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Brain injury claims

At Hugh James, we have experienced lawyers who specialise in handling Brain injury claims. We are authorised members of Headway’s personal injury solicitors list and comply with their Code of Conduct.

Thousands of people each year in the UK sustain a brain injury, leaving them permanently affected. A severe injury can lead to very significant physical and mental impairment, including:

  • Personality changes
  • Speech problems
  • Memory loss

We know that a serious injury affects not only the individual, but also their families and friends. To speak to our specialist, Manchester-based head injury lawyers today, call us on 0800 027 2557, or complete the online enquiry form on the side of this page.

Contact us

If, as a result of a serious brain injury, you are left unable to manage your own affairs, it is likely a Deputy would be appointed by the Court of Protection to manage your finances for you. At Hugh James, we specialise in Court of Protection matters.

At the conclusion of your claim, we will help you get proper financial advice so you can protect your brain injury claim compensation award for years to come.

For advice about brain injury claims, call us on 0800 027 2557, or allow our specialist brain injury solicitors to contact you by filling in the online enquiry form.


How We Can Help

At Hugh James, we understand the devastating effect that a brain injury can have on all aspects of your life. Rehabilitation is vitally important, with the greatest progress often made in the first six months after injury. But it does not stop there. Improvements can still take place many months or even years after injury. We can help secure rehabilitation for you, and should you not fully recover, compensation can help to achieve financial security for individuals and families.

Our lawyers are consistently ranked in the top tiers by independent legal guides, such as Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, recognised as leaders in personal injury and catastrophic injury litigation.

We understand that making a compensation claim after a brain injury can appear a very confusing process. It can be a very difficult time for people after such a serious injury. We will:

  • Investigate the circumstances of your accident quickly and handle your claim efficiently
  • Keep our advice to you as clear and as straightforward as possible
  • Help to guide you through the practical problems that you are faced with immediately after your brain injury and as you progress

Compensation for such injuries often reaches millions of pounds. It is important that every area of your claim is properly investigated and valued. As well as your physical and mental impairments, we will investigate:

  • The cost of your future care
  • Your loss of future earnings
  • The cost of providing you with special equipment
  • Your welfare benefit entitlement
  • The cost of your future accommodation needs

What areas do we cover?

Our Manchester serious injury team covers Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales. We can help you if you live in or around:

  • Greater Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Chester
  • Crewe
  • Cumbria
  • Preston
  • Warrington
  • Lancaster
  • Wigan

Although we’re based in central Manchester, our solicitors can come to you if that’s more convenient. We would always favour face-to-face meetings which can be at your home but we can also meet you virtually using video calling services, if preferred.

About our brain injury claims team in Manchester

Our team of brain injury lawyers in Manchester comprises 7 partners and 7 additional lawyers. We are known for our rigorous approach to litigation and meticulous attention to detail. Considered formidable opponents, we possess strong advocacy skills and maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards Defendant delays. We have a history of taking on highly challenging cases that other firms have turned down.



Where is the Manchester office?

Our Manchester office is based in the city centre, a stone’s throw away from Deansgate Square. The office can be accessed easily by public transport or car, with parking available nearby.

Manchester office address
Hugh James
12 Commercial Street
Manchester
M15 4PZ


Otis’ story

In October 2006, seven-year-old Otis sustained a traumatic brain injury after being struck by a speeding car while retrieving a football. The driver was using a residential road as a shortcut, increasing the risk of accidents in an area where children were likely to be playing. Initially, liability was heavily contested but was ultimately conceded before trial, with judgment entered for 100% of the damages to be assessed by the court.

Due to Otis’s young age, the brain injury had a severe impact, and he was not expected to make a full recovery. Despite his reluctance to acknowledge his disabilities, claiming he was similar to other young men his age, it was evident that Otis required significant support.

We worked with Otis and his family to establish a rehabilitation and support system aimed at enhancing his quality of life and gathering evidence of his long-term needs. Our team collected lay and expert evidence that highlighted substantial functional, cognitive, and behavioural challenges affecting Otis’s employment prospects, daily life management, and financial affairs, confirming the need for more support than he admitted.

In March 2021, the claim was settled for £6.5 million, securing the necessary support and resources for Otis’s future.

Read more about Otis’ story here.

Alison Hartley, Partner within our Serious Injury team, acted for Otis and said:

‘’This very sad case demonstrates the importance of persistent and prolonged observation of a young client’s circumstances and the need to look beyond the picture the client wishes to paint of him/herself and his abilities in order to achieve the correct result.

Careful attention to the evidence was the key to achieving a pleasing outcome that will ensure Otis has ongoing access to the support he requires to provide him with the quality of life he deserves.’’

