Can I Claim For A Brain Injury?
The human brain is arguably the most amazing creation to ever come out of nature.
It has a storage capacity roughly equivalent to 2.5 petabytes (or 2.5 million gigabytes) and can carry out 50 independent processes at any given time. Not to mention the thousands of signal inputs it can interpret at any given moment.
Not bad for something that’s smaller than a rugby ball and only requires 20 watts of power to run.
By any measure, the human brain is remarkable.
Which is why a brain injury can be devastating.
What Constitutes a Brain Injury?
A brain injury, in its simplest sense is a non-degenerative, non-congenital insult to the brain. Or, to put it another way, harm to the brain caused by something other than a genetic defect or a degenerative condition such as dementia.
A brain injury is caused by external factors – excluding contracted disease.
Typically there are exceptions – such as a stroke or complications resulting from cardiac arrest. Although there may be contributing factors – such as diet or stress – they are emergency conditions that can cause brain injury. However, if treated soon enough, the individual can make a full – or very close to full – recovery.
Minor Brain Injuries
Roughly 75-80% of all head injuries fall into the minor brain injury category and are caused by everyday accidents like hitting your head getting in the car, clipping a low doorway or slipping over.
Whatever the cause, the resulting injury is usually minor. However, this classification includes mild concussion and brief instances of unconsciousness. Needless to say, any head injury with persistent symptoms should be checked by a medical professional.
Medical Brain Injuries
Medical brain injuries are classified as any brain injury caused by a medical procedure, improper medical care or incorrect medical advice.
These are fairly broad terms but so are the circumstances under which a medical brain injury can occur.
Essentially, a medical brain injury is a brain injury that can be directly attributed to negligence on the part of a medical practitioner, be they a doctor, surgeon or nurse.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are injuries sustained to the brain by an external force. These injuries cover serious harm resulting from a bad fall at home, an incident in the workplace, a major traffic collision or an assault. There are other instances but these are the most common circumstances.
Severe traumatic brain injury can include an extended period of unconsciousness (6 hours or more) and/or a period of post traumatic amnesia of up to 24 hours. Both are clear signs that the brain has sustained some form of damage.
Claiming for a Brain Injury
In some cases you can claim for a brain injury that you or an immediate family member has sustained.
In the first instance you need to show that someone was – at least partly – at fault for causing your injuries, whether that was on the road or on the operating table. Unfortunately – unless you can prove a stroke or heart attack was the result of neglect by a third party – there’s not much you can do about a so called ‘act of God’.
Assuming you can identify a person or organisation at fault then the next things to consider are the circumstances, severity of the injury and the side effects the individual experiences.
However, if the damage is temporary there is a good chance that any claim you bring against those responsible won’t get very far.
The fact of the matter is – to stand a chance in the event of a trial – you or the person you are representing needs to have suffered a severe and enduring brain injury that has resulted in physical, cognitive and emotional damage.
You also need to be able to prove accountability on the part of the person or persons you believe are responsible.
This is relatively easy in the event of a medical brain injury as your procedure or the incident leading to your injury will be on record. You can also make a formal complaint against the hospital – in most cases an NHS hospital – which should provide you with a summary report of what went wrong.
In all cases where a severe brain injury has been sustained and you believe you have a case against those responsible, the first thing you should do is get legal advice.
A good solicitor will advise you on the strength of your case, your chances of success – based on all the information you have available and the impact of the injury – and the process you’ll go through.
Your solicitor will support you through the process of course, but it’s important for you to fully understand what’s involved and the stress this may put on you and your family.
If you or a family member has suffered a brain injury and you believe you are entitled to compensation, contact one of ourof our Personal Injury or Medical Negligence solicitors or book a free initial chat today.