The human brain is one of the largest and most complex organs. It is the central organ of the nervous system, controlling most of the activities in the body. The signs and symptoms of a brain injury may be physical, sensory, cognitive, behavioural or mental.
Brain injuries can be traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic brain injuries are usually due to blows to the head or forceful impacts. Even a minor brain injury can temporarily disrupt your life, while severe injuries may cause irreversible damage, permanent complications and even death.
The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, falls and criminal assaults. As long as you were not entirely responsible for your accident, you might be eligible to make a brain injury claim and receive compensation for your injuries.
Non-traumatic injuries may be due to strokes, oxygen deprivation, infections, tumours or poisoning. If your brain injury was caused or aggravated by medical negligence, you could claim brain injury compensation either from the NHS or a private medical provider.
A brain injury can be devastating to the victim and their family. If the long-term effects are catastrophic, they may need permanent care and assistance. Aside from pain and suffering, this may involve substantial economic costs. You could claim compensation on behalf of a loved one if they lost their mental capacity because of their injury.
If you feel you may have a valid brain injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser. If they believe you have a fair chance of success, you will likely be able to claim on a no win no fee basis. This means there are no upfront costs, and if your solicitor is unable to win your case, you won’t pay them a penny.
Can I make a brain injury claim?
The most straightforward way to learn if the circumstances of your accident allow you to make a brain injury claim is by calling a personal injury solicitor. They will ask you questions about how you sustained your injury to determine if another party might be liable to pay you compensation.
Usually, you should be eligible for a claim if:
- Another party owed you a duty of care.
- They breached their duty by acting negligently.
- You suffered an injury as a result.
Depending on how you suffered an injury, the liable party might be:
- A driver, rider or another road user who acted carelessly and caused a road traffic accident
- Your employer, if they breached the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and failed to take all reasonable measures to provide a safe working environment
- The local council, if you suffered a brain injury due to a poorly maintained public place
- A manufacturing company, if your accident was due to a faulty product
- A business owner, if they failed to maintain their premises and you had an accident in a shop, restaurant, supermarket or another privately-owned place
- A healthcare professional, if they caused you a brain injury or the worsening of a pre-existing condition by providing substandard medical care
- Another individual, if you were the victim of a violent attack or a dog bite
After identifying the liable party, you will need relevant evidence to support your brain injury claim. This could be:
- Medical records of your injuries, stating the treatments you received and long-term prognosis
- Photographs of the accident site, capturing the exact cause of your injury
- When appropriate, pictures of your injuries and recovery process
- Contact details of anyone else involved in the accident, license and insurance details of drivers
- Contact details of any witnesses to the accident
- CCTV or dash cam footage
- Accident reports from the police, especially if you were involved in a hit and run accident or violent assault
- A signed copy of the logbook accident report you should file if you suffer an injury at work
- Your written notes about how the accident occurred and how it affected your life
- Evidence of any financial expenses you incurred because of your accident
- A medical report from an independent medical visit your solicitor will arrange for you
What are the leading causes of brain injuries?
A brain injury could be caused by any blow or forceful trauma to the head, but also by non-traumatic factors like infections, stroke or undiagnosed medical conditions. The most common causes that could lead to a brain injury claim include:
Road traffic accidents
Although road accidents are mostly preventable, 1,516 people were killed, and over 22,000 suffered severe injuries in 2020 in the UK. The leading causes of accidents on UK roads include failure to look properly, reckless driving, poor road conditions and speeding.
Vulnerable road users like pedestrians, motorcycle riders and cyclists are the most susceptible to brain injuries due to the limited protection they have. You could still claim brain injury compensation through the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB) if you were involved in a hit and run or a collision with an uninsured driver.
Accidents at work
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Work at Height Regulations 2005 and other relevant legislation, your employer should take all reasonable measures to keep you safe from injuries.
There are many circumstances in which you could suffer a brain injury at work:
- A slip, trip and fall on the same level due to floor defects or lack of good housekeeping
- Falls from a height caused by faulty equipment, scaffolding accidents or lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Machinery accidents due to lack of proper maintenance or safety measures
- Forklift accidents due to unsafe environments or lack of training
- Being struck by an object
Every employer must have Employers’ Liability (EL) insurance against any personal injuries of employees. If you suffered an accident at work, you could claim brain injury compensation without worrying that this will affect your employer, as the insurance policy pays out the compensation award for a successful claim.
A slip, trip and fall
Local councils and business owners must take all reasonable measures to keep public places in good condition and safe for visitors. If you slip or trip, you may hit your head on the ground or an object while falling, which may result in a traumatic brain injury. Falls from a height caused by broken stairs or handrails can cause severe injuries and even death.
