You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

We are continuing to serve clients during the COVID-19 pandemic More Info.

Banner 0

Approximately 12,000 people in Australia today have a spinal cord injury and it is important to understand the initial signs and diagnosis of the injury to reduce the risk of this happening to you. Spinal Cord Injuries can occur in a number of ways, with the most common causes in Australia being by motor vehicle accident, general falls, sport related accident or falling into shallow water.

Immediately following the event that Spinal Cord Injury occurs, there is a need for diagnosis and acute hospital care where all medical treatment can be administered. However due to the pressures faced by hospital emergency department’s staff and difficulties that General Practitioners may have in diagnosing some acute spinal conditions, delays in diagnosis can result in significantly poor outcomes for patients.

What are the initial signs you should be aware of?

Certain acute and chronic medical conditions that develop in the spinal cord can result in permanent spinal injuries if not diagnosed and treated early. Namely, spinal abscesses, post-operative haematomas following spinal surgery and acute large lumbar disc protrusions.

An infection in the spinal cord can occur and cause a spinal abscess to develop in the spinal cord either at the cervical level or at the lumbar level. Lumbar haematomas are a recognised complication of spinal surgery.

Can these conditions be diagnosed and treated early to avoid permanent damage?

Unfortunately, these spinal conditions are not always detected early before permanent spinal injury results.

Spinal cord damage and Medical Negligence Claims

Non-diagnosis of significant changes in spinal pathology can lead to significant morbidity. Patients with spinal conditions can deteriorate for various reasons. Past litigation has shown that certain categories of patients will be vulnerable to spinal cord injury, if early diagnosis has not been made of their deteriorating condition, namely:

  1. Significant change or deterioration in disc pathology or disc herniation which impedes upon the spinal cord;
  2. Development of post-operative haematomas post spinal surgery;
  3. Spinal abscesses due to infection.

The first condition, if diagnosed early, can be alleviated via decompression surgery. The second condition is treated via drainage of the post-operative haematoma. A spinal abscess is treated with antibiotics and surgical drainage. Without early treatment, patients can suffer from significant compression of their spinal cord and injury such as incomplete paraplegia or quadriplegia can occur.

When can you make a claim?

If you have had any of the above named spinal conditions and the diagnosis has not been made within a reasonable time frame you could have a claim.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Compensation Law
Can you still claim workers compensation if you’ve been injured whilst working from home?

COVID-19 has created what has been described as the largest working-from-home experiment the world has ever seen. The current pandemic has caused a fundamental change in the way many of us work and the location we are now working from. One of the interesting issues which arises from this shift is the question of what compensation entitlements a person might have if they suffer an injury whilst working at home. Every state and territory’s rules differ, but workers’ compensation generally applies to workers who suffer physical or psychological injuries whilst doing their job. The location of work is not usually important, so as a starting point, injuries which occur whilst you’re...

Working from home
Compensation Law
Revisiting unfair decisions for abuse survivors

It’s been one year since the doors were opened for child abuse survivors to have a second chance at receiving the financial support and justice they deserve. The Children Legislation Amendment Act 2019 was announced on 14 June, allowing courts to set aside unjust judgements or settlements. The Catholic Church’s Melbourne Response and Towards Healing schemes imposed caps on compensation in years gone by, often giving abuse survivors no choice but to accept totally inadequate settlements considering the horrors experienced in their childhoods. Settlements often required the survivor to sign a deed of release and confidentiality clause preventing them from speaking out or taking further...

Child in hallway
Compensation Law
New review option for unreasonable WorkCover insurer decisions

Injured workers now have the option for WorkSafe to review questionable insurer decisions before taking their dispute to court if it has not been overturned at Conciliation. WorkSafe Victoria has launched the Workers Compensation Independent Review Service, to provide another avenue for injured workers to have their workers’ compensation claim decisions reviewed by WorkSafe. Reviews will be carried out by a new team at WorkSafe, separate from the insurers. They will instruct the insurer to change the decision if it isn’t found to be sustainable. The new service was created in response to the Victorian Ombudsman’s report released last year, following multiple investigations into the...

Man reviewing form

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.