Suffering a serious back injury or a spinal cord injury has a dramatic effect on you and your family’s life. Where your serious back injury was caused due to the neglect, act or omission of another party, then you should contact your Solicitor to make sure that your interests are protected. If it is possible, your Solicitor will seek to recover compensation so that your quality of life is maintained to the highest possible standard.
A case where serious injuries such as serious back injury or a spinal injury are concerned can be broken down into two main elements. The first question is that of liability. Is there a party responsible for the spinal injury whether as a result of their action or inaction? Your Solicitor will engage a consulting engineer or other relevant expert to provide a report on this question.
Once liability is established, the question of damages arises. Damages is compensation for injury or loss suffered. There are a number of different types of damages, but the main subcategories are general damages and special damages. General damages is compensation for pain and suffering – past and future. Special damages is compensation for financial loss or expense incurred or to be incurred in the future. These can be very significant in cases of serious back injury or a spinal injury.
While special damages are generally fully reflective of future medical, care costs, loss of earnings and all other financial losses incurred as a result of the injury, general damages are often comparatively low. While the Constitution does not provide an upper limit on the damages that can be awarded by the High Court and the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has found that it is desirable and appropriate that such a cap should be imposed. The cap imposed by the Supreme Court in 1984 was IR£150,000. In the 2009 case of Maggie Yun v. MIBI that cap was reviewed. It was determined that a more reflective cap in 2008 was €500,000 and this was reduced to €450,000 in light of the economic crisis in being in 2009. It is therefore generally accepted that the cap on general damages for catastrophic injuries at present is around €500,000. There is no cap for special damages, which is why one often sees cases of multi-million euro awards in serious back injury cases. These are for actual financial loss incurred or to be incurred and the importance of properly calculating special damages cannot be over stated.
In order to have your claim properly reflect the special damages that you are entitled to, you will need to obtain a number of reports from relevant experts so that all future losses and costs are included in your claim. These include Medical Costs, Care Costs, Loss of Earnings, house and vehicle adaption, education and re-education costs and all other expenses to be incurred in order to maintain your standard of living prior to your serious back injury. Experts retained might therefore include, not only engineers, medical doctors, consultants and psychiatrists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists but also experts such as occupational therapists, vocational therapists, educational tutors, actuaries, financial advisors and consultant nursing and care experts. Remember, the aim is to put you in the position that you would have been in but for the serious back injury or a spinal injury or wrong suffered and this is best achieved by focusing on your quality of living and claiming all financial costs necessary to bring your quality of life up to the original standard.