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Every year, one million people attend hospital after sustaining a head injury. Many of these people are entitled to compensation for the injuries suffered.
Compensation for those who have an acquired brain injury will consist of general damages and special damages. General damages is the award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Awards in head injury cases typically range from £2,000 to £7,000 for a minor head injury with no long last effects to £155,000 to £250,000 in the most severe cases. More specific consideration to the precise amount awarded is decided by considering similar cases reported at court. The amount awarded compensates the injured person for the effect the injury has and will have on a person’s quality of life.
Special damages consist of the financial losses and expenses which have been incurred or will be incurred as a consequence of the accident. Such items generally include, travelling expenses in attending medical appointments and the cost of prescription medication. The more substantial special damages claims include:
An injured person can claim for care and assistance which can either be gratuitous care or commercial care or a combination of both. Gratuitous care is free care provided by friends and family. If there is an ongoing need for help due injury, an amount is generally awarded based on the amount of hours help needed each week multiplied by an hourly rate. Commercial care is the cost of employing a professional carer/nurse to provide the care. The commercial cost of care is much higher than gratuitous care. A claim for care and assistance could include a claim for help with looking after oneself (washing and dressing) to domestic tasks including cleaning and meal preparation.
If a injured person has been off work and has lost money as a result of an accident, it may be possible to claim those loses as part of any claim. Such an award may be calculated with reference to average earnings less any money received. In cases where a person doe not return to work, a claim may be made for future loss of earnings. A solicitor should take into account the possibility of promotions throughout a career and any pay increase. An inability to earn may also have an impact on pension contributions. If so, a claim may be pursued for loss of pension.
A person who has long term problems, for example movement or co-ordination problems may require specialist equipment. Such equipment may include:
A solicitor should work closely with an Occupational Therapist to decide what equipment is needed and claim the cost of providing the equipment and replacing it periodically as part of any claim.
A solicitor will need to assess whether the injured person will be able to return to their home following injury. The property might need to be adapted to make it suitable by increasing the width of doorways to allow access for a wheelchair, building ramps or generally extending to allow for a wet room to improve washing facilities. If the property cannot be adapted to make it suitable, consideration will need to be given to claiming the cost of providing alternative accommodation which best meets the injured person’s requirements, for example a bungalow.
Rehabilitation or improving ones quality of life through treatment should ultimately be the main focus of the team representing an injured person. Any claim should make provision for the ongoing private cost of treatment from professionals. Treatment in brain injury cases generally includes physiotherapy, speech therapy, and/or occupational therapy.
The precise amount awarded for special damages is calculated by working out the annual loss or cost (called the multiplicand) multiplied by the amount of years over which the need will arise less a discount to take into account accelerated receipt (the multiplier). The calculation should ultimately give a lump sum award which if invested safely should meet the ongoing needs over the duration of a person’s life. Your solicitor should strive to agree an appropriate amount of compensation for your claim with the insurance company representing the person who caused your accident. If this is not possible, court proceedings may have to be issued to allow a judge to assess the value.
Head Injury UK are a national network of solicitors specialising in brain injury compensation claims. For free advice on whether you may be entitled to compensation contact of brain injury please contact us on 0800 073 0988.
We know that we have been extremely fortunate to have had such a consummate PI lawyer in Andy acting on our behalf but we have also been blessed by having had his support, trust, friendship and loyalty throughout. We cannot ever thank him enough.
The compensation Nicola has received has helped her move from a tiny council flat into a massive bungalow which has been specifically adapted. It has enabled her to have a better life.
If it was not for the help of my solicitor I don't know where I would have been today. He provided a great deal of emotional support and secured compensation at various stages from the insurance company to fund my treatment and allow me to live. He was there from start to finish.
Higgs & Sons acted for us for 5 years until our daughters claim for personal injuries was finally settled. Ian remains a trustee of our daughters trust fund and we now look upon him as a friend.