Head injuries can be caused by trauma or acquired in other ways.
Head Trauma – usually follows an accident.
Acquired Head Injury – often follows a cause which can be natural or can be caused by negligence such as medical negligence if there was a delay in diagnosing or treating the original condition. Acquired head injury covers the following sort of head injuries:
- brain tumour
- brain haemorrhage
- an injury caused by deprivation of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia)
Can I make an accident compensation claim?
If your head trauma was caused by the actions of another person and this person’s actions caused your injury then you will be able to claim compensation.
The accident can be a road accident, an accident at work, a sports injury etc.
Mr H’s Story
Mr H was a lorry driver who had an accident at work. He was eligible for compensation. Read More.
How do I prove my injuries are related to my accident?
With head trauma this is often quite straightforward. There is often a direct link between the accident and the injury.
To prove that there is a link between the injury and the accident we instruct an independent neurosurgeon to examine you and prepare a medical report. Our Solicitors have a panel of Neurosurgeons and Neurologists who specialise in providing reports for people who have suffered brain injuries and who help our clients on a regular basis.
What sort of compensation can I expect?
Accident compensation is split into three categories:
- damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity (your physical injury)
- damages for out of pocket expenses
- damages for future expenses.
Damages for Pain, Suffering and Loss of Amenity
Head injuries can be extremely serious and can have life-long repercussions. You may find that you are not able to do tasks that you were able to do before. Some common after effects of head trauma are:
- physical symptoms such as poor motor control, poor bowel and bladder function, tiredness, lack of co-ordination and headaches
- emotional and behavioural problems such as anxiety, depression, problems controlling anger, impulsivity and lack of insight
- cognitive problems such as difficulty with memory, speech, personal organisation and problems processing information.
All of these symptoms are linked to brain injury and are symptoms for which you can receive compensation.
Our expert panel of doctors can help us put a picture together so that we are aware of the full extent of your injury.
Damages for out of pocket expenses
You can recover any expenses caused only by the accident. You family and friends can recover some of their expenses too. Examples are:
- lost earnings for yourself
- lost earnings for your partner or other family members
- travel by your family to visit you in hospital
- cost of buying equipment e.g. a wheelchair or a special computer programme to help develop your memory skills
- cost of prescriptions and medication
- cost of any private medial treatment
- cost of your family having to buy food and drinks at hospital
- cost of childcare for your children
- cost of adapting your home so that you can return home, or the cost of you buying a differed home.
It is very important indeed that you keep any receipts or correspondence. It is helpful if your or a member of your family for a friend can keep a diary for you, listing appointments and expenses.
It is best to keep any paperwork you think may be relevant in the future.
When you have had a severe head injury this is probably the most important are of your claim. Your solicitor will need to be very careful to ensure that your compensation will meet all of your needs in the future.
Yours solicitor will obtain expert help from accommodation experts, nursing experts and rehabilitation experts to help assess your future needs.
The payment for future expenses will ensure that you receive all of the equipment you need in the future, for example, equipment in your home.
Your solicitor will not be able to value this part of your claim until the independent doctors can tell him what your likely prognosis is and when your condition will be stable. It may take a few years to reach this point but it is very important that the job is not rushed.
If the insurance company acting for the other party admits responsibility for your accident then an interim payment may be obtained for you. We routinely try to obtain interim payments as soon as possible to recompense for your out of pocket expenses and so that equipment can be bought to make you as independent as possible when you leave hospital.
With head injuries it is sometimes possible to claim provisional damages. If you have a medical condition which may get worse in the future an award of provisional damages will enable you to go back and get further damages in the future:
Master G's Story
Master G was on his way to school and was crossing the road on a zebra crossing when he was knocked over... Read More.
Is there a time limit for making a claim?
A claim must be made within 3 years of the date of the accident. If a person is incapable of managing their own affairs and is registered with the Court of Protection then the time is extended to 3 years from the date when they are capable of managing their own affairs.
If a child has had an injury then he/she will have until the age of 21 to make a claim for compensation
If the Claimant is a child or an adult whose affairs are registered with the Court of Protection then they will need an adult of full capacity, often a family member, to make a claim on their behalf. In these cases the Court will approve any final settlement and the money will be invested in the Court Funds Office until the child reaches 18 or the adult is capable of managing their own affairs.
I have been the victim of a criminal assault – can I claim compensation?
It is possible to make a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if you have received an injury as a result of a criminal act, usually an assault. The CICA is a Government run compensation Scheme. The time for making a claim is 2 years.
Making a medical negligence claim
If your brain injury was caused by the negligence of a medical practitioner who has been looking after you then you may have a claim for medical negligence. Medical negligence claims are harder to bring than straight forward accident claims as a head injury often starts off as one of the injuries in the “acquired head injury” list but is then made worse by the clinical negligence.
The following case is an example of medical negligence.
Mr W's Story
Mr W was a 20 year old man who presented to his GP with very severe headache, balance problems and confusion. Read more.
How can I fund my compensation claim?
There are a number of ways that our solicitors can help clients fund their compensation claim:
- Legal Expenses Insurance. Nowadays many people have legal expenses insurance attached to their buildings, contents or car insurance. If the insurance policy was in force when you had your accident and you submit a claim in time, the policy will often cover your solicitor's fees.
- “No win no fee agreements” – our solicitors offer “no win no fee” arrangements to brain injury clients and can also arrange insurance to cover costs if your claim fails.
- Public Funding (previously legal aid). If you have a clinical negligence claim and are in receipt of benefits or on a low income, you may be able to claim Public Funding.
- Private clients. Some clients like to pay as they go along. These clients pay an hourly rate for work done on their case and receive interim bills every 6 months.
I would like some advice about making an accident claim – what do I do next?
Our solicitors see clients at home and in hospital as well as the office, and we act for clients throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire and throughout the UK.
If you think you have a medical negligence or an accident compensation claim, please contact us for a FREE initial interview. Contact Denise Broomfield or her secretary on Salisbury (01722) 424426 or e-mail for legal advice from expert accident compensation solicitors in our Salisbury or Andover offices.
Denise Broomfield is a solicitor and a member of The Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel, the AvMA Referral Panel, a Senior Litigator with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and an Approved Solicitor with the Spinal Injuries Association.