*The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

View more stories


Your questions answered

Everything about us as individuals is controlled by the brain; how we talk, how we move, what we say and how we feel. It also enables us to express ourselves as it controls our emotions.

So what happens when the brain is injured? Whether it is through a road traffic accident or a knock to the head due to an assault, we deal with clients who have sustained a brain injury through a wide range of personal injury cases.

The brain could also be injured through the negligence of a medical professional during surgery, for example. There are many possible causes of a brain injury, and the effects of the injury  will vary depending on the severity and location of the brain injury.

Frontal Lobe

This is the part of the brain that controls emotion, behaviour and tolerance. If this area is directly damaged, it can cause extreme emotional mood swings.

A person’s ability to manage frustrations is often affected, so they can lash out and easily become angry over something minor.

The frontal lobe controls our ability to monitor and adjust our behaviour accordingly. If this area of the brain is damaged, it could alter the individual’s levels of empathy and sensitivity towards others are likely to be altered.

After a brain injury to the frontal lobe, a person may experience a lack of motivation and spontaneity in interacting with others. The ability to plan ahead can also be affected, which can lead to isolation, particularly if this coincides with athe lack of motivation to socialise.

Damage to the frontal lobe can also cause difficulty in planning and completing tasks in the right order (known as sequencing). The person will experience reduced, reduce awareness that actions have been carried out already, meaning they are repeated.

Parietal Lobes

These can be divided into two functional regions; one involves sensation and touch perception and the other controls visual perception. The parietal lobes focus on the manipulation of objects and voluntary movements.

This part of the brain receives and analyses information from the skin, such as temperature, pressure and pain. Our understanding of where we are in relation to our surroundings is also controlled by the parietal lobes, as well as our understanding of where our body parts are in relation to each other.

Damage to this part of the brain can impair reading and writing, as well as self-care abilities such as washing and dressing. The individual may also have poor hand-eye coordination and anthe inability to focus their attention.

Temporal Lobe

This part of the brain controls communication and long-term memory. The temporal lobe also handles functions of auditory perception (hearing) and some visual perception. Damage to this part of the brain can therefore affect a person’s memory and understanding. They may find it hard to concentrate and difficult to understand language.

After damage to the temporal lobe, a person may also lose their sense of humour and notice a change in their sexual interests and behaviour. Other effects could include persistent talking and seizure disorders.

Occipital Lobes

As these lobes control the visual processing centre of our brain, damage to the occipital lobes can mean the individual may not be able to process visual signs correctly, causing visual confusion, even though the eyes themselves may be working normally.

If this part of the brain is damaged, an individual might experience difficulty recognising colours or a drawn object. Hallucinations and visual illusions may also occur, as well as word blindness.

After a brain injury, rehabilitation is a key part of long- term recovery. Unlike other cells in the body, brain cells are unable to regenerate when destroyed, so other areas of the brain try to take over the activities of the damaged part. This reorganisation of itself and establishing new nerve pathways is how the brain develops.

Recovery time after a serious brain injury can depend on the severity of the injury, as well as the individual. Usually, a clinical team will discuss the rehabilitation options with the person with the injury and their family. Funding for the rehab services can be sourced through the local authority, medical insurance or compensation claims.

Rehabilitation may be provided through a number of settings, such as inpatient rehabilitation, which involves specialist treatment in a neurological rehab centre., For example, this may benefit for people who are not ready to return home after their stay in hospital.

Alternatively, some people are well enough to return home after a brain injury, and these may receive outpatient rehabilitation sometimes from their local hospital.

Rehabilitation will be provided by nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and speech and language therapists, working as a team usually under a medical consultant and co-ordinated by a case manager. We work very closely with all members of the rehabilitation team to ensure that our clients’ needs are met.

Learn more about brain injury, its causes and its effects.

The typical stages involved in making such a claim are as follows:

Initial consultation

  • Consult a medical professional: the first step after sustaining a head or brain injury is to seek immediate medical attention. This not only ensures you get the necessary treatment, but medical records will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
  • Select a solicitor: choose a solicitor experienced in handling head or brain injury claims, such as the specialist brain injury solicitors at Potter Rees Dolan. Initial consultations are usually free and will help you understand the merits of your case.

Investigation and documentation

  • Case assessment: your solicitor will gather all the necessary information, including medical records, witness statements, and any other evidence to assess the viability of your claim.
  • Letter of claim: a formal letter is sent to the party you are holding responsible for your injury (the defendant), outlining the nature of your claim and the compensation sought.

Negotiation

  • Response: the defendant has a fixed time, usually up to three months, to reply to the letter of claim. They may admit fault, partially admit it, or deny it altogether.
  • Offers and counteroffers: depending on the response, your solicitor may enter into negotiations for a settlement. Most cases are settled out of court at this stage.

