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Brain Injuries Through Medical Negligence
If you, a friend or member of your family has sustained a brain or head injury while in the care of a health care professional, you may be able to make a medical negligence brain injury claim.
The solicitors at JMW are highly experienced in helping people to successfully secure compensation for the repercussions of brain injuries and brain damage and we can provide the guidance you need during what can be an extremely difficult time.
Our team is sympathetic to your needs and will deal with your case with the understanding and sensitivity it deserves. To speak to a member of our team today simply call us for free on 0800 054 6512 or complete our online enquiry form and we will call you back as soon as we can.
A brain injury caused by the negligence of a medical professional can be truly devastating and can have catastrophic consequences for the patient, potentially having a hugely detrimental impact on their quality of life. Making a claim can therefore help you to better cope with the injury and enable you to pay for any assistive equipment and technology you may need.
The brain is incredibly sensitive to injury and, 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 victim, or their family, seeks specialist legal advice if it has been caused by medical negligence.
The brain controls our mobility, how our body functions and our moods and emotions, so when injury to the brain occurs it can have a devastating impact. Brain injury can affect anyone at any time; and while the severity of the injury can vary greatly, it can often lead to a range of physical and mental disabilities. Some people will suffer milder but equally devastating effects, such as mood swings and memory loss. Others, such as babies who develop cerebral palsy, might never be able to walk and talk and will rely on others for their care 24 hours a day.
For people who have suffered an acquired brain injury, for example after having a stroke, with a long period of rehabilitation the brain can recover to a degree. Despite this, it is likely that there will be some lasting effects that the victim and their family will need to learn how to manage.
However, the needs of children who have suffered one of several catastrophic brain injuries will be more complex. The impact will be felt by the whole family, who will have to come to terms with their child's long-term disabilities so it is crucial they get the right support.
We deal with the entire spectrum of brain injuries and will always work towards the fastest resolution and the maximum compensation possible.
We have experience of securing compensation for:
- Birth injuries
- Brain Aneurysm
- Loss of speech/movement
- Mismanaged infections or illnesses
- Memory problems
- Serious brain injury requiring long-term medical care
- Sub-arachnoid haemorrhage
- Subdural Haematoma
- Tissue damage
Cerebral palsy caused by medical negligence is an issue the solicitors at JMW specialise in. 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 during their birth, or by poor medical care after delivery, call us now.
Children with cerebral palsy will often require specialist 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. Click here to read more about cerebral palsy.
The head is very vulnerable to injury and damage to this part of the body can result in long-lasting symptoms and complications. When an injury is caused by the negligence of a health professional, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation to recompense you for your suffering, as well as the costs and additional living expenses you may have incurred as a result of medical treatment and being unable to work.
We have helped many individuals who have suffered with head injuries caused by delayed treatment, misdiagnosis and a range of other errors.
While we are happy to discuss a claim for any kind of head injury that may have been caused by clinical negligence, some injuries which are possible to claim for include:
- Bleeding on the brain
- Head trauma resulting in loss of consciousness
- Skull fractures
- Facial injuries
- Scalp lacerations and injuries
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)
- Acquired brain injury (ABI)
Traumatic brain injury is 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 occurs on a cellular level and typically relates to pressure being exerted on the brain, whether through a tumour, a neurological illness or similar.
A third type is called congenital brain damage and is caused by either a birth trauma or due to genetic reasons.
If a brain injury is found to be the result of medical negligence, sufferers and their families are entitled to significant compensation for the pain and suffering caused, any loss of income and the costs of any care and assistance required.
- 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
- 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.
Brain damage can vary in severity, depending on the type of brain injury. Symptoms of a mild brain injury might only be temporary and may include:
- Memory issues
The same symptoms may also be apparent for moderate brain injuries, although they are more likely to be more obvious and will last for a more prolonged period. If you have sustained a severe brain injury you may suffer from:
- Physical disabilities
- Cognitive disabilities
- Behavioural disabilities
Diagnosis of any brain damage or brain injury is usually made using a computerised tomography (CT) scan or a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). A CT scan produces a detailed image of the inside of a person's head to determine the extent of an injury and to evaluate 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 Support Is Available to Victims of Brain Injury?
When a patient or child suffers a brain injury it can have a wide-ranging and devastating impact for both them and their family. Sufferers often require lifelong specialist support and care to help them and their loved ones to cope.
When a brain injury first occurs it can be a lonely time for the victim and their family, full of questions and worry about what the future will hold. But it is vital that they realise that there is an extensive network of support that can help to lighten the burden for them.