Delayed or misdiagnosis of brain tumours, meningitis, viral or bacterial infections, stroke or aneurysms can have devastating consequences on the integrity and functionality of the brain. Incorrect administration of medicine or anaesthesia can also have severe side effects leading to permanent brain injuries.
If your healthcare provider failed to provide a reasonable standard of care and treatment, you could make a medical negligence claim for your injury. Your solicitor will help you prove breach of duty and causation in order to make a successful claim.
Head and brain injuries are commonplace in sports such as football, rugby, hockey and many others where collisions between players are inevitable. Skiing, gymnastics, horse riding and other sports where you may fall from a height are even more likely to cause a severe brain injury if an accident occurs.
According to statistics, former football players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia compared to the general population. Even heading a football repeatedly over many years may ultimately cause damage to the brain.
You might think that it is always your fault if you have a sports accident, but poorly maintained facilities, faulty equipment or poor training may entitle you to compensation in some circumstances. If in doubt, it is always worth speaking to a solicitor to find out if you have a valid claim.
Being assaulted without any provocation is definitely a very distressing and traumatic event. A violent assault, especially with a weapon, can cause severe damage to your brain, and firearms may especially cause devastating penetrating wounds.
If you or a loved one sustained a brain injury as a result of a violent crime, you could claim compensation via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.
Exposure to heavy metals like manganese, adverse effects of prescription drugs, exposure to extreme concentrations of any natural toxin or carbon monoxide poisoning may all lead to severe long-term neurological problems.
Every year, carbon monoxide (CO) intoxication is responsible for approximately 4,000 attendances at A&E departments and around 30 deaths. Severe CO exposure can quickly lead to seizures, coma and death. If your landlord, building owner or business failed to take all reasonable measures to protect you from exposure to the deadly gas, you might be entitled to a brain injury claim.
Being part of the military can be dangerous, but military personnel are entitled to reasonable precautions to be kept safe from injuries. Proper training and equipment are essential to protect soldiers from bullet penetration, violent impacts or shock waves from explosions.
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, you could claim military injury compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years from the date of injury or make a claim under civil law within three years.
Regardless of how you suffered a brain injury, if another party was at fault, a personal injury solicitor can help you claim the compensation you deserve. To start your claim, speak to a trained legal adviser by calling 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation.
What types of brain injury could result in a claim?
Traumatic brain injuries usually result from a violent blow or jolt to the head or penetration wounds. Non-traumatic injuries like infections or poisoning can also affect brain function and integrity. Usually, the symptoms of a brain injury are similar to traumatic and non-traumatic injuries and include cognitive, sensory, physical and behavioural manifestations like:
- Reduced awareness
- Memory loss
- Difficulty speaking and understanding others
- Impaired decision making
- Changes in vision, hearing or sense of touch
- Balance issues and spatial disorientation
- Persistent headaches
- Extreme physical and mental fatigue
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of consciousness
- Irritability and reduced tolerance for stress
- Increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation
There are different types of traumatic brain injuries you could claim compensation for, including:
Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head but could also be due to violent shaking of the head or upper body. Some concussions can cause loss of consciousness, but most do not. The symptoms can be subtle and may not show up immediately, and could last for days, weeks or longer. These include:
- Headaches and ringing in the ears
- Blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue, dizziness and confusion
- Slurred speech and delayed response to questions
- Forgetfulness and concentration problems
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Personality changes
You should see a doctor as soon as possible after experiencing head trauma, even if you do not recognise any signs or symptoms of a brain injury.
A brain contusion is a bruise of the brain tissue associated with multiple micro-bleeds. This causes bleeding and swelling inside the brain area where the head was struck and can cause permanent damage to the brain tissue. The signs and symptoms range from mild to severe and include:
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty with coordination and movement
- Seizures and loss of consciousness
- Difficulty thinking, hearing or speaking
A subdural haematoma is a severe condition where blood collects between the skull and the brain surface, usually caused by a head injury. The symptoms can develop immediately after an injury or a few days or weeks after less severe trauma and include:
- A worsening headache
- Feeling sick
- Confusion and personality changes like aggressiveness or rapid mood swings
- Loss of consciousness
You should always seek immediate medical assistance after a severe head injury. A subdural haematoma carries a high risk of death and needs to be assessed as soon as possible.
