Can I claim injury compensation for a brain injury?

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A brain injury is a life altering event. It has a ripple effect that goes through the victim, their loved ones and their friends. It is a completely normal reaction to question how you are going to financially cope, not just with the loss of earnings but also with medical rehabilitation, the cost of adapting your home and any extra care that you need. After the initial shock has worn off you may ask whether you can claim compensation for your injury. 

Claiming for compensation can be a lengthy and mentally challenging process but in cases where your health and financial state have been impacted it is wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

When the injury is through no fault of your own, you are legally entitled to claim for compensation.  Let’s delve into how you can do this. 

Raising a claim

Your first port of call would be to find a Solicitor that specialises in brain injury compensation. Many firms will offer to work on a no win no fee basis.

It is important to find a Solicitor that you can trust and work with who understands the complex nature of your injury. A good Solicitor should always let you know if they don’t believe you have a solid case.

It is vital to instruct a legal team as soon as possible. Cases need to be brought to the court within three years from the date of the incident. In cases where the victim is under eighteen years old the time limit is extended until their 21st birthday. This time limit also does not apply to a person who is unable to manage their own affairs under the Mental Capacity Act 2005

Gathering evidence

To begin with your Solicitor will need to obtain the following – 

  • Signed statements from any witnesses. 
  • Photos or videos of the incident. 
  • Police reports and copies of any interviews they conducted. 
  • If the incident happened in your workplace they may wish to visit the scene. The Health & Safety Executive should also be involved in accidents involving the workplace. Copies of their reports can be obtained by making an application to the Court. 

Letter of claim

Your Solicitor will then make a letter of claim to the defendants insurers. 

If the insurers come back stating that the defendant does not accept liability your solicitor will begin issuing court proceedings. 

However in cases where liability is accepted you will then need medical experts to give reports of your injuries, how they affect your day to day life and your future prognosis. You will need to explain in as much detail as you can about how the injury has affected your health. A family member or carer can also provide statements, this is especially important when you have suffered a severe brain injury and require round the clock care. 

Your financial losses to date and also projections for your future financial losses will be taken into consideration. You may be out of work for months, years or sometimes unable to return to work at all. 

Why compensation exists

Compensation is there to help you with financial loses as well as – 

  1. The cost of rehabilitation
  2. On going care costs
  3. Adaptations that need to be made to your home or vehicle.
  4. Any medical equipment you require for your care. 

Your Solicitor may apply for interim payments whilst the case is ongoing. 

Settlement

After all of the evidence has been collected and submitted the insurers will make a proposal for settlement. Your Solicitor will be able to advise you as to whether their offer is a fair one that you should accept. Many cases today are settled out of court. 

In cases where you do not accept their offer or the defendant does not accept liability your Solicitor will need to file court proceedings. They will submit a “Particulars of Claim” which sets out the facts about your case, a summary of your injuries and your financial losses. 

Court documents are then served to the defendant or their Solicitor. You will also need to provide a “Statement of Truth” to verify the accuracy of the evidence. 

If liability is still being disputed the Judge will routinely order a split trial. The issue of liability will be settled first in the preliminary trial. 

Once liability has been settled the legal representatives from both sides will need to hold a “Joint Settlement Meeting”, this is normally held with both the victim and the defendant present and is another chance to try and settle the case before the last resort of a final hearing in a court trial. 

Claiming for compensation can be a lengthy and mentally challenging process but in cases where your health and financial state have been impacted it is wise to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Although no amount of money can bring back your health, easing the financial burdens can go a long way to improving your quality of life. 

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