It’s hard to imagine an injury more serious than a brain injury or a head injury that causes brain damage. The brain is our body’s control centre, controlling our movements and thoughts, our speech and our memories, our involuntary reflexes and even our personality.
Brain injuries are classed as traumatic and non-traumatic, depending on the cause. A traumatic injury to the brain, such as a blow to the head, is likely to cause irreparable damage and often results in serious and permanent physical and/or mental disability.
A non-traumatic brain injury is caused by, for instance, strokes, oxygen deprivation, a tumour, diseases like meningitis, or an incident such as near drowning. These types of brain injury are often due to increased pressure on the brain, rather than a blow to the head.
Brain injury can cause significant trauma and distress, both for the victim themselves and their wider family. This is why it is so important that those who have suffered a brain injury through no fault of their own can ask for help to claim the compensation they deserve.
We know money can never turn the clock back and repair the sometimes devastating effects of brain injuries, but it can go someway towards making rehabilitation and recovery a smoother and more comfortable process.
To speak with an expert legal adviser about making a brain injury claim, you can call free on 0800 234 6438 on submit the online claim form. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and put you in touch with an injury solicitor to handle your case.
The most common brain injury symptoms are:
Sometimes, the symptoms following brain injury are mild and short term. For example, if someone falls over and hits their head they may lose consciousness; they may vomit as a result of mild concussion but they recover relatively quickly.
However, in serious cases where the brain injury is acute, the physical symptoms are serious and potentially lifelong. Permanent brain damage is a very real risk in the most severe cases.
Anyone who has suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault is able to claim compensation. So if you (or a loved one) has suffered a brain injury through no fault of your own, it is really important to start a claim as early as possible because of the potentially significant impact on your life.
Most accidents happen because of negligence or a breach of someone’s duty of care towards the victim. If the brain injury is the direct result of negligence or breach of duty, we can help you on the road to claiming the compensation you deserve. In a negligence claim, your solicitor will have to demonstrate that the brain injury was a direct result of negligence or breach of duty.
Whether you’re a worker or employee or a member of the public, you can make a claim. The nature of many brain injuries is that the injured person is unable to make decisions for themselves, sometimes for a lengthy period of time.
Fortunately, you can make a claim on behalf of someone else if you are a close relative. A parent, for example, can bring a claim on behalf of their child – including adult children who have been injured but are unable to deal with matters independently.
If there are no close relatives able to bring a claim on behalf of the injured person, the court can appoint someone else to enable the claim to proceed.
Speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438 to get more information about claiming for a brain injury. They will be able to provide a no obligation service, helping you decide if you want to make a claim.
Thankfully most personal injury solicitors in the UK work on a no win no fee basis. This means you should be able to make a brain injury claim using a no win no fee agreement.
With a no win no fee agreement, there are no costly upfront legal fees to pay – if you win your claim, your solicitor takes their ‘success fee’ from the compensation you are awarded (up to a maximum of 25%), and if you lose your fees are covered by ATE insurance.
A traumatic brain injury is caused by something external, whether that’s a blow to the head or a flying object hitting the head; a jolt or something piercing the skull. These types of accidents can happen in all types of settings in every day life and in the workplace. For example:
Brain injuries can be mild (a mild brain injury is often referred to as ‘concussion’) but in many cases they are severe, causing lifelong mental or physical disability. It is not uncommon to be unsure whether you can sue for brain damage. Reassuringly, if the brain injury was someone else’s fault, the law says you can make a claim – even in the most mild cases. Importantly, injury compensation reflects the seriousness of the particular injury that has been caused, as well as its effects on your life and finances.
Someone who has suffered brain damage following an accident may be left unable to work for a lengthy period or time – if at all. Yet they may also need to find the funds to pay for adaptations at home, an ‘accessible’ vehicle, the costs of ongoing treatment and physiotherapy and, potentially the cost of care. There may also be further costs.
Fortunately, the law allows a brain injury compensation claim to include the reasonable costs of all these items, even those that you expect to have to pay for in future. Your solicitor will discuss these important issues with you before a formal claim is made.
Given the seriousness of brain injuries, the injured person’s life may never the same again. They may be unable to work or to resume the hobbies they’ve enjoyed; they may struggle with family life; and may be unable to enjoy any meaningful social life.
Fortunately, injury compensation is structured to reflect the seriousness of a particular injury, including the long term effects on the individual. How much a head or brain injury claim is worth in the UK therefore depends on many factors, include the seriousness of the injury and the prognosis for recovery.
Compensation for the actual injuries and their physical impact is known as ‘general damages’ and there are set amounts for brain injuries depending on severity. However, no brain or head injury is the same – some injuries, for example, cause lasting brain damage while other injuries result in no permanent symptoms. That said, there are formal guidelines that give a range of what compensation is appropriate. Compensation amounts for brain injury claims do, therefore, vary greatly to reflect the actual injury and its effects. For example:
|Injury Type||Description||Compensation Amount|
|Very Severe Brain Damage||Serious brain injury which limits the victim’s ability to acknowledge their surrounding environment. Very little or no language function, and the need for full-time care.||£264,650 – £379,100|
|Moderately Severe Brain Damage||Injuries which leave the victim severely disabled and substantially dependent on others. There will be a need for constant care and other medical requirements. Disabilities may be physical or cognitive.||£205,580 – £264,650|
|Moderate Brain Damage (I)||Applies if the injured party’s dependence on others is reduced compared to the brackets above. Includes cases in which there is moderate to severe damage to intellect, changes in personality, problems with sight, speech and other senses, and serious risk of epilepsy.||£140,870 – £205,580|
|Moderate Brain Damage (II)||Includes cases in which there is moderate damage to intellect, and the possibility of returning to employment is either low or non-existent. Possible risk of suffering from epilepsy.||£85,150 – £140,870|
|Moderate Brain Damage (III)||Includes cases in which concentration and memory are badly affected, and there is a reduced risk of epilepsy. Employment opportunities may be lower than before the injury, but there is little dependence on other people for help with day-to-day tasks.||£40,410 – £85,150|
|Less Severe Brain Damage||Cases where a good recovery is made and the injured party can return to social and work environments. There may be some on-going issues, such as mood swings or concentration and memory problems. At the upper end of the bracket there will be a small risk of epilepsy.||£14,380 – £40,410|
|Minor Brain or Head Injury||Covers minor injuries in which permanent brain damage is minimal, or non-existent. The final compensation payout will depend on time of recovery, severity of initial injury, on-going symptoms and the presence of headaches.||£2,070 – £11,980|
To put this into a helpful context, a 48-year-old man suffered a traumatic brain injury after he banged his head against a low doorframe in a dimly-lit cellar in March 2015 while at work. He suffered physical symptoms including sleepiness and was admitted to hospital a few days later.