An epidural haematoma is caused by bleeding between the skull and the outer brain membrane, typically after a skull fracture. Victims usually experience a brief loss of consciousness immediately after the trauma, followed by a period of alertness before the brain functions decline. The signs and symptoms include:
- Severe headache
- Nausea and vomiting
- An enlarged pupil in one eye
- Dizziness and weakness
Without immediate medical intervention, it could lead to seizures, breathing problems, loss of brain function, coma and death.
A subarachnoid haemorrhage is an uncommon type of brain injury caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain and could be caused by lifting something heavy. Usually, there are no warning signs, and the main symptoms include:
- A sudden and extremely severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Light sensitivity
- Blurred or double vision
- Stroke-like symptoms such as slurred speech and weakness on one side of the body
- Loss of consciousness or convulsions
A subarachnoid haemorrhage is a medical emergency that could cause long-term complications such as epilepsy, mood changes and problems with memory or concentration.
Diffuse axonal injury
Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI) may happen when the brain rapidly accelerates and decelerates inside the skull, such as during a car accident or during a fall. It typically causes damage to many parts of the brain and usually leads to a coma. DAI is among the most devastating and common types of traumatic brain injuries.
Open-head injuries involve an open wound to the head caused by the penetration or fracturing of the skull. These injuries could be caused by any foreign object or impact trauma forceful enough to break the skull.
Open-head injuries typically cause significant damage and swelling that could be life-threatening.
Any kind of traumatic brain injury can have debilitating and distressful short-term consequences. Severe injuries may cause permanent disability or even be fatal. If another party was responsible for your accident, you might be entitled to make a brain injury claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a brain injury?
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, you should be entitled to receive compensation for all the damages you incurred. Generally, the brain injury compensation award would cover:
Special damages or economic losses, such as:
- Short-term medical expenses like doctor’s fees, medication, diagnostic tests, hospital stay
- Long-term medical charges for physiotherapy, counselling and other medical treatments
- Cost of mobility aids
- Modifications to your home or vehicle
- Care and assistance costs
- Transportation costs to and from medical appointments
- Loss of income, including future lost wages if you are unable to return to work for a while
- Loss of earning capacity
- Any other financial expenses related to the injury
General damages or non-pecuniary, personal losses. This includes compensation for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological trauma
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of amenity
- Physical or mental impairment
- Loss of a unique career
- Loss of prospects
Calculating a suitable compensation for general damages is not a straightforward process. Your solicitor will consider how your brain injury interfered with your daily life and calculate your compensation award based on the guidelines published by the Judicial College.
Below are some of the recommended compensation levels for various brain injuries suggested by the Judicial College. This represents the award for general damages, so it does not take into account any additional financial losses such as wages or healthcare costs:
- £1,880 to £10,890 for a minor brain injury with recovery within a few weeks.
- £14,380 to £40,410 for an injury with good recovery where there is the possibility for ongoing concentration or memory problems. The upper bracket covers a small risk of epilepsy.
- £40,410 to £85,150 for moderate brain injuries affecting concentration and memory, requiring little dependency on other people.
- £85,150 to £140,870 for moderate damage to intellect, risk of suffering from epilepsy and low chances of returning to work.
- £140,870 to £205,580 involves moderate to severe damage to intellect, personality changes, elevated risk of epilepsy and sensory problems.
- £205,580 to £264,650 for severe brain damage leaving the victim physically or mentally disabled and dependent upon others.
- £264,650 to £379,100 for very severe brain damage with very little or no language function and needing full-time care and assistance.
How long do I have to make a brain injury claim?
The general rule is that you have three years after an accident to start a brain injury claim. This is known as the claim limitation date, after which your case becomes statute-barred, and you can no longer start legal proceedings.
The three-year limitation date does not apply to all claims. For example:
If your brain injury became apparent later after your accident, you have three years from when you received a diagnosis to start a claim.
If you want to claim brain injury compensation on behalf of a child, you can start legal proceedings at any time before they turn 18. The three-year countdown only begins when they become an adult and are considered legally capable of conducting a claim.
If a loved one lost their mental capacity due to a brain injury, you or another litigation friend could represent them in a claim without being bound by a time limit.
Under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a litigation friend can claim compensation on behalf of a protected party at any moment. A protected party is any individual who cannot conduct legal proceedings due to:
- High levels of stress
- An intellectual disability such as Down syndrome or autism
- A severe mental disorder like schizophrenia or depression
- A neurodegenerative disease
- Severe sleep deprivation
In the case of a fatal brain injury, you could claim brain injury compensation within three years after your loved one passed away.
If you or a loved one were affected by a brain injury after a criminal assault, you have two years from the incident to claim compensation through the CICA.
You could also claim compensation for an injury that happened abroad. The claim limitation date can vary significantly between countries and may be as short as six months.
