A brain injury can have a catastrophic effect on your life and that of your family. You can be rendered unable to walk, speak or carry out everyday tasks such as feeding or dressing yourself. Even if the brain injury is not serious enough to leave you paralysed, common side effects include depression and memory loss, as well as speech and concentration problems.

Jane Couch, a Partner in the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence Department at WBW Solicitors in Newton Abbot, outlines some of the common causes of brain injuries and explains how you go might go about claiming compensation if the incident that caused your injury was not your fault.

Causes of brain injuries

Some brain injuries – such as strokes, tumours, or brain inflammations such as encephalitis – occur naturally through nobody else’s fault. However, a brain injury could be sustained due to:

  • a road traffic accident;
  • a blow to the head;
  • being violently shaken;
  • a fall;
  • carbon monoxide poisoning; or
  • medical negligence – including a late or missed diagnosis or mistreatment of a brain-related condition, oxygen starvation during birth or surgery, or a badly treated infection picked up in hospital.

Establishing responsibility

To successfully bring a compensation claim, you need to show that another person was responsible for your injury. This entails proving that they owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty and that you suffered harm as a result.

In many cases, such as a road traffic accident, a person would be found negligent if their actions fell below the standards of what a reasonable person would do in the same situation.

If your claim involves medical negligence, however, the ‘Bolam test’ applies. This states that a doctor is negligent if she or he fails to act in accordance with a practice that is considered acceptable by a responsible body of doctors.

How a solicitor can help

You should seek legal advice as soon as possible after your have sustained your brain injury. A specialist personal injury lawyer will quickly assess your case and let you know whether you have a valid claim.

They will help you gather the evidence you need to strengthen your case – such as medical records and witness accounts – and refer you to a medical expert(s)  who will assess the effect your injury has had on your life.

Your lawyer will be with you every step of the way, striving to negotiate you the out-of-court settlement you deserve or guiding you through the process if your case has to go to court.

The compensation you receive will vary depending on the severity of your injury and the effect it has on your life, but could include damages for:

  • pain and suffering;
  • loss of earnings;
  • additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
  • out-of-pocket expenses;
  • adaptations required to your home.

For further information, please contact Jane Couch in the Personal Injury Team on 01626 202413 or email janecouch@wbw.co.uk.  WBW Solicitors has offices in Newton Abbot, Torquay, Paignton, Bovey Tracey, Exeter, Launceston, Honiton Exmouth and Sidmouth.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.