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michelle beckett

Posted 19 February 2016
by Michelle Beckett

An Introduction To Brain Injuries



A person’s entire being can be altered following a brain injury.  In an instant independence can be snatched away and relationships transformed often resulting in close family members being called upon to provide significant amounts of care and support.

Types of Brain Injuries

  • Acquired Brain Injuries are brain injuries occurring since birth.  These can be caused by many things including an accident, a fall, a tumour or a stroke. Acquired Brain injuries include traumatic brain injuries, tumours, strokes, brain haemorrhages and encephalitis.
  • A Traumatic Brain Injury is a brain injury that has been caused by trauma. Causes can include hypoxia (lack of oxygen), accidents, falls and assaults.
  • 75-80% of head injuries involve a brief period of unconsciousness or just feeling sick and dizzy following a bang to the head.
  • A moderate brain injury involves a loss of consciousness for between 15 minutes and six hours, or a period of amnesia of up to 24 hours. Patients can be kept in overnight for observation and are likely to suffer from a number of residual symptoms.
  • A severe head injury involves a patient being unconscious for six hours or more or amnesia of 24 hours or more. Depending on the length of time in coma, these patients are more likely to have more serious physical deficits.

Statistics

Using a complete set of hospital admissions data up to 2013 – 2014 Headway UK have compiled a dataset on all Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)-related hospital admissions in the UK.  These included non-superficial head injuries, strokes, brain tumours, encephalitis. The data revealed:

  • Since 2005 -2006 ABI admissions in the UK have increased by 10%
  • There were 348,934 UK admissions to hospital with ABI in 2013 – 14 – this equates to 566 admissions per 100,000 of the population
  • There was approximately one ABI admission every 90 seconds to UK hospitals in 2013 – 2014

Effect of a brain injury on a person’s life

With even the most minor of brain injuries, brain function can be temporarily impaired and patients can suffer difficulties such as dizziness, fatigue, headaches and memory problems.  Most people are symptom-free within two weeks, some can experience problems for months or years following the injury.

A person who survives a more severe brain injury is likely to have complex ongoing difficulties affecting their independence and personality.  Many relationships will be affected and people face an uncertain future.

A person suffering from a severe brain injury can suffer from a many residual issues including:

  • Fatigue
  • Mobility problems
  • Difficulties with speech
  • Epilepsy
  • Spasticity
  • Memory problems
  • Reduced concentration
  • Reduced speed of processing and ability to problem-solve
  • Impaired reasoning and judgement
  • Loss of confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Anger

Who can claim compensation for a brain injury?

Whilst some brain injuries are unavoidable, in many circumstances they can be avoided if appropriate care is provided.

A person is able to bring a claim if it can be proven that appropriate medical care and / or medication would have avoided the injury.

Why bring a claim for a brain injury?

 A brain injury not only has a devastating effect on the person whom is injured but also to their families.  A person is often unable to complete the most basic of tasks for themselves and require supervision for the majority of the day.  This often results in a close family member becoming a carer resulting in their lives also being changed in a drastic way.  Whilst nothing can be done to reverse the situation a successful claim can help ease the burdens on daily life by:

  • Improving quality of life for the injured person and any care providers
  • Paying for adaptations that are required to the home and in some cases pay for a new home if required as a result of the injury
  • Paying for private care
  • Paying for private medical treatment
  • Compensating for any loss of earnings occurring as a result of the injury

At Tozers Solicitors LLP we act for clients as solicitors in Exeter, Devon, the South West and nationally.  Should you or a family member wish to discuss a potential claim, please call our specialist team for a free and confidential consultation.

Want to know more?

Request a call back or ask us a question using our quick-contact form.
Alternatively you can call us on 01392 207020.

About the author

michelle beckett

Michelle Beckett

Solicitor

Solicitor in the medical negligence team