You can sustain a head injury in many different circumstances, such as road traffic accidents, accidents at work, sports trauma or after a slip, trip or fall. Injuries can range from minor cuts and lacerations to severe skull fractures or concussions that might also affect the brain.
If you or someone you love suffered a head injury without being at fault, you might be entitled to make a head injury claim. You can usually start a claim within three years of your accident, but you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible if you suspect someone else might be responsible for your trauma.
If your solicitor believes you have a valid claim for head injury compensation, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement. This way, you can have a solicitor represent your case without worrying about any upfront fees, and you are financially protected if you lose your claim.
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 head injury claim and answer any questions you may have.
Can I make a head injury claim?
A brief conversation with a legal adviser is the fastest and most reliable way to find out if your circumstances allow you to make a head injury claim. However, as a rule of thumb, you might be eligible for compensation if:
- You had an accident in the last three years
- Another party owed you a duty of care, which they breached by acting negligently
- Their negligence directly caused you to suffer a head injury
You will need relevant evidence to prove that another party was responsible for your accident and to confirm the extent of the injury you suffered. Even if you feel you have no proof to support your claim, your solicitor will work on your behalf and gather relevant evidence to build a strong case.
You should try to collect as much evidence as you can after your accident, which, depending on the circumstances of your accident, might include:
- Medical records that will prove you sought medical attention for your injuries. These will include a full assessment of your injury, any treatment or medication you received and the recovery prospects.
- Photographs of the accident scene, capturing the source of your injury. This could be the scene of a road traffic accident, a wet floor that was not signposted or an obstructed walking surface that caused you to trip and fall.
- Pictures of your injuries after the accident and a photographic record of your recovery process.
- CCTV footage of how the accident took place, when available. Many public places have CCTV recording, and a lot of vehicles have integrated dash cams. It could be possible that your accident got recorded on camera, which can be significant evidence to support your claim.
- Contact details of any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
- Contact details of any other individuals involved in the accident and their insurance details when possible.
- Accident reports. If you suffer an injury at work or in a privately owned business, there should be an accident report book available to enter details of your accident. Ask for a signed copy of the report as future evidence in your claim.
- Keep track of all the expenses and lost wages related to your injury.
If you have valid evidence to show that your injury occurred in the last three years due to someone else’s negligence, you probably have a strong claim for head injury compensation.
You should contact a solicitor as soon as possible, while the details of your accident are still fresh and you don’t risk losing any of the relevant evidence.
Common types of head injuries
Suffering a head injury can cause a lot of worry and distress to you and your family. Even if the initial trauma does not feel serious, you can still develop more concerning symptoms later. Some signs that your head injury may have also affected your brain may appear days or even weeks after the accident.
Head injuries occur after trauma to the scalp or skull. They range from minor cuts, bumps and bruises to severe skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Even a minor wound might need stitches, which could leave lifelong scars.
If somebody else acted negligently, causing you to suffer a head injury, you could make a head injury claim against them. Common types of head injuries for which you could claim compensation include:
Bumps and bruises
There are many blood vessels in the forehead and scalp region. A light blow or jolting collision might cause bleeding under the skin, resulting in swelling and bruising. Even a minor bump can cause significant swelling, but it rarely results in serious injury.
If you have no other symptoms like a worsening headache, balance problems, confusion or memory loss, it’s unlikely that you suffered a severe injury. But if in doubt, you should always get a head injury checked by a doctor.
Cuts and lacerations
Blunt trauma to the head or a forceful impact with a sharp surface or object can result in minor or more severe tears in the skin and underlying tissues. Scalp lacerations are diverse from those in other parts of the face or body.
Because the scalp is stretched over the skull, that makes it more prone to lacerations. Due to the abundant blood supply to the head, scalp lacerations can result in significant blood loss, even from minor cuts. It’s essential to remove any visible object from the wound and apply pressure for at least 15 minutes.
If the victim is feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or loses consciousness, they might have gone into shock. This is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical intervention.
Lacerations often need to be closed by suturing, hair apposition or using surgical staples. This will probably leave a permanent scar, which may cause emotional distress and affect a person’s professional opportunities.
Concussions are the most common type of head injury. A forceful blow to the head due to a fall or a car crash can cause the brain to jar or shake, hitting the walls of the skull. This movement can damage brain cells and lead to chemical changes in the brain.
A concussion may cause an instant loss of awareness for a few minutes up to a few hours after the accident. The symptoms are usually temporary, but repeated concussions can cause permanent damage.
It takes an extremely strong blow to the head to cause a skull fracture. Because, unlike most bones, the skull has no bone marrow, this makes it very strong and difficult to break.
It’s not always easy to see a skull fracture with the naked eye. Warning signs and symptoms include facial bruising, blood or cerebrospinal fluid leaking from the nose or ears and swelling and tenderness around the impact area.
There are several types of skull fractures:
- Closed, if the skin isn’t cut or broken
- Open, if the bone emerges through the skin
- Depressed, when the skull extends into the brain cavity
- Basal, if there’s a break at the base of the skull, near the eyes, ears or the top of the neck
- Linear, if there’s a break in the bone, but it does not change position
Some types of skull fractures might not require any interventions, while others will need surgery to repair. A brain injury can accompany the fracture, but that’s not always the case.
