Dealing with a very serious head or brain injury claim can be complex and challenging.
Here, Thompsons answers some of our clients' most frequently asked questions.
Who will pay the cost of compensation?
When injuries occur as a result of a workplace incident the cost of head and brain injury claims are typically covered by the employer's Employers Liability Insurance. All Scottish employers who have one or more members of staff are legally required to have this form of cover.
In the case of head or brain injuries caused by the actions of a road user, compensation is covered by the relevant motor insurer or, in the case of uninsured drivers, the Motor Insurers Bureau.
In other cases compensation will be paid by various parties. For example, a public liability insurer in the case of a slip and trip accident in a public place or by the NHS Litigation Authority in the case of a head or brain injury caused by a medical accident.
Can I claim on behalf a family member?
It is possible to claim compensation on behalf of a family member injured in an accident caused by another party's negligence if that person has lost the mental capacity to claim independently.
Can claims be made on a No Win No Fee basis?
Thompsons is Scotland's largest personal injury firm and much of its success has been founded on the development of a No Win No Fee agreement that ensures you will have nothing to pay unless your case is successful.
If we look at your claim and determine that it has a reasonable chance of success, you can proceed under the terms of a No Win No Fee agreement.
How much compensation will be awarded?
Each claimant's case will be different so it is difficult to put a figure on any one claim.
However, claims for serious or life-changing head and brain injuries are invariably settled for larger sums than for relatively minor injuries.
By way of illustration, claims for more serious head and brain injuries will include components accounting for any specialist care or equipment that is provided as well as any rehabilitative support deemed necessary. These are referred to special damages, or patrimonial loss, as opposed to general damages (solatium) which are awarded based on the extent of the injury and the amount of pain and suffering it has caused you.
The following provides a useful guide as to head and brain injury claim compensation amounts. However, the figures apply to solatium only. Total settlements vary greatly on a case-by-case basis and will depend on a number of other factors including loss of future earnings.
- Minor head injury - £1,675 to £9,700
- Nose fracture - £1,925 to £3,875
- Cheekbone fracture - £1,775 to £12,000
- Jaw fracture - £4,900 to £23,175
- Epilepsy - £41,675 to £114,100
- Brain damage - £32,725 to £307,000
Will the case go to court?
The vast majority of head and brain injury claims are settled as a result of some kind of out-court resolution. However, claims for more long-term injuries are generally of higher value so are more likely to end up being determined in court. However, whether your case ends up in court or not, making a claim with Thompsons' No Win No Fee package in place will help ensure you are fully protected against all legal costs and financial risks.
How much will it cost to fund my claim?
Thompsons' clients have more than one funding option. However, where appropriate, No Win No Fee funding is likely to represent the best route. This means that unless you win your case, you can rest assured that you will not have to pay a single penny to fund your claim.
What are the time limits for head and brain injury claims?
The personal injury claim time limit is three years from the date of accident or, alternatively, three years from the date of diagnosis. However, in cases in which the claimant has lost mental capacity, the time limit does not begin until the time he or she regains this capacity.
Different rules also apply if the victim of the injury is a child (i.e. under 16 years old). Because they are unable to claim compensation themselves their three-year time limit will not begin until they turn 16. However a litigation friend can commence a claim on their behalf before the injust victim turns 16.
In cases where there is no expectation that the injured party will regain mental capacity in the near future, a relative or other party can make the claim on the injured party's behalf.
Can I still claim state benefits?
In many cases state benefits can still be claimed even when head and brain injury compensation has been awarded. Furthermore, Thompsons' personal injury solicitors can assist claimants in establishing a personal injury trust so that they can manage their finances in the most advantageous way possible and the funds are protected.
Can Thompsons make home visits?
Thompsons has offices throughout Scotland – in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Peebles and Galashiels – and home visits can easily be arranged for less mobile clients.
Is it possible to seek early interim payments for urgent priorities?
If the defendant has admitted some level of liability it may be possible to obtain an interim settlement so that the pursuer (claimant) can make provision for his or her most immediate and pressing needs. After all, a head and brain injury case can take years to be settled, and waiting this long for compensation is simply not an option for most people.
It is understandable that you should want only the very best treatment to help you readjust, but the best treatments are also the most expensive. When your injury has been caused by another's negligence, we don't think your chances of recovery should be restricted by finances. Our lawyers will help make sure, whenever appropriate, that you receive the necessary interim payments so that you can have access to the rehabilitation services most suited to you.
How is liability proven?
Most accident claims are proven on the basis of medical records, witness statements and official workplace health and safety documentation. In the event of a workplace accident or road traffic incident, any investigation which leads to a prosecution will also prove useful in the event of a compensation claim.
What if I was partially liable for the accident?
A common concern among the victims of personal injury is that they may feel they've been partially responsible for the accident and therefore may not have a valid claim to make. While it's possible that your actions could have contributed to your injury – for instance, if you were involved in a car accident that was largely the fault of the other driver, but you weren't wearing a seatbelt – you should not let this stop you from making a claim.
Your actions do not change the fact that the law places a heavy burden on the driver whose negligence caused the accident in the first place. Before any of the blame is placed on you, the other party must prove, with evidence, that your actions amounted to negligence, not of inadvertence. This is not an easy thing to do, but if they are able to prove it, it will then be up to the courts to decide how much of the liability you share and split the compensation accordingly. For example, if you are found to be 50 percent responsible for your injuries you will receive 50 percent of the damages you would have otherwise received; if you are found to be 75 percent responsible you will receive 25 percent of the damages you would have otherwise received.
Can you claim if you live outside of Scotland?
Yes. Many of our claimants live in other part of the UK and abroad in locations such as France, South Africa and Australia. If you lived or worked in Scotland before you moved away, you can bring a claim for compensation in the usual way.
How do I make a head or brain injury claim with Thompsons?
The team of personal injury solicitors at Thompsons has extensive experience dealing with the complex claims arising head and brain injuries.
Whether you have been injured yourself or you are enquiring on behalf of a family member, to find out more about making a claim, just call Thompsons today on 0800 0891 331 or use our contact form to tell us a bit about your circumstances so that we can call you back at a time to suit you.