Initially, Neil instructed Brain Injury Group member firm Irwin Mitchell as he was involved in an accident at his work, when he was hit by a crane and crushed. He sustained a severe brain injury and unfortunately also lost his sight as a result of the accident.
Liability was denied in full by the employer, they did not consider they were responsible and therefore we proceeded to a full trial on the liability aspects of the claim. We considered that the employer was responsible for our client’s injuries due to numerous breaches in health and safety law. We were successful at trial and as a result, obtained a substantial interim payment on account of damages in order to assist Neil with his rehabilitation and recovery.
Early interim payments to assist with rehabilitation
We had taken the decision with Neil that as he had not yet had sufficient rehabilitation and did not know what his final medical prognosis would be, to ask the Court to deal with liability as a preliminary issue. It was important that this aspect could be resolved for him and early interim damages could be released in order to assist with his recovery.
Neil wanted the opportunity to have rehabilitation in the community to assist with maximising his independence and learning to live without his sight. We appointed a specialist brain injury case manager, an occupational therapist and a neuropsychologist to assist him, as well as a privately funded rehabilitation assistant who was vital to assist Neil with re-learning skills such as making a meal for himself in his kitchen without his sight. He also trained with and adopted a guide dog to assist him with getting around locally in his community.
Independent personalised rehabilitation goals
Rehabilitation was focused on goals which Neil felt were personally important to him, this included being able to mobilise independently in the community, look after himself personally, cook some of his own meals, and take his son to football as well as coming to terms with how he was post-injury and how his life had changed and looking at new opportunities for the future. Ultimately he wished to return to some form of employment if he was able to do so.
His occupational therapist, employed as a result of his claim, focussed on his independent living skills and also vocational rehabilitation and eventually, through working therapy, he started volunteering locally in his community and eventually secured a part-time paid position working for a local charity helping others in the community.
The importance of interim payments
Without the interim payment of damages he received through bringing a claim, he would not have been able to access the intensive rehabilitation programme he received with his specialists, in order to achieve those goals which were and continue to be important to him. His goals were reviewed regularly by his therapists who would work with him, adapting these and changing them as goals were achieved and gains made. It was also rewarding and encouraging for Neil as he realised the progress he had made.
After approximately 18 months of further privately funded rehabilitation, he settled his claim which provided funding for future rehabilitation, accommodation, aids and equipment and care and support for his future.
Produced by Rachael Aram, Partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors
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