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Brain injury compensation claims can involve serious injury claims, resulting from catastrophic head injuries, or from medical negligence.
But what may first appear as a minor brain injury can still be valid for compensation, especially if the effects have long-lasting implications.
According to Headway, the brain injury association:
- There are over 900 admissions a day to UK hospitals of patients with acquired brain injury (ABI).
- As many as 80% of patients turning up at hospitals with brain injuries report only mild symptoms, such as intermittent sickness or dizziness.
- The remaining 20% can suffer traumatic brain injuries.
You can make a claim for personal injury compensation for a head or brain injury.
What is a Severe or Traumatic Brain Injury?
The Glasgow Coma Scale is a common method for defining the level of consciousness of someone who has suffered traumatic brain injury.
Injuries reaching 3 to 8 on this scale, and injuries resulting in a loss of consciousness of more than 6 hours, are defined as severe or traumatic brain injuries.
People who suffer a traumatic brain injury are left with severe physical or mental disabilities.
The severity of these injuries is such that the sufferer will, typically, need to adapt to a new way of living. The impact can be felt on victim’s families too if they need to provide constant care.
Brain injury compensation amounts cover not just the actual injury which is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA) and referred to as the general damages but also special damages which include all the financial losses resulting from the injury.
PSLA, General Damages and Special Damages
A PSLA award is an award of general damages. This compensates the claimant for physical and psychological injuries they have suffered, and for any general impact the injuries have had on their lifestyle.
Calculating the amount of compensation for a claimant’s pain and suffering is based on a comparison of injuries sustained to previously reported cases involving similar injuries, using information from independent medical expert opinions.
Claimants can also claim for financial losses and expenses, known as special damages.
PSLA and special damages compensation can cover:
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological damage
- Loss of earnings
- Cost of care and therapies
- The cost of home adaptions and special equipment
- The cost of ongoing treatment, if this is a consequence of medical negligence.
In personal injury cases, the Judicial College updates annually its published guidelines for assessing damages.
What are the Causes of Brain Injury?
There are various circumstances where brain injury can occur, including:
- Industrial and construction accidents
- Road traffic accidents
- Falls from heights
- Sports accidents
- Physical assaults
- Medical negligence.
Brain Injury in Medical Negligence Claims
Serious brain injury can occur while someone is in the care of a healthcare professional.
If there is evidence that this personal injury resulted from a breach in the duty of care of the healthcare professional, then the individual concerned may be able to make a medical negligence claim.
Medical malpractice cases resulting in brain injury compensation claims can include:
- Brain aneurysms
- Subarachnoid haemorrhages
- Subdural haematomas
- Birth injuries.
How Much Compensation Do You Get for Brain Injury?
Brain injuries vary in their severity, and in their impact on sufferers. Broadly, the categories of brain injury for claiming compensation are:
- Mild traumatic brain injury
- Moderate traumatic brain injury
- Moderately severe brain damage
- Very severe brain damage
At one end of the scale, mild traumatic brain injury involves loss of consciousness for 30 minute or less following a head injury.
By contrast, severe traumatic brain injury can result in moderately or very severe brain damage.
The awards of compensation that the Judicial College recommends reflect the differences in seriousness of various brain injuries:
- Compensation for very severe brain damage is £240,590 to £344,640.
- For moderately severe brain damage, it’s £186,890 to £240,590.
- For moderate traumatic brain injury, the recommended compensation sums are £40,410 to £205,580.
These figures are from the 15th edition of the Judicial Guidelines and reflect the general damages only. In addition, there are also special damages quantified in each case and it is this element of the claim that can be considerable and produce a final multi million-pound settlement figure especially where the injured person requires life long care and assistance.
When Should You Claim Brain Injury Compensation?
Brain injury compensation claims cover a broad range of brain injuries, from very severe to mild traumatic brain injury.
But no brain injury is insignificant. Even people suffering concussion (classed as minor brain or head injury) may suffer post-concussion syndrome for months afterwards. This can cause depression, concentration problems and memory loss. Minor brain injury compensation may apply in these circumstances.
If you, or a loved one, have suffered a more serious brain injury, this can have a long-term effect on your life.
Making a personal injury claim can be complex, and where medical negligence is involved, things can become more challenging.
Brain injury claim solicitors have the necessary expertise to help you navigate your way through the legal system.
For brain injuries resulting from birth, you need a specialist Clinical/Medical Negligence Solicitor.