Brain Injury Claims
Each year in the U.K., approximately 130,000 people are admitted to hospital as a result of a brain injury. While the symptoms of these injuries vary, they often cause a range of behavioural, cognitive and physical issues. At times, the injury may be catastrophic, meaning the person can no longer live independently. The impact of the injury can be devastating for both the person affected and their family members who need to take care of them. Many times these injuries occur due to ‘trauma’ from an accident or incident involving a blow to the head. Unfortunately, even health professionals may also make mistakes which lead to these types of brain injuries.
At Fletchers, our Serious Injury team are experts in getting the compensation and treatment you or your family member deserves. Our dedicated team will take the stress out of the claims process and has over 30 years’ experience dealing with serious brain injury cases. So, you can rest assured we’ll bring the best legal minds to your case.
What is a brain injury negligence claim?
If your brain injury has been caused or contributed to by trauma following an accident or incident (such as an assault) or if it may have been caused by a health professional, then you could be entitled to compensation.
Medical negligence may result in brain injury when a health professional makes a mistake or fails to follow the correct procedure. For example, your health professional may have failed to diagnose your condition or may have negligently performed surgery.
Determining if a brain injury was the fault of your health professional is not as clear cut as some other negligence cases. In most cases, we will be required to carry out an investigation to identify the contributing factors to the injury. This will usually include obtaining your medical records and seeking an expert opinion on the cause(s).
If we believe you have a strong case, we will want to achieve the best possible outcomes for you. We may also obtain expert reports to assess what home modifications or alternations you may require.
In some circumstances, the affected person may not have the capacity to look after his or her own affairs, including pursuing a claim in negligence. If this is the case, a “Litigation Friend” may be appointed to run the proceedings on the affected person’s behalf.
Different types of brain injury negligence claims
Brain injuries which lead to a compensation claim are commonly caused by:
- Road traffic and/or motorcycle accidents
- Accidents at work
- Trips / falls
- A serious criminal assault
- Medical Negligence
Brain Injuries caused by medical negligence can arise from a number of different sets of circumstances. Some examples of negligent treatment include:
- Avoidable strokes where a health professional failed to properly investigate symptoms such as an episode of sudden loss of vision.
- Avoidable paralysis where a health professional failed to adequately monitor and recognise their patient was having a heart attached
- A baby’s brain damage caused by delaying a Caesarean section when the baby was in distress and deprived of oxygen during delivery
- A delay in diagnosing and/or treating brain tumours
- A failure to adequately treat an ear, nose or throat infection
- A failure to diagnose and treat inflammation of the brain
- Unnecessary removal of a part of the brain
Is there a time limit on making a brain injury negligence claim?
A claim for negligence must be made within three years of the accident or in the case of medical negligence, the date (“date of knowledge”) on which the affected person became aware (or ought reasonably to have become aware) that he or she suffered a personal injury as a result of the health professional’s acts or omissions.
The date of knowledge is not the date on which the injury occurred unless you knew or ought to have known about it at that time. Sometimes people do find out that a mistake has been made straight away, but sometimes it can actually be a matter of months, even years, before he or she realises something has gone wrong.
If you or the person the mistake happened to is, or was under the age of 18 at the time the incident occurred, then the time limit is three years from the date of their 18th birthday (i.e. their 21st birthday).
If the affected person does not have the mental capacity, there can be no time limit, unless the person regains capacity. Often a brain injury will cause someone to lack capacity, so it is fairly common in these cases for the time limit not to apply. It is crucial to seek legal advice on this.