A 15 year old girl suffered negligence at birth which caused her to develop severe cerebral palsy that would significantly shorten her life. She was awarded:
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This guide covers claiming compensation for brain injuries resulting from medical negligence. If you would like to read about claiming for a head injury as the result of an accident, see our Personal Injury FAQ.
Brain damage is perhaps the single most devastating injury that a person can suffer and one that will likely have a long-term impact on all areas of the victim’s life. Suffering a brain injury as a result of medical negligence is surely especially harrowing. Negligent or inadequate medical care can result in brain injuries,for example, children have suffered injuries at birth, occasionally leading to the development of cerebral palsy. Delays in diagnosing and treating brain injuries have resulted in permanent brain damage, as has negligent care of patients under anaesthetic.
These are just a few of the many examples of potential brain injury claims, so it’s a good idea to talk to Your Legal Friend as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure whether a brain injury sustained by yourself or a loved one could actually merit a claim. We have years of experience working on medical negligence cases, many of which have involved instances of brain injury. From a legal point of view, we know how complicated these cases can be. More importantly, we understand that they can leave the patient feeling incredibly vulnerable, even embarrassed. With brain injuries, the psychological effects of medical negligence are often just as damaging as the physical impact. That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We will ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts in the neurology field, to guarantee the best results.
Following a telephone conversation with one of our team, we can advise you whether we think you have a case for medical negligence for your brain injury. We then follow a 10 step claims process that begins with us obtaining your medical records and, in 95% of cases, ends with the award of your compensation claim. You can begin this process by calling us directly, or filling in one of our forms so that we can contact you.
For more in depth information on specific brain injury case types, we have guidance on brain injuries resulting from anaesthetic complications, brain aneurisms, meningitis, stroke, subarachnoid haemorrhage and subdural haematoma.
If the brain injury in question was the result of negligent treatment, misdiagnosis or mishandled care, then the victim of negligence should be eligible to make a claim. Part of the claims process is proving that the brain injury suffered was a direct result of negligence. This is why we request access to your medical records once we have accepted your case. The best way for us to determine if you are eligible to claim, is by speaking to you, or a loved one, directly about your situation. If you would like to contact us on behalf of a family member, please see below for more information.
Brain injury is often caused by trauma or a lack of oxygen to the brain, causing cells to die. This can happen during birth, where mishandled labour may cause a baby to be deprived of oxygen; it can also happen during surgery, where a surgical error could have lifelong consequences. A failure to diagnose a brain injury could also constitute neglect, if the person was then to suffer further harm as a result. These are the most common instances of medically negligent brain injury cases that we see, but there are of course many others.
Usually with an injury resulting from medical negligence, there is a three year time limit from the ‘date of knowledge’ for you to make your claim. The ‘date of knowledge’ is the date when you became aware of the negligent treatment that led to the worsening of your injury or illness.
The exceptions to this are in the cases of children, or if the negligence resulted in a fatality. In these examples, the time begins to run on date of the child’s 18th birthday or, if the case was a fatality, from the date of death.
If a person is unable to instruct a solicitor due to cognitive impairment, as a result of the brain injury, or otherwise, the time limit of 3 years may not apply. However, it is always better to seek legal advice as soon as possible, even if the 3 year time limit may not apply, to ensure that you, or you loved one, does not accidentally miss the deadline. Medical records can be misplaced and memories can fade so even if you think that the claim will not be subject to this limit, do contact us as early as you can.
If a claim is brought outside of these time limitations would be considered ‘statue barred’ and you would not be able to seek compensation for brain injury.
For brain injuries resulting from medical negligence, there are no cut and dry compensation amounts. We can give examples and estimates, but the amount of compensation an individual may be owed due to a brain injury depends on your circumstances and loss.
While there are guidelines on compensation for brain injuries, in medical negligence cases, compensation amounts are awarded according to a range of factors. Usually they will be awarded based on your loss of earnings, any costs associated with your future care and any potential costs or losses you would have suffered due to the negligence.
A no win, no fee arrangement is when you agree to a CFA, or Conditional Fee Arrangement with your solicitor. By agreeing to this fee arrangement, you pay nothing upfront to your solicitor, nor do you pay any fees if you lose your case.
For many who are already struggling due to loss of earnings, increased cost of care, or an inability to work after a brain injury; this payment model exists in order to allow victims of medical negligence to pursue compensation without facing financial risk.
To read more, see our guide on no win, no fee agreements.
If a person is unable to manage their own claim for whatever reason, particularly in cases such as these where brain injury may affect cognitive function, you may become what is known as a ‘Litigation Friend’. A ‘Litigation Friend’ has a duty to act in an individual’s best interests and will take on the responsibilities of managing a claim for their friend of family member. If you are to be a litigation friend on behalf of a loved one, or there must be an established connection such as next of kin.
We have a dedicated medical negligence team who handle all medical negligence cases. Our Director of Medical Negligence, Laura Morgan, specialises in medical negligence claims which have resulted in brain injury to both adults and children. She is a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence specialist panel and the Action Against Medical Accidents panel of specialist lawyers. Laura was shortlisted for ‘Lawyer of the Year’ at the Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards. She has achieved large settlements for her clients, notably £5.4 million for a 7 year old child and £4 million for an 11 year old child. Our team will always seek maximum compensation on your behalf; to ensure that the damages you are awarded will cover your expenses, costs and losses.
Brain injury compensation can help you to live as independently as possible, whilst managing the outcome of your condition. A severe injury to the brain can have lifelong implications; seeking compensation can help you to cover any additional care costs, recover lost earnings and ensure financial security for you and your family.
You can bring a responsible for the care provided to you in an NHS hospital if you if you received substandard care and you were injured as a result. If you want to, you can make a complaint via PALS – a process which can help you to resolve an issue with your healthcare provider. A complaint is separate from a claim for compensation, which is about ensuring that your financial losses are covered and your future needs can be catered for. You do not need to make a complaint about your care before starting an investigation into whether you have a clinical negligence claim. We can talk to you about whether it would be better to make a complaint first.
There are different types of brain injury; you do not need to know what type of brain injury you have suffered to talk to us about your claim. What we do is ask, if you believe or suspect that the brain injury may have been sustained through negligent medical care or worsened through misdiagnosis. Types of brain injury could be:
Anoxic brain injury – where a lack of oxygen causes cells to die
Concussion – bruising to the brain tissue
Diffuse Axonal Injury – damage to the nerve connections in the brain
Haematoma – blood clots or the build-up of blood between the lining of the brain and the skull
Skull fracture – damage to the skull
Your first step is to call us directly or fill in our webform, as an initial phone conversation can help us determine if you could pursue a claim. It’s a good idea to gather information before this phone call, as we will ask questions that require you to have some idea of dates, events and places. If you have kept a written log of your medical treatment, this will make the initial telephone consultation easier, but is not a requirement of starting your claim. Some people find it helpful to write down what they want to say before they call us; if you are acting on behalf of someone else, or are asking someone to speak on behalf of yourself, you can arrange this before the phone call.