Legal proceedings

  • Issue proceedings: if a settlement cannot be reached, your solicitor will issue court proceedings.
  • Disclosure and discovery: both parties exchange evidence and prepare for the trial. Interim hearings may be conducted to sort preliminary issues.
  • Expert reports: both sides will usually obtain medical reports from experts to support their cases.

Trial

  • Court hearing: if the case reaches this stage, both parties will present their evidence in court.
  • Verdict: the court will deliver its verdict, determining fault and the amount of compensation, if any.

Post-Trial

  • Settlement and payment: after the court’s verdict, the awarded compensation amount is usually paid within a stipulated period.
  • Appeal: either party has the right to appeal the court’s decision, although there are strict time limits and conditions for doing so.

Throughout the process, effective communication between you and your solicitor is crucial. Ensure that all documents are in order, and consult your solicitor regularly to stay updated on your case status. Keep in mind that timelines can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the workload of the court.

It’s essential to note that the nature and severity of the brain injury can significantly influence the outcome of a claim. Here are some common types:

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  • Concussion: this is the most common and usually the least severe form of TBI. Concussions are often caused by a sudden, short-lived loss of mental function following a head injury. Sporting accidents, falls and car crashes are typical causes.
  • Contusion: this is a bruise on the brain caused by a direct blow to the head. Contusions may require surgical removal if they are large.
  • Diffuse axonal injury: this injury is caused by severe rotation or shaking of the head, often occurring in high-speed car accidents. It can cause functional disruption and chemical changes in the brain, leading to unconsciousness or even coma.
  • Penetrating injury: in these cases, an object breaks through the skull and enters the brain. These injuries are often severe and can be caused by projectiles or sharp objects.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

  • Anoxic brain injury: this occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. It can occur in incidents such as near-drowning or choking, and can result in significant cognitive, physical and functional impairment.
  • Hypoxic brain injury: similar to anoxic brain injury, this involves reduced oxygen supply rather than a complete lack of oxygen. This can be caused by instances like smoke inhalation during a fire.
  • Toxic brain injury: also known as toxic encephalopathy, this type of injury is caused by exposure to toxic substances like carbon monoxide, lead or industrial chemicals.

Other injuries

  • Second impact syndrome: this is a rare condition where a second concussion occurs before the symptoms from a previous concussion have subsided. This can lead to rapid and severe brain swelling, often resulting in death or severe disability.

Each type of brain injury may require specific kinds of evidence, medical experts and legal arguments. The claim process often involves establishing the cause of the injury, proving another party’s liability, and demonstrating the extent of damages for appropriate compensation.

It’s crucial to get in touch with us at the earliest opportunity. Individuals with brain injuries frequently incur various costs, including private therapy fees and lost wages if they’re unable to work. By establishing your case promptly and demonstrating that the defendant is probably at fault for your injury, we can request an advance on your compensation. These early payments can facilitate your access to specialised treatment, aiding your optimal recovery.

In the UK, the general rule is that you have three years from the date of the accident, or the date when you became aware of your brain injury, to initiate a personal injury claim.

Exceptions to the three-year rule:

  • Children: if the injured person is a minor (under 18 years old), the three-year limitation period doesn’t begin until their 18th birthday. A parent or legal guardian can make a claim on their behalf before they turn 18 if they choose to do so.
  • Mental capacity: for those who lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, there may be no time limit to make a claim. Once mental capacity is regained, the three-year limitation period may begin, unless a court decides otherwise.
  • The motorist involved in the accident with you
  • A municipal body, if your injury resulted from a slip and fall in a public area
  • Your employer, if the injury occurred in a workplace incident
  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, in cases where the injury was sustained during a criminal act

As we develop and refine your claim, we can identify who bears the responsibility for the accident.

While monetary compensation can never fully make amends for the profound impact of a serious brain injury, the legal system operates on the foundational belief that damages should aim to restore you to the position you would have been in if the injury had not occurred.

In practical terms, this means that you may receive compensation for the following:

  • Missed wages due to absence from work
  • Future income loss if you’re unable to return to work, or must work with diminished capacity
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses, such as subsequent scans and outpatient consultations
  • Costs for rehabilitation services, including physiotherapy and speech therapy
  • Support packages, when assistance is required for routine daily activities
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle to meet your changed requirements
  • Travel costs associated with attending medical and therapeutic appointments
  • Pain and suffering directly attributed to the injury — the more severe the injury, the higher the awarded sum
  • Diminished quality of life, or loss of amenity, including the inability to continue hobbies or sports activities

It’s worth noting that there’s no standard settlement amount for brain injury claims. Factors like age, occupation, the gravity of the injuries, and long-term care requirements all influence the final valuation of the claim.

Next steps

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