He returned to work for the travel company but only lasted a matter of hours before having to leave. Since then, he has been unable to work or function properly and has ongoing cognitive and other physical and neurological symptoms.
The employer admitted liability for the accident. The judge awarded him £40,000 in general damages; £136,213 in past loss of earnings and £298,379 for future loss of earnings (compensation for financial losses are known as ‘special damages’). He was also awarded damages for future treatment, care and assistance and other costs.
In some cases, it is possible to secure interim compensation to help you before your claim finally settles. If you need access to funds early on because of the extent of the brain injuries, make sure you talk to your solicitor as soon as possible. However, it’s worth remembering that interim payments can only be made if the other side has admitted their were at fault for your injury. If they do admit responsibility for the brain injury, an initial compensation payment can be made by the insurer to enable certain costs to be met. This will then be deducted from the final settlement once agreed.
Your solicitor will be able to discuss your immediate and short term needs with you and negotiate an interim payment, where responsibility has been accepted.
Brain injury claims can be complex because they are usually serious and often cause permanent physical and mental disabilities. Even if the other side admits liability, it can take a long time to gather all the information required to enable your solicitor to begin to make informed negotiations to reach a fair settlement.
There may, for instance, be a number of different medical reports required to ensure your solicitor has a full picture of the impact of the injuries on you and what’s required in future for your recovery and rehabilitation.
You need to know that your solicitor will not advise settling your claim until it is known what the long term impact of your injuries is likely to be. For these reasons, it could take a long time to conclude a brain injury claim so it’s important to bring it early.
Thankfully, despite all this, most claims settle before court action becomes necessary. However, if court was to become a possibility, your solicitor will talk you through the process involved.
However you sustained the brain injury, if it was someone else’s fault you can make a claim. To start your brain injury claim, you should speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438, or request a callback by submitting your name and number at the bottom of this page. It may be helpful when deciding to make a compensation claim to make sure you choose an injury solicitor who has proven expertise in brain injury compensation.
It is worth checking for injury lawyers who are members of both Headway and the Brain Injury Group:
Headway is a leading British charity providing help and assistance to brain injury victims and their families, including rehabilitation programmes, care workers, community work and social reintegration. Lawyers have to adhere to a strict code of conduct to qualify for Headway’s recommendation. You should always make sure that your solicitor has been awarded this accreditation.
The Brain Injury Group brings together different organisations and solicitors from around the UK that offer help and support to anyone who has suffered a brain injury. All solicitors who are members of the scheme have vast experience of dealing with these types of serious injuries and getting the compensation that the injured person deserves.
When you first speak with your solicitor, have as much information to hand as possible. This will make it easier for you to answer their initial questions and obtain the best possible early advice.
For that reason, gather as much information as you can about what happened and the impact on you and your life. For instance, if the brain injury was caused in a workplace crush accident, check with the employer that the incident was reported to the Health & Safety Executive and request any report that has been issued.
Brain injuries are often extremely serious, which raises particular challenges. One of the issues that your solicitor will need to consider is what the full extent of your injuries are or will be. For example:
To enable such questions to be answered, expert medical evidence from specialist doctors will become necessary. At the right time, your solicitor will arrange this for you so you won’t need to worry.
The specialists will look into the full background to your injury, examine your medical history since the accident, examine you carefully and discuss your ongoing physical limitations and symptoms.
The expert/s will then write a detailed report setting out his or her view on your brain injury and the longer term prognosis. Your lawyers will rely on this to negotiate a fair settlement for ‘general damages’ to compensate you for your injury, pain and suffering.
There are general rules for the time in which any injury claim should be brought. The law states that you have three years from the date of the accident to start legal proceedings for compensation. After three years, you may be ‘time barred’ from making a claim, which could be disastrous in the event of a brain injury.
However, this 3-year period does not apply if the victim does not have mental capacity to bring a claim, for example, if they are in a coma or brain damage has reduced their mental ability.
Instead, the 3-year period starts to run only when the individual has regained their capacity. This can be a complex issue in some brain injury cases, so if in doubt always talk to your specialist solicitor.
If you want to make a claim on behalf of a child, you have until they reach the age of 18 years to start a claim (after which they have 3 years to make their own claim). However, it is always sensible to start the ball rolling as soon as you can while events are fresh in your mind.
If you need help to make a claim, get in touch as soon as you can and speak with a legal adviser on 0800 234 6438, or arrange a call back using the claim form on this page.
Nicola is a dual qualified journalist and non-practising solicitor. She is a legal journalist, editor and author with more than 20 years' experience writing about the law.
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