When you have suffered from a brain injury not only does it have a knock on effect on your whole life but if you are unable to return to work it can have a serious impact on your finances causing added stress at an already emotional time. For this reason many victims ask whether they can raise a claim for compensation and how long this process will take?
If your injury was caused by accident that wasn’t your fault then you are legally entitled to raise a claim for compensation. In cases where you are partly to blame for your accident but there was another person involved you may still be able to claim although your settlement amount may be smaller.
If you are wanting to start a claim for compensation they the first step would be to find a personal injury solicitor that specialises in brain injuries. Most of these will offer a free consultation where they will be able to tell you if your claim is worth pursuing.
How does raising a claim for compensation work?
All claims for compensation must be started within three years from the date of your accident although many people choose to do this as soon as possible whilst the details are still fresh in their memory. Occasionally it may be advised to wait if your long term prognosis is still unsure.
NOTE: If the victim is under eighteen years old they have until their twenty-first birthday to start a claim. This rule also does not apply to those who lack mental capacity.
Once you have decided to proceed with your claim your legal team will start to build your case by gathering all of the evidence.
This will include –
- A statement from yourself.
- Statements for any witnesses that we present.
- Photographs of the accident.
- Any CCTV recordings.
- A copy of your medical records.
- If the accident happened in your workplace they may visit with The Health & Safety Executive.
When the accident takes place in a workplace the Health and Safety Executive may wish to separately prosecute your employer. In these circumstances their case would need to be settled first before yours can proceed.
Once all of the evidence has been collected your solicitor will issue a formal Letter of Claim to the opposing party. This will provide the details of why you are choosing to claim for compensation and what the desired outcome is.
Often claims for compensation can be settled out of court however there are times when either the opposing party does not accept responsibility for the accident or they do not agree with the proposed settlement amount. In this scenario your Solicitor would submit all of the evidence to the court. You will then be given a trial date. Cases can still be settled whilst you are waiting for the court date.
How long will my claim take?
There is no set time limit for a compensation claim. Cases can take anywhere from three months to three years to reach a settlement and will depend on several factors.
- The severity of your injury
- How cooperative each party is
- Whether the claim can be settled out of court.
Cases where the claim has to go to a court trial will take the longest to reach a conclusion. Your Solicitor will try to settle out of court as this is the quickest route.
Whilst your case is ongoing your Solicitor may be able to arrange interim payments to help you financially whilst you wait for your settlement. These payments will be deducted from the final settlement amount.
How much compensation will I receive?
This is another question that there is no one answer for. Compensation amounts vary depending on the severity of your injury and your long term prognosis. The Judicial College has guidelines for different injuries and their severity.
- Minor brain damage – £10,000 – £28,250
- Moderate brain damage – £28,250 – £144,000
- Severe brain damage – £144,000 upwards.
As you can see there is a very broad range of amounts. Compensation is split into two parts and you will be awarded an amount of each category. These will then be combined to give you a final settlement figure.
General Damages – This is to compensate you for your pain and suffering. This can be both physical pain and also psychological pain.
Special Damages – This is to help put you back in the financial position you would have been had the accident not have happened. It will also take into account
- Any medical treatment you need
- Occupational therapy
- Adaptations you need made to you home and vehicle
- Any at home help you require.
If you are wanting to start a claim for compensation they the first step would be to find a personal injury solicitor that specialises in brain injuries. Most of these will offer a free consultation where they will be able to tell you if your claim is worth pursuing. They may also work on a no win no fee basis ensuring that even if you are unable to work due to your injury, you can still proceed without the worry of being able to afford the legal fees.