25/11/2011

Ableize Shortlisted - Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year

As the owner of Ableize I was shortlisted as Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year but sadly never made it through to the top three, not sure how long the shortlist applicants will remain on the Leonard Cheshire Disability site but for those that want to waste a few minutes at their time my profile along with other Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year shortlisted applicants can be found here

The award is organised by Stelios, owner of EasyJet and is in its fifth year and offers 50 K to the winner with two runners-up receiving 1K each to help with growing their business.

Shame I didn't make it I was going to invite you all to the pub!

13/11/2011

Life's a Bitch - Then You Need a Stairlift

This week I finally bit the bullet and had to give in and admit that I'm no longer safe to climb the stairs, basically I had three options. 1 move from my lovely four-bedroom house that I'm proud of and worked hard to get. 2 continue struggling on the stairs knowing that one day I would inevitably fall. 3 install a pesky stairlift.

Having already upped my life insurance I have finally given in and admitted that a stairlift is the only real option, don't get me wrong, stair and chair lifts are a great device but when you finally admit to needing one and having one installed it's like admitting another thing that you can no longer do, i.e. my stair climbing days are numbered, on top of this you are also giving in to the fact that you are getting older and less capable as the years to by, another hard thing to admit.

However as a tetraplegic wheelchair user with a severe spinal injury from the age of 17 and told on day one that I would never walk and then fighting just short of a year with eight hours a day full-on physiotherapy to prove the medical world wrong I am proud as well as grateful that I managed to tackle stairs as well as walk; albeit short distances up until the ripe old age of 52; as they keep telling me, it was major achievement but it doesn't make it any easier when this bleating one eyed monster assists you up the wooden hill.

09/11/2011

Making a Head Injury Claim

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.