Head injuries can be caused by any type of trauma and can have minor to severe consequences. If the injury is superficial, you might only get some swelling and bruising, but sometimes even a light impact can give rise to complications such as:
- Headaches, nausea and fatigue
- Vomiting and nausea
- Weakness or numbness in the limbs
- Loss of consciousness
- Balance problems
- Memory loss or mood changes
If you develop any of these symptoms, you should get immediate medical assistance. If your head injury also affected the brain, you could suffer permanent damage without prompt medical intervention.
Common causes of head injury claims?
You could sustain a head injury in many different ways. If someone else breached their duty of care towards you by acting negligently, causing you harm, you might be entitled to make a head injury claim. Common situations in which you might be able to claim compensation include:
Road traffic accidents
Every driver owes a duty of care to car passengers and all other road users, and they must drive safely and carefully and respect traffic laws. If a driver acts negligently, causing you a head injury, you could make a head injury claim against them.
A car accident can cause anything from minor head bumps and bruises to concussions and skull fractures. If the impact is severe enough, you can suffer severe traumatic brain injuries with catastrophic consequences. You could suffer a head injury even in a low-speed collision, such as a car park accident.
If you suffer a severe head injury, you must get immediate medical assistance. Otherwise, you should take photographs of the accident scene and collect the contact and insurance details of the parties involved in the accident. These will serve as evidence if you decide to make a head injury compensation claim.
If you were involved in a road accident, you can make a claim even as a passenger or if you are the victim of a hit and run. Hit and run compensation awards are paid by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which is funded from a percentage of every driver’s premiums.
Accidents at work
According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant laws that regulate health and safety at work, employers must take all reasonable actions to keep employees safe from harm. If their negligence caused you to suffer an injury, they might be liable to pay you accident at work compensation.
Slips, trips and falls on the same level are the leading cause of injuries at the workplace, accounting for 33% of all accidents. If employers fail to enforce the health and safety regulations, you could suffer a head injury due to workplace hazards or lack of protective equipment.
Falls from a height, such as scaffolding accidents, and being struck by an object are other common causes of head injuries at work. Poorly maintained equipment, lack of protective equipment, dangerous working practices and weak risk assessments are some examples of how your employer might be responsible for your head injury.
Slips, trips and falls are common occurrences that could cause a head injury in a public place. Local councils, businesses, schools and landlords have a duty to keep the public spaces, walkways, pavements and stairs in good repair and properly maintained.
Most slips and trips occur due to uneven flooring or steps, raised pavements, wet floors or tripping hazards in walkways. If you fall and suffer a head injury, you are entitled to claim compensation from the responsible party.
You could have a slip or trip accident anywhere on a bus, in a restaurant, a supermarket, a shopping centre or on the street. You may also be able to claim compensation if your child got a head injury after falling at school, the nursery or the playground.
If you or a loved one suffered a head injury after a slip, trip or fall, your solicitor is going to help you identify the liable party so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Sadly, people fall victim to violent, unprovoked attacks on a daily basis. Other than being a very frightening and traumatic event, you can also suffer a head injury if somebody hits you with a weapon or even with their fists or feet.
If you suffered a head injury due to a violent crime, you could claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), which is part of the Ministry of Justice.
The CICA offers compensation for any personal injuries suffered as a result of violence, including assaults, sexual abuse and domestic violence. If you want to make a CICA head injury claim following an assault, you have two years from the crime date to start legal proceedings.
Being part of the military is a dangerous job, and sometimes you cannot avoid getting hurt in combat. Nonetheless, as Ministry of Defence employees, military personnel are entitled to reasonable precautions to be safe from injuries.
Proper training and equipment can do a lot in protecting military personnel from head injuries. Explosive blasts, penetrating wounds, blows to the head or collisions with objects can cause the most severe heads injuries, which might entitle you to make a head injury claim.
Military personnel can claim compensation through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within seven years from the date of injury or make a claim under civil law, in which case the three-year limitation date would apply.
High-impact or contact sports like football, boxing, horse riding, hockey or skiing can cause a wide range of head injuries. If your trauma was caused by faulty equipment, inadequate training, dangerous ground conditions or reckless tackles, you might be able to make a head injury compensation claim.
Regardless of how you suffered your injury, if another party was even partially to blame, they might have to pay you compensation for your pain and suffering. If you feel you may have a valid head injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 or request a call back to receive a free consultation with a legal adviser.
How long does a head injury claim take?
Every claim is different, and the time it will take for you to receive compensation will depend on several factors. After you contact a solicitor, they will let you know if you have a valid head injury claim and might be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take to settle, based on your unique situation.
From the time your solicitor accepts your case, it might take a minimum of 3 to 4 months for them to gather all the required evidence to make a successful claim. If you need a report from a medicolegal expert, this can add to the time needed to prepare the claim.
