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Acquired Brain Injury - Why Your Professional Advisors Need the Right Experience

on Tuesday, 03 October 2017.

Brain injuries caused by trauma are one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions in England and Wales. Brain injuries can arise from a fall, car accident or assault, for example.

Brain injuries can also be caused by medical conditions such as infections (eg encephalitis) or by events such as cardiac arrest depriving the brain of oxygen. Aneurisms and brain haemorrhages are also potential causes of acquired brain injury.

Working with clients who have an acquired brain injury requires experience and understanding of the many effects and problems which can arise. Brain function is complex, directing movement, behaviour, communication and thinking.

The brain continues to recover from injury for up to two to three years following trauma. While there are nearly always some long term problems, the level of recovery can vary greatly. Brain injuries occurring in childhood sometimes resolve more favourably, whilst a brain injury sustained in adulthood may be harder to recover from. Although recovery is very rarely complete, some more minor brain injuries result in residual symptoms that are often difficult to spot and may be overlooked if the professional dealing with a client is not experienced in what to look for.

Problems Caused by Brain Injury

Brain injury can result in some or all of the following issues:

  • memory problems, concentration problems, difficulty with processing information, difficulty understanding and thinking logically
  • fatigue
  • difficulty with processing written information - reading and writing
  • difficulty processing verbal commands and communications

Frontal lobe brain injuries are very common. Damage to the frontal lobes can cause:

  • anxiety, irritability, mood swings, lack of self-restraint, inappropriate actions or speech
  • impulsivity
  • reduced empathy
  • reduced planning ability
  • reduced ability for multi-tasking

Working with Clients with Acquired Brain Injury

All clients with brain injury present differently to one another. It is important that clients with brain injuries and their families are given sufficient time by their professional advisors in order to establish exactly how their brain injuries are affecting them in terms of daily living, education, work and family life.

The approach to each brain injury claim should ensure that the brain injured person is at the centre of a personalised approach designed to ensure that their individual needs are met and that compensation recovered reflects the effects of brain injury on that individual in all aspects of their life.

Assessing a brain injury claim requires a substantial amount of expert evidence, but also requires very careful assessment of the individual client on a face to face basis and detailed conversations with family, who will also be aware of the way in which a brain injury has changed their relative.

Welfare Benefits

People who have suffered acquired brain injury may well also be eligible for welfare benefits during the course of their claim or after settlement. The following benefits should be considered:

  • Personal Independent Payments
  • Attendance Allowance (age 65 plus)
  • ESA - if working before the injury but now cannot work
  • Means tested ESA or Universal Credit
  • Council tax discount will be available in some circumstances

Further information about brain injury can be obtained from the following organisations:

For further information, please contact Jonathan Peacock in our Personal Injury Claims team on 0117 314 5373.

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