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A helicopter from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance illustrating paying it forward to emergency air ambulance through a personal injury claim.

When engaging with a client for the first time, it is often clear how thankful we are for the emergency services’ rapid response and the work of other organisations involved in care.

The ‘golden hour’ after a serious road collision or other incident is incredibly important

The ‘golden hour’ is the crucial period of time of 60 minutes or less, when prompt and effective emergency care can mean the difference between surviving catastrophic injuries or not. However, this initial period of medical attention may not always be possible without the many charities supporting first responders such as the Air Ambulance or St Johns Ambulance Service.

As crucial as the initial acts of the emergency services are, the aftercare provided for some by charities such as the Child Brain Injury Trust and Headway UK, whether short or long term, are equally as important. After all, the medical professionals encountered are there to support in tough times during rehabilitation and recovery. Fundraising is required for many services provided by charities like these.

The needs of someone who has sustained life changing injuries are obviously extensive and incredibly expensive, money which is well spent but nonetheless, money which is not usually recovered for the charitable services and other support received. The aforementioned charities and countless others need our help. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means they need our help more than ever as many of their fundraising opportunities have been lost.

Did you know, the average cost of an air ambulance mission is £2,500? Across the UK there are over 70 lifesaving missions per day!

At Irwin Mitchell, in 2010, we ran the first case to trial to recover costs of charitable services received by a client. This resulted in our client being able to recover and reimburse the cost of their hospice care. Since this principle was founded, it has been successfully pleaded by many other clients. Although the principle refers especially to hospice care costs, it is reasonable to plead the same point of law for other charitable services provided free of charge. This may include the cost of assistive equipment or support groups provided by a charity. The thought behind this is that if the cost of care was charged at the point of service it would be possible to claim this in full from a Defendant. Therefore, if someone has benefited from the input of a charity it should be possible to recover the cost of care and pay the charity back in the same way.

To be able to successfully claim costs back on behalf of a charity, it is necessary to keep the costs raised through donations and fundraising entirely separate from any funds the charity received from the NHS. The portion of the total costs which are funded by the NHS would be dealt with separately by a team who work within the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure the NHS also recover the cost of the care they have provided. Solicitors can make enquiries with relevant charities to obtain the evidence required.

Recovery of these costs mean not only have the charity been repaid for their help and thanked for their input when needed the most; it may provide the injured party with a somewhat therapeutic method of dealing with their accident. Furthermore, recovery of their costs will mean they are “paying their gratitude forward” by assisting the charity to continue their important work and to save the life of another individual involved in a tragic accident.

Many of Irwin Mitchell’s clients and their families complete their own fundraising activities to say thank you to the charity that they have been supported by. By seeking to include these charitable costs within your claim, we can help boost private fundraising efforts and do our bit to help the fantastic charities which keep the country moving.

Produced by Ellie Taylor

Ellie Taylor is a Paralegal in the Sheffield Serious Injury team at Irwin Mitchell. The team specialise in spinal cord injuries and brain injury. Ellie has worked at Irwin Mitchell for 6 years and is currently working towards qualifying as a Legal Executive.

About Irwin Mitchell

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 can Brain Injury Group 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.

Contact us – to get in touch you can either:

  1. Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 03303 112541
  2. Email us at enquiries@braininjurygroup.co.uk
  3. Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you
  4. Find a specialist brain injury solicitor near to you
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