Personal injury claims are misunderstood. The newspaper stories about the “compensation culture” are based upon a myth.
In reality, the statistics show that personal injury claim numbers are dropping. In addition, the Government has advanced aggressive law reform recently which has curtailed access to justice and will continue to do so in the future. The press often focus on the amount of compensation recovered. However, a personal injury lawyer will get to know the people behind the headlines.
The shock, anger and frustration of acquired brain injury
When a brain injury occurs, there is immense shock. The injured person is suddenly, without any warning, in hospital, probably receiving life-saving treatment. Their family are left trying to process what has happened and what the future will now hold. There are practical issues to consider like direct debits, liaising with the employer, claiming benefits, providing for the injured person’s family, and supporting each other. These are alien times for a family to navigate through.
After the shock comes anger. Why did this happen to my family member or my friend? There is an innate sense to seek justice, initially through the criminal proceedings. It is a well-known fact that the criminal justice system is under immense pressure. There are significant delays. There is often a lack of information. These factors can cause frustration.
The importance of early rehabilitation and alleviating financial hardship
Defendants and those who insure them have an opportunity to provide some stability in these early days. There are a number of insurers who are engaged in rehabilitation and alleviating financial hardship, even when liability (fault) is not that clear. This is certainly not universal. Early rehabilitation and alleviating financial hardship at an early stage make the “journey” for the injured person and their family much smoother. There is less animosity. The Defendant and the injured person can all focus on finding common ground: making the situation better and maximising the injured person’s recovery. This takes time but the investment is hugely advantageous to all if done appropriately and there is ultimately compensation.
The injured person and their family can start to see light at the end of the tunnel. Importantly, they can focus on the future, rather than on what has happened. They can re-build their lives as a family. They become motivated and see their rehabilitation goals are “must dos” rather than “should dos”.
Brain injury evidence and medical reports
After a period of rehabilitation, the “business end” of a personal injury claim must then occur. It is important that legal teams have been “building” the evidence throughout the case to highlight the residual problems and deficits. Once a period of rehabilitation has occurred, the medico-legal experts (independent experts who report for the Court) will provide final reports. In those reports, they will deal with the injured person’s condition and prognosis.
At this stage, the injured person and their family, although much more positive, turn their worries to the future. They have one chance (generally speaking) to secure the right outcome that will provide them with financial security for the remainder of their life. This is analogous to an uninjured person being asked to accept a sum for their entire future earnings at a meeting or having those earnings decided by a Court. This can cause immense pressure.
A lifelong need for brain injury care
Lastly, contrary to some of the press headlines that one may read, when someone who has suffered a brain injury receives what appears to be a vast sum of compensation, it will always be linked to very substantial problems and deficits. There is likely to be a lifelong need for care; the injured person may never be able to work again, they may; lack capacity meaning that they need a professional to manage their financial affairs; need adaptations to a property; need ongoing surgeries in the future.
In conclusion, be cautious about believing the headlines and get to know the person before jumping to any conclusions. They are often thoroughly decent and hardworking people who have suffered from a life-changing event which was not their choice or fault and they are simply trying to rebuild their lives and the lives of their family.
Produced by David Withers of Irwin Mitchell
David is a Partner of, and Solicitor-Advocate at, Irwin Mitchell LLP. He leads a team of serious injury specialists dealing exclusively with life-changing injuries including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and amputation. He has only acted for Claimants and has over 10 years’ experience. David has taken cases to trial at the High Court and has experience of a successful Court of Appeal hearing. He is also an accredited Brain Injury specialist and fellow at the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
Irwin Mitchell are a national law firm whose solicitors work hard to make things easier for their clients and their family. Over the past 2 years they have helped clients recover more than £1 billion in compensation, but this is only part of the story, their solicitors also help clients access the rehabilitation, medical care and support needed to achieve the best recovery possible.
How Brain Injury Group can help?
Brain Injury Group is a network of approved personal injury solicitors with brain injury expertise. Moreover, our member firms have the complex injury experience to get the best possible rehabilitation and compensation for brain injuries.
Brain injury rehabilitation is important; to us, to our members, to you and towards getting the best outcome. We can help get you that best outcome. Get in touch to find out more from our brain injury experts.
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