I have had a few enquiries through Ableize directory and forum lately asking for advice about head injury claims, I'm no expert and certainly won't pretend to be so I've taken the liberty of asking a professional body to offer an insight. Details are listed below.
A head or brain injury is probably the most frightening, unpredictable and deadly type of injury. In a lot of cases, the injured are left with permanent damage and in many cases disabled as a result of head and brain injuries. Many doctors refer to these injuries as “talk and die” because many people don’t realise they are hurt, when they could actually be bleeding in the brain. This means that side effects and disabilities can see late onsets. It’s therefore imperative that anyone who suffers any sort of head injury, whether from a fall, sports injury, or car accident, seek immediate medical attention and have a doctor check for symptoms of serious injury that may change your life. Some of the symptoms to look out for are glassy eyes, confusion, nausea, headaches and unexplained tiredness.
Not only is it important for health and safety reasons to go to the hospital immediately after a head injury, but having hospital records will be very useful in the event of a future claim.
What should you look for?
It is critical that whichever lawyer you choose has the right experience in dealing with the specialised nature of brain injury claims; instructing a non specialist can mean your claim is not properly assessed.
One of the great things about the internet is that it allows you to undertake research that goes well beyond word of mouth. Finding a reputable and caring solicitors firm is vital. Local support groups may enable you to meet other victims, who may have gone through the process and can provide recommendations.
What should you expect?
Once you have identified a Solicitor ask if they offer a free of charge initial meeting at a place of your choice, so you can meet them face to face, ask them about their personal brain injury experience, and get a feel for them. You are likely to be working with this person for a considerable time, and it is vital that you can trust them, and feel confident in having them represent you.
It is normally helpful to take a trusted friend or family member with you. They can take a note, and may think of questions that don’t cross your mind.
Once you have decided upon your choice of lawyer meet with them again, and ask for their advice about the likely stages of your case, and timescales. Ask for a copy of their initial advice and their case plan in writing, so you have a document setting out the steps the lawyer anticipates taking. Of course it is not possible to plot the timeline for your case precisely at the outset, but a written outline can help you as you have something to refer back to as your claim progresses.
What can you do to help your lawyer?
There are a number of basic things you can do to help your lawyer progress your case. Ask at the outset what information they would like from you. This could include payslips, invoices for expenses you have incurred, diaries outlining care needs, medical appointments and improvements etc. Respond to their letters or enquiries are soon as you are able. Remember to tell them if you change your email address or phone number. You’ll be surprised how often this doesn’t happen. These simple things can save your lawyer time, and help them to quantify your claim.
This post was prepared for Ableize on request by Joanne Berry, who works for UK based Solicitors Pannone. Pannone are specialists in head injury services.