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Brain Injuries: Friends and Family
This video will discuss how the friends and family members of someone with a brain or head injury can be affected by their loved one’s accident, and what they can do to help.
We've already discussed the possible effects a head or brain injury can have on the injured party in our previous videos. But while it will be hard for them to come to terms with these effects, it will be equally difficult for the client’s family and friends.
Gordon: Hello, I’m Gordon Cartwright, a partner in JMW’s personal injury team, specialising in head and brain injuries. Today we are going to discuss how the friends and family members of someone with a brain or head injury can be affected by their loved one’s accident and what they can do to help. I have already discussed the possible affects a head or brain injury can have on the injured party, my client, but while it will be hard for them to come to terms with these affects, it will be equally difficult for the client’s family and friends. It is also natural for those closest to the injured party to want to play an active role in the rehabilitation process. It is fair to say that the help and support of the client’s family is invaluable and alongside specialist medical personnel they can help my client make the best possible recovery from a head injury.
Gordon: I’m always happy to meet with my client as well as their family and friends. I feel that the best recovery is made from everybody involved in the client’s life working as a team, with medical professionals, family and friends pulling together, with a specialist solicitor like me on hand, providing support and answering questions claimant’s families may not even realise they have.
Gordon: The NHS and any private medical treatment will of course offer rehabilitation support, including nurses, neurologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and psychologists, who will provide treatment in a medical facility.
Gordon: Brain injury clients can be given exercises to help improve their mood, memory or any other area that they need to be treated and often these exercises need to be undertaken on at least a daily basis. With support my clients find these tasks much easier. For example, many clients will experience issues with memory and be given aids such as diaries and iPads or exercises to help them improve. Family and friends can help to diarise daily events, provide a good sounding board for anything the client could have missed during the day, and are clearly vital in helping to explain missing gaps in their memory.
Gordon: Friends and family will also be invaluable in encouraging my client to be positive and upbeat about their situation, and working with them to lift any depressive moods they may be experiencing. Remember, brain injury often comes as a result of a trauma and positively reinforcing the injured party, particularly during the early stages of their recovery, will be very important in helping them to deal with any shock or residual stress symptoms.
Gordon: There are also cases in which my client needs more specialist help from afriend or family member. A proportion of brain injury cases are so severe that the injured party may lack the capacity to conduct proceedings. In this case they would require an individual known as a litigation friend. A litigation friend acts as a competent representative for the injured party and is able to make decisions on their behalf. A litigation friend needs to be someone with a close relationship to the injured party, often a parent, grandparent or partner who does not have a conflict of interest with the party and can act responsibly on their behalf. The addition of a litigation friend doesn’t make a difference to how I would run the claim, but does mean that if the case is settled outside of court the compensation amount needs to be approved by court at an approval hearing.
Gordon: Ultimately the road to recovery following a brain injury is not straight forward. My best advice is to stay positive, as your loved ones solicitor I am part of the support network and I can offer advice and insight from my experience gained working on other brain injury cases. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to get in contact, either through the website or on 0800 054 6078 where myself or one of my colleagues would be happy to speak with you. Thanks for watching.