To make sure you do not miss your chance to claim brain injury compensation, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. Starting your claim early also makes it easier to collect evidence to support your case. Furthermore, your solicitor can arrange specialist treatment to make sure you make the best recovery possible.
Can I make a no win no fee brain injury claim?
Suffering a brain injury can be a traumatic and life-changing event for the victim and their loved ones. Even a mild concussion could take weeks or months to recover from. More severe injuries may be extremely debilitating and cause significant permanent damage.
If another party was responsible for your harm, you might want to claim compensation for all the pain, suffering and financial losses you’ve incurred. However, you might be reluctant about investing a lot of time and money into a brain injury claim without having the certainty of a win.
Fortunately, a free consultation with a legal adviser can let you know your chances of success. If a solicitor believes you have a valid claim, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement. This means you do not have to pay anything if your claim isn’t successful.
In no win no fee claims, you are financially protected by the After the Event (ATE) insurance policy your solicitor will take out on your behalf. If you lose the claim, the ATE insurance covers all of your legal costs and expert fees, and you won’t have to pay any out of pocket expenses.
If you receive compensation, the defendant has to pay most of your claiming fees; you may only have to cover some basic expenses that cannot be recovered from the other side. You will also have to pay the cost of the ATE premium and a success fee for your solicitor’s services.
The success fee cannot exceed 25% of your compensation, and you will agree to it at the beginning of the claim. There are no upfront fees or hidden charges, making no win no fee the favourite way of funding a brain injury claim.
Can I make a brain injury claim on behalf of someone else?
The Court of Protection Rules 2007 states that you could act as a litigation friend on behalf of a child or a protected party if:
- You can fairly and competently represent them
- You have no conflict of interest with the victim
Becoming a litigation friend is a long-time commitment that brings several responsibilities such as:
- Approve and sign legal documents
- Pay any costs incurred during the claiming process
- Consult and give directions to the legal adviser
- Make decisions about the claim
- Consider any compensation offers
To represent a child or protected party, you must fill in and serve a certificate of suitability explaining your decision. If you want to propose another person as a litigation friend, you need to send evidence to the court that they are willing, suitable and competent for the role.
The responsibilities of a litigation friend end when the victim receives compensation, when a child turns 18, or if they have a valid reason to petition the court for a replacement.
You could make a brain injury claim on behalf of:
- Your child or another closely related victim who is under 18. Although you can claim on behalf of a minor, you cannot access their compensation; the money will be invested in a court bank account and released to the victim after turning 18. You could ask the court to issue early payments for medical or educational expenses you cannot otherwise cover.
- A protected party that cannot conduct legal proceedings due to suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, bipolar disorder, depression, Down syndrome or any other condition affecting their intellectual ability.
- An adult who suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury that left them incapacitated and unable to conduct legal proceedings. If they recover from their injury, you will be released from your duty as a litigation friend.
- A deceased relative who passed away due to a brain injury.
- Someone whose first language is not English and would be unable to represent themselves due to the language barrier.
How long does a brain injury compensation claim take?
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, you might want to claim compensation for all the damages you incurred as a result. The time it might take from when you contact a solicitor until your claim concludes can vary significantly, depending on:
- The type and severity of the injury or illness you suffered
- The circumstances of the accident or negligent treatment you received
- Whether or not the defendant admits liability
- The estimated value of the compensation award
- The expected time it will take for you to recover
- Whether the identity of the defendant is known
- The nature of your claim
- Whether you will need to go to trial
In straightforward claims, where you suffered a mild brain injury in a road traffic accident for which the defendant admits liability, you could receive compensation within 4 to 9 months.
On the other hand, if your injury was due to substandard medical care and it is difficult to estimate the long-time effects of your injury, the claim becomes much more complex and could take up to five years to settle.
After you contact a personal injury solicitor, they may take up to a minimum of 3 to 4 months to investigate your case and gather all the relevant evidence to build a strong claim. When your claim is ready, your solicitor will send a claim notification form to the defendant, who will have up to 4 months to investigate the case and send a letter of response.
If the other party admits responsibility for your injuries, your solicitor will start negotiating a suitable compensation award. This might take weeks, months or substantially longer. If the other party denies liability or cannot agree to an appropriate compensation award, your solicitor will have to issue court proceedings, and you might have to argue your case before a judge.
Although a trial usually lasts 3 to 5 days, it might take up to a year to receive a court date. However, claims rarely reach trial, with more than 95% settling out of court.
For a free consultation with a legal adviser, call 0800 678 1410. They can let you know if you may be eligible to make a brain injury claim and how long it might take for your case to settle.