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17 May 2022 | Comment | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

Acquired Brain Injury Week 2022: See the hidden me

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Paul* is like any other man in his early twenties; young, fit and healthy. Paul takes great pride in his appearance, enjoys going to the gym and spends his time with family and friends. Scratch below the surface though, and you’ll soon realise that Paul is not what he seems. Paul sustained a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of a road traffic collision when he was seventeen.

Paul’s injuries, and the day to day difficulties that he experiences as a result, are very much hidden. Paul now struggles with his memory, concentration and distractibility. His personality has changed greatly; Paul is now very rigid in thinking, impulsive and quick to lose his temper – the smallest upset can trigger a significant reaction. Paul obsesses over things these days too, whether it’s his diet, gym routine or a new item of clothing he has to have. These invisible difficulties can be extremely difficult to manage.

The ongoing symptoms of Paul’s brain injury effect not just him, but all of those around him too. His relationships have all been significantly affected, and many have broken down as a result. He can be very challenging to be around, and his family have often described feeling as though they have to walk on eggshells around him, for fear of upsetting him. He can upset them with his words, and those close to him have had to learn not to take much of what he says personally. They’ve had to learn patience and forgiveness too. Brain injury is often referred to an invisibility disability because to the outside world or those who don’t know Paul, he looks fine.

Holistic support has been provided to Paul and his family throughout his personal injury claim. Along with his legal team and family, support is provided by a specialist brain injury case manager, Court of Protection Deputy, buddy support worker, occupational therapist, neuropsychologist and neuro-physiotherapist. This support has enabled Paul to move into his own property and undertake a college course.

Paul’s claim took 5 years to settle as time was needed for his injuries to plateau and for the necessary evidence to be obtained in order to value his claim. Given Paul’s vulnerability, we shall not reveal the settlement figure, but it was a significant lump sum and annual periodical payment order which will enable Paul to fund ongoing care and support from a multi-disciplinary team of therapists which will include regular support from a buddy and case manager. The periodical payments will be paid for the remainder of Paul’s life and so he and his family feel secure in knowing that Paul will always be able to afford the care and support that he needs for as long as he lives.

The holistic support provided to date will continue and it will be managed by Paul’s Deputy who was appointed by the Court of Protection.

Speaking after the settlement, Paul’s mother had the following to say,

“Thank you for everything you have done for (Paul) and us over the past 5 years. We all appreciate everything that you and your colleagues have done for us.”

*Name has been changed to protect anonymity

Cari Sowden-Taylor (Partner) and Ellice Harding (Solicitor) represented Paul in respect of his personal injury claim. The Serious Injury Team specialises in supporting individuals who have suffered life changing brain and spinal cord injuries.

The Court of Protection team continue to support Paul and many other individuals who lack capacity to manage their financial affairs.

If you would like to obtain further information regarding the work that we do to support individuals and families after brain injury, please contact us on 029 2267 5870 or email [email protected] / [email protected].

Author bio

Cari is a Partner and Joint Head of the National Serious Injury Team, and specialises in representing adult and child claimants who have sustained life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, limb loss and polytrauma following road traffic collisions, injuries at work and assaults.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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