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Legal Advice about claiming compensation after a head injury

Will I be able to claim compensation for a head injury?

There are many causes of a head injury. Some common causes include road traffic accidents,workplace accidents, and medical treatment errors, which may be the result of someone else’s fault.

If that is the case you will be able to claim compensation following a head injury.

The law is complex and you should always take advice from a specialist solicitor. Never assume you do not have the right to claim.

Even if the injury was partly your own fault, you will not be prevented from making a head injury claim but this may result in a reduction in the amount of compensation you receive.

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When should I speak to a personal injury solicitor?

You should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after your accident. Involving a solicitor early on means that important evidence relating to the accident can be obtained at the earliest opportunity when the event is still fresh in the minds of witnesses. More importantly, the sooner you consult a solicitor, the sooner your solicitor can try and arrange for rehabilitation to be put in place to meet your immediate needs, in accordance with the Rehabilitation Code.

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What is the Rehabilitation Code?

The Rehabilitation Code is a document subscribed to by solicitors and insurers which sets out a legal framework for early intervention to address the needs of the injured person.

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How do I choose the right personal injury solicitor?

This is probably the most important decision that you are likely to make. Choosing the wrong personal injury solicitor could result in your head injury claim being undervalued or a failure to take the necessary steps to instruct early intervention and specialist rehabilitation.

Choose a solicitor who specialises in cases involving head injury and understands the complex nature of head injury and how this can impact on all aspects of your life including your social life and future employment.

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How will I pay for a solicitor?

Funding the personal injury case yourself is unlikely to be an option for most people. The other methods of funding the case are Legal Aid, Legal Expenses Insurance, Trade Union Membership or what is often referred to as “no win, no fee”.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid is means tested and therefore only available to those on low incomes. Funding the case by legal aid hampers your solicitor’s ability to deal with your claim efficiently and places significant restrictions on your choice of medical experts.

Legal Expenses Insurance

You may have this as a result of a home or motor insurance policy. However, you may face restrictions in terms of the solicitor and the experts that you can use and there is likely to be a set limit to the amount of cover offered.

Trade Union Membership

If you are a member of a Trade Union, you may have cover for legal costs under the terms of your membership but this is only likely to be available if you have the accident at work and you will also be restricted as to your choice of solicitor.

Other funding methods

Many solicitors in Scotland offer what is often referred to as ‘No Win No Fee’ arrangement to fund your case. This means that you will only pay a fee if the case is successful and usually this will be a percentage of your damages.

However, “No win no fee” doesn’t always mean the same thing and you could still be left with a bill to pay for things such as medical or expert reports if your case is unsuccessful. It is essential that the funding you obtain underwrites these costs.

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Who pays my head injury compensation?

Your claim will be made against the individual or organisation that is to blame either wholly or partly for your head injury.

However in most cases, it will be an insurer who will deal with and settle the claim.

A compensation claim for injuries caused by an assault should be pursued by application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

If your injury is the result of a medical treatment error, such claims will be pursued against the NHS health Board responsible for the hospital where the error occurred.

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How much compensation will I receive?

Your head injury claim will be valued under a number of heads of loss which may include the following:

  • Compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured;
  • Past and future loss of earnings;
  • Loss of pension rights;
  • Past and future care costs;
  • Past and future aids and equipment costs;
  • Past and future care provided by family members;
  • Accommodation costs;
  • Past and future therapies, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy;
  • Extra household costs such as increased heating costs;
  • Transport costs.

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I am not able to work, how will I support my family whilst my case is ongoing?

You may be entitled to claim state benefits. If liability is admitted by the insurers at an early stage, it may also be possible to obtain an up front payment, called an “interim payment” to assist you if you are struggling financially. This is a sum of money that is paid to you prior to the final settlement of your case, which is intended to prevent an injured person suffering financial hardship while they are waiting for their claim to be resolved.

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Where can I access help with care and rehabilitation whilst my claim is ongoing?

You may be able to access targeted support and rehabilitation from your local authority or local NHS services. If you are pursing a claim through a solicitor, they may be able to obtain interim funding from the insurers dealing with your claim in order to pay privately for the care and rehabilitation you need.

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How long will my case take?

Each head injury claim is different and therefore it is not possible to predict how long it will take to conclude your case. Much will depend upon the extent to which the facts of the accident are disputed and the severity of your injuries. Head injury cases are often complicated due to the wide-reaching effects of brain injury and will take longer to reach a conclusion than many other types of personal injury claim.

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Will I have to go to court?

The majority of head injury claim cases are settled without a court hearing taking place.

This means that it is unlikely that you will have to attend court as a witness.

If you do need to attend Court, your solicitor will explain to you what is involved in giving evidence.

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What if my loved one is so badly injured they do not have capacity to make decisions for themselves?

The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 provides the legal framework for safeguarding adults who lack capacity. If you are assisting a loved one who lacks capacity to instruct a solicitor then it is likely that an application will require to be made to the Sheriff Court for an intervention order or a guardianship order to obtain the necessary powers to deal with the case on behalf of the brain injured person. Your solicitor will advise you about the correct course of action.

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How do I contact an expert solicitor?

If you would like to speak to an expert solicitor who specialises in dealing with claiming compensation after a brain injury, please contact Chris Stewart, Partner at Digby Brown Solicitors direct on 0141 566 9541 or email chris.stewart@digbybrown.co.uk

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For further information please visit Digby Brown Solicitors www.digbybrown.co.uk.

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