The help that victims of brain injury and their families require is wide-ranging, including emotional support, advice on benefits if their ability to work has been affected, help with educational needs, support to cope with any physical disabilities caused, and legal advice. There are many excellent brain injury charities that are a great first port of call for sufferers and if they cannot help, then they can signpost to the most relevant organisation.
There are many great local charities that make a real difference to the lives of brain injured people and their families, and they can be found through a simple internet search. However, many excellent large national charities exist with the sole focus of supporting brain injury sufferers and are definitely worth making contact with. A list of the main bodies can be found below.
- Headway is a charity dedicated to helping people with brain injuries, which it does on both 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. Find out more at www.headway.org.uk.
- Cerebra provides support services and practical help to make life easier for children with neurological conditions and their families. Find out more here: www.cerebra.org.uk.
- The Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) supports children who have suffered an acquired brain injury and their families. Find out more here: www.childbraininjurytrust.org.uk. JMW has supported CBIT since 2012 and we started a three-year project as the charity's Legal Support Service Provider in the North West in March 2015. We also named CBIT our Charity of the Year in 2015.
- BIRD (Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Development) provides treatment for people with brain injuries and learning difficulties to improve their quality of life. Find out more here: www.b-i-r-d.org.uk.
- BASIC offers rehabilitation services for people who have been left to cope with their brain injury after they are discharged from hospital in the Greater Manchester area. Find out about their services here: http://www.basiccharity.org.uk.
What Rehabilitation May Be Required?
Rehabilitation needs will very much depend on the individual requirements of the brain injured person. It can be a very difficult time for the affected person and their family, but it is vital that the right choice is made to ensure that they get the best possible care.
When a person who has sustained a brain injury is ready to leave 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 the best option. Government funding for this service is means tested, so relatives may be asked to contribute towards the cost.
People who do not have long-term care needs may be able to secure NHS funding for Intermediate Care. Intermediate Care provides therapy and treatment in patients' own homes and is designed to help brain injured people to make the transition from hospital.
When people who have suffered a brain injury are taken back to their own home for rehabilitation, they should receive support from an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist can be supplied from either a hospital or social services and carers should make enquiries if they have not been approached. The occupational therapist will be able to assess what care requirements and house adaptations are needed to care for the patient at home.
If adaptations are necessary to ensure the safety and security of the person in question, then the Disabled Facilities Grant is there to help contribute to the cost. Speak to your local council for more information.
For more information on rehabilitation call Headway's free helpline on 0808 800 2244.
What Financial Help Is Available?
Most people affected by brain injury will need at least some time off work; some may never be able to return to employment. Meanwhile, some youngsters who suffered their brain injury at birth may never achieve employment, requiring round-the-clock care.
This effect on a person's earning potential, together with the additional costs that are associated with providing a brain injured person with the care they need, can create a huge financial strain.
However, there are schemes and benefits available that may be able to help brain injury sufferers and their families to better cope financially.
People who have been left with a physical disability due to their brain injury, as well as their carers, may be eligible for the government's Disability Living Allowance, Carers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit if their ability to work has been affected. In addition, those on a low income may be able to claim Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Working Tax Credit.
Anyone struggling financially should also contact Citizen's Advice as their advisors can give free and impartial guidance on financial issues and are based in the community. Call 020 7833 2181 or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
There are also lots of grants and loans available to help disabled people and their carers if times get very tough, if they need money urgently to pay for basic needs, or a carer needs to ensure a disabled person's safety. They all have strict criteria that have to be met when applying.
- Community Care Grants - www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions
- Crisis Loans - www.direct.gov.uk
- Budgeting Loans - www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions
- The Family Fund - www.familyfund.org.uk
- Disabled Facilities Grant - Contact your local authority
- The Independent Living Fund - Contact your local social services
- Working Tax Credit - www.hmrc.gov.uk
Why Choose JMW?
We have years of experience of successfully winning medical negligence claims and employ a specialist team of solicitors, who have secured millions of pounds in compensation for clients left with life-changing injuries as a result of mistakes by the medical profession.
Our team is professional and understanding, meaning we take a sensitive and caring approach while giving you the best opportunity to get the outcome you are after. With the right team in your corner, you can claim the compensation that will make a huge difference as you face the challenges ahead.
We deal with each case with the compassion it deserves and we are sensitive to your needs throughout. We know how difficult it can be to go through something like this and this is why we aim to make the legal side of things as stress-free and straightforward as possible.
Headed by leading solicitor Eddie Jones, our clinical negligence team also includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence and the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitor panel. The stringent criteria for membership for both panels ensures a high level of knowledge, skills, experience and practice in the area of clinical negligence.