Last Updated on 15.2.23 by Gary Boyd
Gorvins Partner – Gary Boyd, was a keynote speaker at the first Spinal Injury Association (SIA) festival on the 10th of February 2022. Gary heads up Gorvins’ military and sports injury departments, bringing his many years of expertise to deliver the compensation his clients deserve. Gary also specialises in spinal cord injury claims.
WHAT THE SIA DO
The SIA work with thousands of victims of spinal cord injuries across the UK, providing support and quickly connecting them with a vast support network of people, organisations and services.
The SIA festival was tailored to educating and empowering more junior lawyers, providing seminars and talks from SIA staff and industry professionals.
Gary was invited to talk about life after spinal cord injury, and the support legal professionals and others can provide to their clients with spinal cord injuries (SCI). His talk focussed on the ways spinal injuries can change the life of the injured party and of their family/loved ones, the activities and support that can help them improve wellbeing, and the importance of the development of a ‘plan for life’ post-SCI.
In this blog, we’ve collated some of the information Gary covered in his talk.
THE CHALLENGES FACING PEOPLE WITH SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Spinal cord injuries can affect every aspect of a person’s life and can be both physically and mentally destructive. While these injuries are life-changing it’s important not to see them as life-ending.
By addressing some of the biggest changes that come with a spinal cord injury, we as legal representatives can help our clients secure the means to support new ways of approaching work, family and home life, and leisure.
When it comes to helping our clients overcome these challenges, their wishes are paramount.
Less than 20% of those with SPIs return to work, with the primary reason’s being:
• Transport issues
• Access issues
This can prove to be extremely challenging given that work can provide a sense of purpose for many. Whether a client wants to return to work in some form or another should form part of the plan for life we as legal representatives help our clients devise.
FAMILY AND HOME LIFE
Spinal cord injuries can affect every part of home and family life.
• It can affect the dynamics of the family unit, with some family members forced to become carers
• The client’s sex life and sexual function can be affected, causing distress and decreased wellbeing
• The well-being of family members can also be affected, meaning that they’ll require support
• Access to the family home can be affected, requiring costly work to make accessible.
All of these factors need to be considered and the clients wishes concerning each should be noted from the earliest opportunity. Those wishes will then form the backbone of the client’s plan for life.
Spinal cord injuries can make leisure activities difficult for all kinds of reasons, including
• Disability and general health
• Inequality and attitudes to wider participation
• Transport issues
• Access issues
• Financial issues
However, those with SCIs can benefit greatly from leisure/sport. Not only can leisure time provide physical benefits and help prevent chronic diseases, but it is long established that it can improve self-concept and mental health scores.
An interesting study from Blauwet et al found that participation in organised sport was associated with a significantly higher rate of employment amongst those with SCIs.
Particularly where there is eagerness from the client to engage in leisure activities, it should be considered what support needs to be in place for them to achieve that. Again, this is where the importance of a plan for life comes in.
HOW LEGAL PROFESSIONALS CAN HELP?
The support we can provide as legal and associated professionals can be vitally important to those with SCIs. Through the legal team securing early funding, support and assistance from case managers, support from rehabilitation providers and appropriate accommodation and aids/equipment, we can help the injured party enjoy the quality of life they deserve.
The extent of our support mustn’t stop at achieving maximal compensation. Our overarching role is to help clients devise and develop their ‘plan for life’, giving them access to the tools they need for a life that’s comfortable and fulfilling.
That means understanding their priorities, arranging the appropriate evidence to assist with claims for rehabilitation and interim payments, and connecting them with the network of professionals they need to have a chance of a better life.
Spinal injuries are life-changing. They shouldn’t be life-ending.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury and are looking for help getting the support and compensation you deserve, call Gary Boyd for a no-obligation consultation.
Telephone: 0161 930 5117
Partner & Head of Military & Serious Sports Injury Claims, Military Claims