After you send a claim notification form (CNF) to the party identified as liable for your injury, they will usually have 21 days to acknowledge your claim and another three months to investigate the circumstances.
By this stage of claiming, it might take a maximum of 8 to 9 months to receive a letter of response from the defendant. If they accept liability for your head injury, your claim will settle faster. Your solicitor will begin negotiating a compensation amount. If they can reach a settlement, your damages will be paid shortly afterwards.
If the defendant denies liability or does not agree to your compensation requests, you will have to issue court proceedings. It might take up to a year to get a court date, so your claim will take significantly longer.
If you go to court, you will have to argue your case before a judge, who will assess liability and decide on a compensation award that will be paid shortly after by the defendant’s insurance company. It is, nonetheless, highly unlikely you will have to go to court, as over 95% of claims reach an out of court settlement.
According to data from the Ministry of Justice, CICA and MIB, it usually takes:
- 4 to 9 months to settle a road traffic accident claim
- 3 to 4 months to conclude a MIB claim
- 12 to 18 months to reach a CICA claim settlement
- 6 to 9 months to settle a work accident or public liability claim
How much compensation will I get for a head injury?
If you suffer a head injury, you might need treatment, medication and even hospitalisation. After a severe injury, you could even need physiotherapy to help with coordination or weakness problems that might arise from your trauma.
These can involve a substantial amount of money for medical services, physical therapy, cost of care and travelling to appointments. You might even have to take time off work, which might result in lost wages.
Apart from financial losses, head injuries can cause a lot of pain and suffering. This can cause stress and emotional trauma, which might affect your mental wellbeing, social interactions and the overall quality of your life.
You deserve compensation for all that you have endured. The amount you might be entitled to receive will depend on the circumstances and extent of your injury, the pain and suffering it caused you and all the financial losses you incurred as a result.
Your solicitor will consider all the ways in which your life was affected by the head injury and calculate a suitable compensation amount. The Judicial College offers guidelines that solicitors and courts use to award compensation. According to these guidelines, you could get:
- £1,760 to £11,200 for minor skull fractures that require some medical treatment but involve no brain injury
- £18,980 to £32,210 for a more severe skull fracture with permanent scarring
- £12,210 to £37,760 for a fractured skull and a related concussion
- Up to £354,260 for skull injuries leading to severe brain trauma
- £1,450 to £8,400 for a minor concussion
- £10,000 to £28,250 for mild concussions with some long-term effects
- £144,000 to £185,000 for a moderately severe concussion with long-term symptoms that might affect your daily life
- £1,890 to £6,870 for minor laceration injuries
- Up to £91,910 for severe lacerations causing permanent, extensive scarring
- Around £4,380 for mental anguish
- £56,180 to £94,470 for severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that might permanently affect your life
Can I make a no win no fee head injury compensation claim?
If you were involved in an accident that caused you a head injury, you might want to claim compensation for your physical, mental and financial damages. A head injury claim can provide you with the support you need to return to your daily life.
However, you might worry about getting involved in a legal process and investing a lot of time and money without having the certainty you will win the case. Fortunately, a brief conversation with a legal adviser can let you know if you might have a valid claim for compensation.
If your case seems solid, your solicitor will offer to represent you on a no win no fee agreement. This is the best way to make a claim without worrying about upfront fees and hidden charges. Furthermore, you won’t have to pay anything even if you end up losing.
A conditional fee agreement involves an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy that your solicitor will take on your behalf at the beginning of the claiming process. This insurance provides complete coverage for legal fees and expenses if your head injury claim turns out to be unsuccessful.
You will only have to pay a success fee to your solicitor if you receive compensation. The success fee is an agreed percentage of the compensation amount, always lower than 25% of your award that covers your solicitor’s services. This will be discussed with you right at the beginning, so everything is upfront and transparent.
How long do I have to make a claim for a head injury?
Usually, you have three years from the date of your accident to start a head injury compensation claim. This is known as the claim limitation date, after which your case becomes time-barred, and you can no longer pursue legal action.
If you don’t develop symptoms right away, the three-year countdown will begin on the date of knowledge of your injury. This is the day you noticed the signs and symptoms of a head injury, and you sought medical advice.
There are other circumstances where the three-year limitation date does not apply:
- A litigation friend, usually a parent or a guardian, can claim head injury compensation on behalf of a child at any point before they turn 18, regardless of when the accident took place. After turning 18, the victim has another three years to pursue a claim.
- According to the Mental Capacity Act 2005, a litigation friend can claim compensation on behalf of a victim who lacks the mental capacity to conduct legal proceedings at any point. The three-year countdown begins if they regain their intellectual ability.
- Military personnel have up to seven years to start a head injury compensation claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). If they decide to make a civil claim, they will be bound by the three-year limitation date.
- Victims of a violent attack can claim compensation through the CICA within two years from the day they suffered a head injury.
- You can make a head injury claim following an accident that happened abroad, but the limitation date varies between countries, and it could be as short as six months.
Due to the extensive time needed to collect evidence and prepare all the legal documents, it is advised you seek legal advice as soon as possible. This way, you might receive head injury compensation within less than a year after your accident.