due to negligent treatment of the condition. With JMW's help, Ginny was later awarded a seven-figure compensation settlement so that she could start rebuilding her life. In this video, she tells her story.

Peter's Story 

JMW helped "Peter", 44, through a cauda equina compensation claim. Peter has seen almost every single aspect of his life change following a cauda equina syndrome diagnosis, including his ability to work, his relationship with his wife and son, and his body image and fitness. 

You can read about Peter's experiences here.

How Cauda Equina Affects Relationships: Michelle's Story

JMW spoke to psychosexual therapist Michelle Donald about the lesser-known effects the condition can have, including how it can impact a person’s intimate relationships. In this video, Michelle explains how it is possible to regain control of your life after what can be a devastating diagnosis.

FAQs About Cauda Equina Claims

How will I know if I am eligible to claim compensation?

Compensation for mishandled cases of CES is often considerable, and can result from:

  • Failure to diagnose
  • Failure to treat
  • Inadequate or negligent surgery
  • Failure to recognise post-operative complications

If any of these were a factor in your cauda equina diagnosis or the condition getting worse, you will likely be able to claim compensation.

What are the symptoms of cauda equina?

The ‘red flags’ for CES that require urgent investigation include:

  • Altered bladder and bowel function, including changes to the flow and not feeling the urge to go, as well as incontinence 
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sciatic pain in one or both legs
  • Altered sensation in the bottom, groin and legs such as numbness or pins and needles.
  • A sudden loss of power in the legs

Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome vary in intensity and sometimes evolve slowly over time.  However, the above can be signs that the cauda equina nerves are being compressed, and that surgery is needed to prevent permanent nerve damage.

What causes cauda equina syndrome?

Common causes of cauda equina syndrome include:

  • A slipped disc
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal
  • A tumour on the spinal cord
  • A spinal infection, haemorrhage or fracture
  • Complications from a severe lumbar spine injury from, for example, a fall or car crash 
  • A mistake made during spinal surgery 

How is cauda equina treated?

Surgery is required immediately after a cauda equina diagnosis, ideally within 24-48 hours. Surgery should relieve the pressure on the nerves, which helps to avoid long-term nerve damage that causes the symptoms of CES to become permanent. 

Even after having surgery, some individuals do not regain complete function because recovery depends on the severity of the damage and how promptly the surgery was performed. 

What impact can cauda equina syndrome have on relationships?

Perhaps one of the lesser-discussed impacts of cauda equina is the strain it can put on relationships. Because the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine control sexual function, permanent damage can result in this function being lost forever. This can cause emotional damage to those affected, and when combined with the fact that partners often become carers, it means that many relationships are put under pressure.

How long do cauda equina compensation claims take?

Clinical negligence cases can take a long time, because the issues at stake are often complicated. Claims involving cauda equina syndrome are especially difficult because proof is so important, and we need to gather evidence from leading independent medical experts, who often have long waiting lists. 

However we will ensure your case moves forward as quickly as possible and keep you updated every step of the way. 

What are the time limits on making a compensation claim for cauda equina syndrome?

Patients have three years from the date of the negligence to file a claim; if it is not resolved or legal action is not taken within that time frame, the claim is "time barred”. This is the so-called "limitation period", after which a cauda equina claim cannot be taken forwards. However, in some circumstances, this term will begin after the actual date when the negligence occurred - for example, in cases where patients didn’t know they had sustained a significant injury resulting from negligence.

How does funding work for cauda equina syndrome claims?

Most of our cauda equina syndrome clients are able to make their claim for compensation on a no win, no fee basis. This means that you will not have to pay any legal fees unless your cauda equina syndrome negligence claim is successful. 

Talk to Us

To speak to a specialist solicitor about your cauda equina claim, call free on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online contact form. We are here to help you secure the compensation you are entitled to; our expert clinical negligence lawyers will deal with your enquiry without any initial cost or obligation. We handle cases on a no win, no fee basis.