Brain Injury Medical Negligence
If you or a loved one have sustained a brain injury while in the care of a doctor or healthcare professional, you may be able to make a compensation claim for brain injury medical negligence with the help of our solicitors.
The expert medical negligence solicitors at JMW are highly experienced in helping people to successfully secure compensation for the long-term consequences of brain injuries and brain damage, which can help to pay for the treatment or lifestyle adjustments you may need. We can provide the guidance you require during what can be an extremely difficult time.
Our legal team will deal with your brain injury claim with the understanding and sensitivity it deserves. To speak to one of our solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back as soon as we can.
If you have suffered a brain injury that was caused by medical negligence, you may be able to make a no win, no fee compensation claim.
How JMW Can Help
We have decades of experience in making successful medical negligence claims and employ a specialist team of solicitors who have secured hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation for clients with life-changing injuries. Our medical negligence solicitors are professional and understanding, meaning we take a sensitive and caring approach to brain injury claims, while giving you the best opportunity to rebuild your life.
With the right team in your corner, you can claim brain injury compensation that will make a huge difference as you face the challenges ahead. We have experience in securing compensation for:
- Birth injuries
- Brain aneurysms
- Cerebral palsy
- Subarachnoid haemorrhages
- Subdural haematomas
- Serious brain injury requiring long-term medical care
- Loss of speech/movement
- Mismanaged infections or illnesses
- Memory problems
Each medical negligence case is handled with compassion, and we are sensitive to your needs throughout the process. We know how difficult it can be to experience brain injuries caused by someone else's negligence, which is why we pledge to do everything possible to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Headed by leading solicitor Eddie Jones, our medical negligence team includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence solicitors and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors panel. The stringent criteria for membership on both panels demonstrate the high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice we have in the field of medical negligence and brain injury claims.
What is the Process for Making a Brain Injury Medical Negligence Claim?
The process for making a brain injury medical negligence claim will generally involve the following steps:
- You will speak with a lawyer at JMW to discuss your brain injury compensation claim in an initial consultation, and we will review the details of your case to provide advice about the likelihood of a successful claim.
- If you decide to proceed, your legal team at JMW will gather all relevant medical records and any other evidence that might support your case. They will also seek the view of independent medical experts to strengthen your case.
- Once enough evidence has been gathered, a letter of claim will be sent to the party you are holding responsible, outlining the details of the negligence and the injuries caused. We will draw upon our extensive experience of medical negligence cases to make your claim as strong as possible.
- The responsible party will then have a chance to respond to your claim. If they accept responsibility, your solicitor will negotiate the amount of compensation. It is always our aim to settle out of court, in order to bring the case to a swift conclusion and limit any stress that you experience.
- In the rare occasion that a case needs to go to court, JMW will guide and support you through the court process, offering legal representation and giving you the best chance of a successful outcome.
The specialist solicitors at JMW can represent you through a no win, no fee arrangement, also known as a conditional fee agreement. This means that you will not owe any legal fees unless the claim is successful, with the majority being paid by the other side.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Brain Injury Medical Negligence Claim?
If you or a loved one has suffered brain injury of any type, the time limits for bringing a case can vary, but it is advisable that you start the process as soon as possible.
- For those over 18 who have the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, the time limit is three years from the date the injury occurred, or the date you became aware it had occurred.
- Children can begin their claim any time before their 18th birthday (with support from a parent or carer) after which they have three years to make the claim independently.
- If the patient has a lack of mental capacity, there is no time limit.
- If that patient regains their mental capacity, the time limit of three years will return from that date.
The latter situations can be complex, so it is recommended you contact an expert medical negligence solicitor, such as those at JMW.
The Impact of Brain Injuries
A brain injury caused by the negligence of a medical professional can be truly devastating and can have catastrophic consequences for the patient, including a detrimental impact on their quality of life. Making a brain injury claim can help you to better cope with the injury and enable you to pay for any assistive equipment and technology you may need, as well as the costs and additional living expenses you may have incurred because of medical treatment and being unable to work.
The brain controls our mobility, how our body functions and our moods and emotions, and is incredibly sensitive to injury. In the most severe cases, trauma to the brain can lead to loss of function, such as mobility or the ability to speak. It can also result in a drastic change in personality. However, any type of injury to the brain can have a significant impact, so it is vital that the patient, or their family, seeks specialist legal advice if it has been caused by medical negligence.
