How can we help?
Once the initial shock of a traumatic brain injury has begun to pass, the “what about…” questions come thick and fast – to the extent that the injured person and their family can simply be overwhelmed by the impact of the injury on their lives – the enquiries and applications to be made, the decisions to be taken.
The list below is by no means exhaustive; it is simply an indication of the ways in which people’s lives are affected by brain injury. Our Legal and Welfare Service members are happy to advise on these and many other areas, and their initial advice is free of charge.
If you or your loved one were employed but are now facing an extended period of rehabilitation (or leave of absence), you’ll want to know about employment rights and employer’s obligations in respect of welfare, support and planning a return to work.
The initial reaction might be concerned with informing an employer, maintaining contact, entitlements to sick pay and annual leave, the availability of employment-related insurance or assistance benefits and whether or not an employer is obliged to hold open a job.
Returning to work after experiencing a brain injury can be fraught with difficulty given that it often associated with physical, emotional and cognitive problems that can affect a person’s ability to function as they did previously. So longer term, your attention will turn to:
- Whether you’re capable of returning to your pre-injury position or if you need to find something more appropriate
- How you might transition back into work
- What adjustments an employer might make
If your partner or child has been injured you will inevitably be playing a part in their care and having to take time off work – possibly for some considerable time, and potentially long term to accommodate new responsibilities.
Similar concerns will exist:
- Will your employer allow you a period of extended leave?
- Are they obliged to hold open your job?
- Can you request flexible working?
- Can you reduce your hours?
Legal and Welfare Service members have employment law expertise and can advise you.
Accessing state support and benefits
Most people facing rehabilitation, long term disability or new caring responsibilities should be able to access welfare benefits and other state-sponsored support. The benefits landscape has changed significantly in recent years, and navigating your way round it presents its own challenges, but experts do exist to guide you through the minefield.
Legal and Welfare Service member, Nestor, is a specialist financial adviser with particular expertise in welfare benefits. They can provide initial advice, and assist with applications and appeals as necessary.
Sourcing the right medical and social care support for a brain injured person also requires knowledge of statutory and local services and how to access them. The vast majority of people don’t know where to begin, so expert input from the start is invaluable.
Impacting family life
Inevitably the stresses of responding to the long term demands of a brain injury have an effect on every aspect of family life. Changes in behaviour and heightened emotions apply additional strain to even the strongest of relationships that cannot always be overcome however hard we try. Sadly some families will fall victim to the trauma of brain injury and issues such as separation, divorce and access to children come to the fore.
Legal and Welfare Service members can help you with these sensitive matters.
Children with brain injury
A brain injury has a devastating, life-long impact on a child and their family. Whether as a result of an injury at birth such as cerebral palsy, an accident, illness or brain tumour, the long term effects of a childhood brain injury may not be fully understood for decades. If part of the brain is injured during crucial early development, some of the effects may not be apparent until the injured part of the brain starts to be used.
Whatever the cause of the injury, parents will want to access the best possible support and care for their child, and the most appropriate education.
And as those children become adults, they face another challenge: that of obtaining the support required for often complex health needs from new professionals in an adult environment which frequently involves several health, therapy and social care teams.
Legal and Welfare Service members can advise on all aspects of cases involving children, from claims through to transitioning care on reaching adulthood.
Many brain injuries are the result of incidents at work or involving third parties and can result in significant compensation claims that can be managed by any one of our member firms. The complex nature of those claims can mean that they take years to complete, at which point expert financial advice will be required to ensure that any damages awarded are invested and managed to provide support for life, possibly through trusts.
In the immediate aftermath of an injury, though, the primary concern of the person involved or their family might be how to access existing bank accounts, establish powers of attorney to assume responsibility for financial affairs, or how to apply to the Court of Protection to appoint a deputy to manage their affairs.
Because of their expertise in managing high value personal injury claims, our Legal and Welfare Service members are able to advise on trusts, investments and financial matters generally and many are also members of our specialist Court of Protection panel.