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Cauda Equina Syndrome update

By Lisa Fricker, Head of Solicitor Services & Quality Assurance

(Estimated reading time: 1 minute 9 seconds)

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare and severe type of spinal stenosis where all of the nerves in the lower back become severely compressed. Typically, but not exclusively, it results from a prolapsed disc bulge and the condition requires urgent hospital admission and timely surgery (usually decompression of the disc). The longer it goes untreated, the greater the chance it will result in permanent paralysis and incontinence.

The most common causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome are –

  • Traumatic injury
  • Disc herniation
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spinal tumours
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Infectious conditions
  • Clinical negligence

Recently, NHS Resolution carried out a study and found that from January 2008 to December 2018, NHS Resolution received 827 claims for incidents of cauda equina syndrome. Out of these 827 claims, 340 were settled with damages, 212 were without merit and a further 275 remain open. This has cost the NHS £186,134,049 so far which includes payments for claimant legal costs, NHS legal costs and damages.

Cauda equina syndrome are highly challenging cases to pursue on both breach and causation, and careful analysis is required by the medical practitioner, solicitor and medical expert when assessing the merits of a case. Careful attention is also required in relation to the timelines involved and litigators should test, test, test their expert evidence.

The above information was edited from the slides provided at an MBL seminar entitled ‘Cauda Equina Syndrome – Red Flags, Expert Evidence & Complexities’ hosted by Sandra De Souza from Irwin Mitchell.

Lisa Fricker

Head of Solicitor Services & Quality Assurance
Read articles by Lisa Fricker

Lisa Fricker

Lisa has many years’ experience in the Legal Insurance industry, having worked for both DAS Legal Expenses and ARAG Legal Services. She has extensive knowledge of both the BTE and ATE markets, and a great insight into the inner workings of a legal firm due to her vast experience as an auditor. Lisa is used to working closely with solicitors to develop and maintain good working relationships, leading to positive partnerships for all parties. 

Lisa joined Temple in 2017 as the Solicitor Services Manager to manage the internal and external review process, as well as overseeing our BTE panel arrangements. 

In 2022, Lisa was promoted to Head of Solicitor Services & Quality Assurance to further cement her senior position within the company and to continue to drive our quality control procedures throughout the business forwards as the company grows. She further acquired the responsibility of managing our Underwriting Support Team to help drive our continued development plan for aspiring Underwriters. 

Lisa is focused on ensuring that the quality of service provided by Temple remains at the highest standard. 

As well as her main responsibilities, Lisa oversees our charitable endeavours and is the company Mental Health First Aider, taking an active role in ensuring the Health & Wellbeing of our staff. 


Read articles by Lisa Fricker