Other examples of brain injuries we have handled claims on include:
- Bleeding on the brain
- Subarachnoid haemorrhages
- Delay in diagnosis of Wilson’s disease
We deal with the entire spectrum of brain injuries and will always work towards the fastest resolution and the maximum compensation possible.
How do Medical Errors or Negligence Lead to Brain Injuries?
Medical errors or negligence can lead to brain injuries in a number of ways. These could include surgical errors, such as a mistake made during a procedure on the brain, or errors in anaesthesia administration that deprive the brain of oxygen. Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment of conditions like strokes or infections can also lead to brain injuries. In childbirth, medical negligence can lead to a newborn suffering brain injuries if, for example, there is a delay in performing a necessary caesarean section, or a failure to correctly monitor and respond to foetal distress.
Brain injuries resulting from medical negligence can range from mild to severe, and can include a variety of types:
- Hypoxic brain injury - occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. This can be caused by errors in anaesthesia or a delay in treating cardiac arrest or other conditions leading to a loss of oxygen.
- Traumatic brain injury - this type of injury might occur due to a fall in a hospital or during a surgical procedure that directly damages the brain.
- Stroke - misdiagnosis or failure to promptly treat a stroke can lead to extensive brain damage.
About Cerebral Palsy
JMW specialises in compensation claims for cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term referring to motor conditions that can be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain or the mismanagement of illness in the newborn baby.
Most cases of cerebral palsy can be diagnosed by the time a child is 18 months old. If your child has cerebral palsy that was caused by mistakes made by a medical professional during their birth, or by poor medical care after delivery, call us now.
Children with cerebral palsy will often require special care for the rest of their lives, so if it was caused by medical errors it is vital that their parents pursue a claim for compensation to fund this.
Further Support for People with Brain Injuries
When a brain injury first occurs, it can be a highly distressing time for the individual and their family who are full of questions and worry about what the future will hold. However, there is an extensive network of support that can help to lighten the burden, including emotional support, advice on benefits, educational needs, support with physical disabilities, and legal advice.
Getting in touch with a brain injury charity can be a helpful means of finding the support your family needs. The UK is home to many highly respected brain injury charities, including:
- Headway - dedicated to helping people with brain injuries on a local and national scale. The charity runs a network of groups and branches throughout the UK, and offers many excellent services, including rehabilitation programmes, carer support and respite care.
- BASIC - a Manchester-based charity that offers rehabilitation services for people who need help once they have been discharged from the hospital.
- Bobath - which provides therapy for people with cerebral palsy to help them to gain independence.
- Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development (BIRD) - provides treatment for people with brain injuries and learning difficulties to help improve their quality of life.
- Cerebra - provides support services and practical help to improve the quality of life for children with neurological conditions and help their families.
- The Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) - supports children who have suffered an acquired brain injury. JMW has supported the charity since 2012.
- What are the types of brain injury?
Brain damage is an injury that results in either the deterioration or destruction of brain cells. Brain injuries are classified as either:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) - an injury caused by a blow to the head or by another external force. The brain is damaged when the force causes it to move inside the skull.
- Acquired brain injury (ABI) - occurs on a cellular level and typically relates to pressure being exerted on the brain, whether through a tumour, neurological illness, or a similar condition.
- What are the symptoms of a brain injury?
Brain damage can vary in severity, depending on the type of brain injury. Symptoms of a mild brain injury might only be temporary and can include:
- Memory issues
The same symptoms may also be apparent for moderate brain injuries, although they are likely to be more obvious and will last for a prolonged period. If you have sustained a severe brain injury, you may experience:
- Physical disabilities
- Cognitive disabilities
- Behavioural disabilities
- How are brain injuries diagnosed?
Diagnosis of any brain damage or injury is usually made using an MRI scan, a computed tomography (CT) scan or a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). MRI and CT scans produce detailed images of the inside of a person's head to determine the extent of an injury and how and why the injury might lead to further complications. The scan is used to demonstrate whether or not there is any swelling or bleeding of the brain.
The GCS assesses severity by providing a score to determine whether the injury is minor, moderate or severe. It scores on:
- Physical movements
- Whether or not you are able to make any noise
- Whether you are able to open your eyes with ease
- What rehabilitation is available for brain injuries?
