Cervical Spondylosis (also known as Degenerative Osteoarthritis) is a potentially debilitating condition that the majority of us can expect to develop at some point in our lives.
The NHS’s online Health Encyclopaedia describes Cervical Spondylosis as “a condition that causes neck pain and stiffness. It tends to occur in the second half of life and is usually a natural consequence of aging, although it is possible for it to develop at a young age.
About half the population develop Cervical Spondylosis by the age of 50, with this figure rising to 70% by the age of 60”.
Cervical Spondylosis can produce a whole host of symptoms, including neck pain and stiffness, a loss of movement in the neck, a loss of balance, disturbed sleep, headaches and a host of other neurological conditions.
Although in the majority of cases, Cervical Spondylosis is an age related condition, it is accepted by the medical profession that a physical trauma can trigger the onset of symptoms from the underlying condition. This is most commonly found in road traffic accidents where people have been subjected to an acceleration/deceleration injury to the neck, commonly known as “whiplash”. The condition is usually diagnosed by a combination of both physical examination and x-ray.
Understandably, if Cervical Spondylosis is diagnosed, the most common question that a client will ask will be “how can I have had this before the accident – I didn’t have any symptoms?”. This is a perfectly good question, but not always an easy one for a Solictor to answer!
It is not uncommon to find that following an accident, even relatively young people can be diagnosed with the condition. The question that must then be asked is when, in the absence of the accident, would this person have started to have their current level of symptoms. This is important because the law only requires another person to compensate you for the injuries that they have caused to you. Accordingly, if the medical evidence suggests that the claimant would have developed the condition within, say, five years in any event, then the claimant would usually only expect to receive compensation for a five year injury, despite the fact that the symptoms will continue beyond that time.
Unfortunately, putting a figure on the number of years for the accelerated onset of the symptoms can be somewhat of a lottery. A claimant examined by three different specialists may receive three different opinions on the period of acceleration.
It is therefore important that a medical expert is chosen with care. Further, it is vitally important that a Solicitor has some knowledge of the condition and has discussed the relevant parts of the client’s medical history with the client. Once armed with this information, if needs be, the Solicitor should be in a position to put carefully drafted questions to the medical expert.
Follow these links for a case study about Cervical Spondylosis (also known as Degenerative Osteoarthritis)