Bringing a cauda equina syndrome compensation claim in Ireland
You are very likely to have good grounds for bringing a compensation claim if you can prove the syndrome was caused by a third party or was not diagnosed or treated properly by medical staff. The amount of compensation you are likely to win will depend on how much pain, suffering, and loss of ability to perform normal activities you have experienced. The opinion of expert medical witnesses will also be central to your case.
Symptoms of CES that will likely be factored into your compensation award include the following:
- Severe on-going pain
- Socially unacceptable incontinence problems
- Motor weakness and sensory loss
- Paralysis or weakness of more than one nerve root that extends into the legs
- Sexual dysfunction
However, proving cauda equina syndrome is the fault of a third party or due to medical negligence can be extremely difficult. As such, it’s advisable to seek advice from a qualified injury lawyer with experience bringing cases similar to those involving CES. At McCarthy + Co, we are specialists in this area of the law and we can help you to build your case, appoint expert medical witnesses, and secure the level of compensation that you deserve for this extremely debilitating condition.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the questions often posed to our medical negligence team.
What is cauda equina syndrome?
Cauda equina syndrome is a serious condition that occurs when the bundle of nerves at the lower end of the spinal cord, known as the cauda equina, is compressed. This compression can lead to symptoms such as severe lower back pain, loss of bladder and bowel control, numbness in the groin area, and weakness or paralysis of the legs. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent permanent damage. It's typically treated with emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerves.
How is it possible for doctors to fail to diagnose this condition?
Failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome is often due to its symptoms resembling those of other conditions, such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis. The rarity and rapid progression of the syndrome can also lead to misinterpretation of its urgency. Early symptoms may be subtle or dismissed by patients until they become severe. Additionally, if thorough neurological examinations or timely MRI scans are not conducted when symptoms first appear, opportunities for early diagnosis can be missed.
How can this condition arise from traumatic injury?
Cauda equina syndrome can arise from traumatic injury when a sudden, forceful impact or accident, such as a fall, motor vehicle collision, or a penetrating injury, directly damages the spine. This can lead to fractures, dislocations, or swelling of the spinal tissues, which in turn can compress the cauda equina nerves located at the lower end of the spinal canal. The compression disrupts the normal function of these nerves, leading to the symptoms associated with the syndrome. Immediate medical intervention is crucial to alleviate the pressure and minimise the risk of permanent damage.
Under what circumstances can I bring a claim for compensation?
You can bring a claim for compensation if you've suffered harm due to someone else's negligence or failure to act, which includes medical negligence, accidents at work, road traffic accidents, or public place incidents. For medical conditions like cauda equina syndrome, if there's a failure in diagnosis or treatment that leads to worsened outcomes, you may have grounds for a claim. It's crucial to demonstrate that the harm was directly caused by the the medical practitioner's actions or inactions. Legal advice should be sought promptly, as there are time limits for making claims.
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About McCarthy + Co
With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with medical negligence claims, McCarthy + Co. has expertise in a wide variety of fields including traumatic injury and medical negligence cases. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice.
Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork, but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance and assistance on any form of personal injury.
Some links relating to this topic that you may find useful.
- Aans.org – Cauda Equina Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Treatments
- Spinal Injuries Ireland – Catch up Chat – those with Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Karger – Demographics of Cauda Equina Syndrome
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We are a multi-award winning firm, accredited by the Law Society of Ireland.
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Flor McCarthy wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.
Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.
John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.