Rehabilitation needs will vary depending on your individual requirements. It can be a very difficult time for the brain-injured person and their family, but it is vital that the right choice of rehabilitation is made to ensure they receive the best possible care.
When a person who has sustained a brain injury is ready to leave the hospital, their care may continue at home or in a residential care unit. For those with long-term residential care needs, a specialist brain injury care unit may be the best option. Government funding for this service is means-tested, so relatives may be asked to contribute to the cost.
People who don't require long-term care may be able to secure NHS funding for intermediate care. This option provides therapy and treatment in a patient's own home, usually by an occupational therapist, and is designed to help those with a brain injury to transition from the hospital.
An occupational therapist can be supplied from either a hospital or social services, and carers should make enquiries if they have not already been approached. The occupational therapist will be able to assess what care requirements and house adaptations are needed in order to care for the patient at home. If adaptations to the home are necessary to ensure the safety and security of a brain-injured person, the Disabled Facilities Grant will contribute to the cost - speak to your local council for more information.
For more information on rehabilitation, visit the Headway website.
- What can I claim brain injury compensation for?
If a brain injury is found to be the result of medical negligence, sufferers and their families are entitled to significant compensation. Successful brain injury claims can help you to cover the costs associated with treatment, and recompense you for the impact a traumatic brain injury can have on your life.
The value of brain injury compensation claims will take the following factors into account:
- Pain and suffering - These claims can relate to matters such as loss of independence or the worry caused to family members as a result of negligence
- Loss of income - If a household loses a substantial portion of its income due to brain damage caused by negligence, it is reasonable to expect compensation
- The cost of treatment - This encompasses all expenses relating to ongoing treatment. This includes physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy, as well as assistive technology and disability aids & equipment
- Care and assistance - Any care costs necessary following the injury can also be claimed for, including adaptations to the home
You may also be in a position to make a claim for transportation costs, as well as a range of other miscellaneous expenses.
- Is there any other financial help available?
Most people affected by a brain injury will need to take some time off work; some may never be able to return to employment. Meanwhile, some youngsters who have suffered congenital brain damage may never achieve employment, requiring round-the-clock care.
This effect on a person's earning potential, together with the additional costs associated with providing the care they need, can create a huge financial strain. However, there are schemes and benefits available that may be able to provide financial help to brain injury sufferers and their families.
People who have been left with a physical disability due to their brain injury may be eligible for a Disability Living Allowance, and if their ability to work has been affected, they may be entitled to Incapacity Benefit. Carers looking after a person with a brain injury may apply for a Carers Allowance.
Additionally, those on a low income may be able to claim Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and/or Working Tax Credit. For more information about the benefits available to you and your family, visit the government website.
There are also a number of grants and loans available to help disabled people and their carers if times get really tough and money is needed urgently for basic needs, or a carer needs to ensure a disabled person's safety. However, they all have strict criteria that must be met when applying. Grants and loans include:
- Community care grants
- Crisis loans
- Budgeting loans
- Family Fund grants
- Disabled facilities grants
- Independent living funds
Citizen's Advice can also provide free and impartial guidance for anyone who is struggling financially.
- Can I make a brain injury claim on behalf of a loved one who is unable to do so?
If your loved one has suffered a brain injury due to medical negligence and is unable to make a claim themselves, perhaps because of the severity of their injury, you may be able to act as their 'litigation friend' and make a claim on their behalf. This is often the case for parents claiming on behalf of a child, or adults claiming on behalf of a loved one who lacks the capacity to claim themselves.
It is important to seek legal advice to understand the responsibilities involved in acting as a litigation friend. Get in touch with JMW, and we will be able to explain the process in detail for you.
- How long do brain injury medical negligence claims take?
Brain injury compensation claims typically take a minimum of three years to resolve.
Due to the nature of the effects of a brain injury, solicitors and medical professionals will have to monitor your ability to function in day-to-day and work life in order to properly account for the true impact of your injury. If a case is rushed, you may receive less compensation than you deserve, which is why it is important for all of the steps of the claims process to be followed properly.
To discuss the details of your brain injury compensation claim and how long it could take to resolve, get in touch with an expert clinical negligence solicitor and seek advice on the specifics of your case.
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If you or a loved one have sustained a brain injury as a result of medical negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation on a no win, no fee basis to help cope with your disabilities. By making a successful brain injury claim, individuals and their families can often find out what went wrong and help to improve safety standards for other people.