Brain injuries can be caused by a wide variety of events. Whatever the cause, there is one thing in common with all series brain injuries, the fact that in an instant lives are completely changed and the effect could last for the rest of the sufferers life.
The first step for the victim is to learn to deal with the injury and the physical and psychological effects.
The second step is to begin to come to terms with the different emotional, care, and monetary demands caused as a result of the brain injury.
It is at the second step that solicitor can provide real assistance when submitting a personal injury claim for financial compensation.
This article will list some important considerations in preparation for taking steps for legal recourse.
1. Proving your claim
There is no automatic right to compensation in England. You will need to prove that someone else was to blame for your accident and the injuries caused as a result. Your solicitor is best placed to help you with this.
Collecting and keeping any evidence is likely to be the last thing that you are thinking of at this difficult time. However, this evidence could make the difference in any potential claim.
Evidence does not just go towards determining who is to blame. By keeping a pain diary or asking family members and friends to detail all care and assistance they provide in a care diary can both be used as evidence when the figure of compensation is being negotiated.
2. How is compensation assessed?
Your solicitor will need to obtain medical reports on your injuries. The effects of a brain injury can be wide ranging and so a number of medical experts may be required. This evidence forms the basis of your claim for compensation for pain and suffering and loss of amenity (known as general damages).
On top of your compensation for your injury, reasonable financial losses that you have suffered as a direct result can be recoverable.
With brain injury cases, the future losses are likely to be great. If you were carrying out DIY, gardening, or car maintenance this can all be claimed. You may need long term care or be incapable of returning to work in future and this should all be included as part of the claim.
Please see our frequently asked questions about compensation in brain injury claims.
3. Will I be entitled to claim welfare benefits?
The welfare benefits system is complex but can provide support if you are prevented from working or if you suffer problems with care and mobility.
An application should be made as soon as possible.
The claim for benefits is made separately to your claim for compensation.
If you are on benefits then your solicitor will need to discuss this with you before compensation can be paid. A Personal Injury Trust may be required to ensure that you do not lose your entitlement to benefits.
4. Will I be able to obtain rehabilitation and support?
The provision of rehabilitation services varies across the country.
Treatment is an important part of recovery and should be sought as early as possible.
Physiotherapists, psychologists, speech and language therapists and other specialists may be required.
You may need long term or lifelong support.
If liability is admitted an interim payment can be obtained to support funding of this treatment.
Brain injury compensation claims are complicated and can take a long time to resolve.
If care or housing adaptations are required then an interim payment can be sought and the earlier the claim is started the sooner this can be done.
There is a limitation period of 3 years from the date of accident, however, there are exceptions to this and it is recommended that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible.