The purpose of a civil law claim for personal injury compensation is, as far as possible, to put the injured person back into the position they would have been had the incident not have occurred in the first place.
After all, would you expect anything less if you had sustained a serious injury through no fault of your own? As an example, a pedestrian walking on the pavement when a drunk driver on his mobile phone loses control of his car causing it to mount the pavement to strike the pedestrian from behind resulting in serious injury.
Taking the above example, let us say this fictitious pedestrian is “You” and as a result of the collision you suffered an injury to the brain. After the incident you are transferred by Air Ambulance to a Major Trauma Centre at a leading Hospital. You are operated on, placed into the High Dependency Unit, and after many weeks you are moved on to the Ward.
In this scenario the injury to your brain has caused you to suffer impaired speech, difficulty with coordination, and short term memory loss. Also, the nursing staff notice you are a bit short tempered with them. Although for the purpose of this example you retain mental capacity but if this had been lost then the appointment of a Deputy to handle some or all of your affairs would be required.
You are keen to leave hospital to re-join your partner and young child at the family home. You are also worried because you had before the incident just started a new job and were the sole breadwinner in the family. If you don’t work then there is no income for the family.
You have been told by the hospital Consultant that it is unlikely you would be able to return to work for some time. You are also told that you will be discharged home from the hospital into the care of your local hospital outpatient appointments for continuing therapy treatment. However, you understand due to the area in which you live there is a shortage of NHS brain injury specialists which may delay your treatment which causes you anxiety.
Your partner contacts the mortgage lender because she is worried the next mortgage payment will not be met. The lender whilst going through with your partner a list of possible income sources asks whether a personal injury claim was being pursued. With everything going on you had not previously considered the instruction of a solicitor, and your partner discusses this with you on their next daily visit to hospital.
Having made enquiries of law firms who specialise in serious injury claims you meet with a solicitor who you then instruct. You are subsequently informed by the solicitor that he has spoken with the insurance company for the driver and in light of the incident circumstances they had admitted responsibility for the incident.
Also, the solicitor is able to confirm that he has secured from the insurance company their agreement to invest in your private rehabilitation because it is clear to all parties that early treatment may assist with a better medical outcome for you.
Your solicitor sets about putting the following initial rehabilitation strategy into place:-
- The insurance company makes a general interim payment in the sum of £x to be set off against the final award of compensation. This will alleviate some of the financial stress and allow you to meet payments such as the mortgage;
- The insurance company agrees to fund for your solicitor to privately appoint a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager who meets with you to prepare an assessment of your Immediate Needs and requirements for the next 6 months. This leads to the following being organised with funding from the insurance company:-
a) Transfer, arranged by the Case Manager, from the general hospital ward to a private brain injury rehabilitation centre, before you return home, where you undergo an intensive course of therapy, including the following:-
i) Speech And Language Therapy [SALT]
ii) Neuro physiotherapy
iii) Occupational Therapy
iv) Neuro psychology treatment
b) Whilst at the private rehabilitation centre your own home is assessed for its suitability. As a coincidence you live in a bungalow but there is concern about whether you would be able to get into/out of the shower, step over the lip of the front door, and get into/out of bed without assistance. Adjustments are made to the property, for example to install hand rails and ramps.
c) On arrival home your Case Manager undertakes a further assessment to ensure that you are safe in your home. It is arranged for a private SALT, Neuro physiotherapist, and a Neuro psychologist to provide at your home regular treatment.
d) It is also recognised that you would have previously helped with the housework and done the gardening. A private gardener is engaged to attend once a fortnight, and a cleaner engaged to attend twice a week to essentially do the tasks you would have done absent the injury.
e) After 18 months you have improved to the point that you would like to try for a return to work and fortunately your employer has kept your job open for you. The Case Manager arranges for a return to work vocational assessment to determine how you would fit in the job and interact with customers as well as colleagues. A phased return to work is put into place.The initial period of rehabilitation is key to maximising the benefit of the treatment to the injured person.
The long term rehabilitation needs will likely be guided by the formal expert medical reports in the case that will enable monies from the insurer to be secured to pay for those needs.
A solicitor experienced with serious injury claims is dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for their clients to get their lives back on track. This means seeking rehabilitation as well as financial compensation.
Matthew Claxson is a Solicitor and Partner at Moore Blatch Solicitors specialising in serious injury and fatal incidents.
Ask for Matthew on Freephone 0800 157 7611 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Profile available on LinkedIn. Twitter: @matthewclaxson