Following a serious road accident I severely injured my back but before I could even think about suing, I was offered compensation for a severed spinal cord by the insurance company representing the guy who caused the accident. It seems like a pretty low amount for my injury, but should I accept it?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

The best course of action you could take would be to immediately refer this offer of compensation for a severed spinal cord to an experienced solicitor. A solicitor would be able to recommend whether the amount offered is an accurate reflection of the severity of your injury and the affect it has had on your life. It must be noted that the amount offered to accident victims by the negligent party’s insurers is more often than not an insufficient amount to cover medical expenses and support the victim’s family.

Such offers are given by insurance companies in an attempt to cut their costs and often little regard is given to the negative impact the accident and injury has had on the victim’s quality of life. These offers are frequently calculated by referring to an online calculator or by referencing another similar accidents but it should be made known that this method of calculating a compensation settlement is flawed as no two cases are identical, even when the injuries sustained are the same.

Your compensation for severed spinal cord claim will certainly encompass the pain and suffering attributed to your injury. However, it is also possible to be compensated for any emotional trauma you have experienced, which can only be verified through a psychiatric evaluation. An aspect that the negligent party’s insurers will probably not include in their offer would be for your loss of amenity, i.e. the way your injury has affected your quality of life. For example, if you cannot perform everyday tasks or if you can no longer participate in social or leisure activities that you once enjoyed.

In addition to the aforementioned elements included in your compensation for severed spinal cord claim, you may be entitled to recover any financial expenses that you have incurred that are directly attributable to the accident and your injury, such as the restructuring of your home to allow for wheelchair access, medical costs or public transport fares if you can no longer drive.

With injuries such as yours, insurance companies would expect to have to pay a substantial amount of compensation for severed spinal cord. The main reason behind their unsolicited offer would be to pay less than what a jury would recommend, if the case went to court. Your solicitor would be able to assess your claim by factoring in the severity of your injury, your age, your state of health prior to the injury, and the additional elements outlined above, and would be able to determine whether or not the offer made by the insurance company is acceptable or if you would be better served pursuing legal action.