Head & Brain Injury
Seeking legal advice
All brain injuries are potentially very serious and the consequences for the individual and their families can be utterly devastating and life-changing.
Hospitalisation, rehabilitation and long term support are in themselves difficult enough to cope with, without the added stress of financial worries should the main breadwinner have to give up work or if the injured person needs a lifetime of medical care.
Qualified legal advice is absolutely vital if brain injured people and their families are to deal with the medical consequences of a serious accident and the associated financial implications of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Bonnar Accident Law is one of Scotland’s acknowledged experts in this complex area of law.
The tragic case of Ms L (below), illustrates the hurdles claimants are faced with when dealing with insurance companies that are determined to dispute liability and thwart reasonable proposals, even to the extent of worsening the injured person’s quality of life.
The insurers don’t care - but we do and that is why we are entrusted with some of the most challenging and complex head injury cases in Scotland.
How Bonnar Accident Law can help with a brain injury claim
Bonnar Accident Law has the experience and expertise to deal with all types of ABI claims. We are specialist accident compensation lawyers and we only ever work on behalf of hurt and injured people and their families. The firm is listed on Headway’s approved list and we are proud to be a Level 1 Corporate Member of the organisation.
At Bonnar Accident Law Solicitors we firmly believe that successful head injury compensation claims are based on detailed preparation and the involvement of the very best medical experts from the outset.
Regardless of the extent of a person’s brain injuries, Bonnar Accident Law will always instruct the most appropriate medical expert. We know that in these cases success or failure can be a direct result of having the most credible and authoritative patient-centric medical evidence.
Engaging the top medical experts also helps us correctly value the claim, which is absolutely critical in securing the long term financial stability necessary to support the individual’s future care needs.
Bonnar Accident Law makes sure that existing care and rehabilitation services are appropriate for the individual’s needs and we take whatever steps are necessary to upgrade support provision in line with medical advice and the family’s wishes.
Most importantly of all, we take the time to understand the injured person as an individual who’s life has been changed suddenly and without warning, sometimes out of all recognition. We also believe it is really important to know what the injured person was like before their head injury. In the most serious cases this can only be accomplished with the help and co-operation of family members and carers.
Our personal injury lawyers invest a lot of time at the beginning of a case and we are always available to give our time during the case, whenever our client or the family wants to discuss any aspect of the claim.
There is no financial worry for families when making a claim with Bonnar Accident Law. We cover all the costs relating to funding the claim and as we operate on a ‘No Win-No Fee’ basis, this means that should we lose the case then our clients pay us nothing whatsoever. Depending on the complexity of the case, we will normally take a success fee, which will be capped at an agreed level and will always be approved in writing before the claim starts. We also carry the appropriate level of professional indemnity insurance cover as required by members of the Headway solicitor’s panel in Scotland.
Client case history - Ms L
Our client, Ms L, met with a serious head injury. She has minimal movement and is unable to speak. She will never recover. Since September 2008 she has been cared for at home by a specialist team of nurses. She has regular input from therapists including physiotherapy and speech therapy. She communicates by way of a buzzer.
Prior to being cared for at home, Ms L was cared for in a nursing home. She was one of around 9 patients in a room in the nursing home. Her family wanted her to be cared for at home and to have specialist care.
Our personal injury lawyers obtained an interim payment from the defenders in order that a care regime could be set up. A case manager, was appointed to identify and co-ordinate a suitable care package.
Liability was disputed from the outset. On the morning of the hearing the defenders admitted liability subject to a percentage deduction for contributory negligence. Prior to the Proof on quantum the defenders disputed that it was reasonable for Ms L to have been removed from the nursing home and to be cared for at home. Again, the defenders agreed on the morning of the Proof on quantum that in fact it was reasonable for Ms L to be at home.
The main area of contention in the case was life expectancy.
As in any serious head injury case a number of experts were instructed including neurosurgical, neurological, neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, nursing care experts, occupational therapists and speech therapists.
A total care package, including gaze direction technology was put together and we settled Ms L’s claim out of court for a sum in excess of £6 million.
Our client, T, was 15 years old on 15 June 2005 when he was involved in a road traffic accident sustaining a brain injury as a belted front seat passenger in a Ford Fiesta car.
T had accepted a lift from an insured driver who lost control, collided with a tree and was trapped inside. His head was trapped as the roof of the car collapsed and he had to be cut out of the car by the Fire Brigade.
He was taken by ambulance to the Accident & Emergency Department where an initial CT brain scan revealed the extent of his injuries. He was intubated and ventilated. A later scan showed an infarct of the corpus callosum of the brain. He also suffered a fracture of the left elbow.
He was transferred to the ICU Unit where a tracheostomy was performed. He was an in patient for 1 ½ weeks and transferred back to hospital for a further 12 weeks. On 12 September 2005 he was referred to a rehabilitation Centre, where he remained until his discharge on 03 February 2006 albeit by the end of November he was allowed weekend home visits.
A Court of Session action was raised in August 2008 and T was awarded £700,000 in damages in February 2009.
What happens when you contact Bonnar Accident Law?
We believe it is very important to meet with brain injury claimants and family members as soon as possible and we will arrange an appointment at home or our offices to discuss the prospects of succeeding with the claim and the way we propose to take matters forward.
Bonnar Accident Law will take care of everything from this point on. We will deal directly with the responsible party and their insurers and we will begin our work by reviewing the current level of care to ensure that appropriate measures are in place and working in the best interests of the brain injured person.
Our aim is to help make a difficult and challenging situation for brain injury survivors and their families more tolerable and as manageable as possible.
Our job is to achieve justice and a financial settlement that matches the lifetime care needs of the individual. In serious brain injury cases, the compensation awards are invariably held in trust on behalf of the client and administered by an independent court-appointed guardian.
Our approach is first and foremost to deal kindly and sympathetically with the injured person and their family throughout the period of the claim. Our solicitors take great care to explain in layman’s terms what we are doing at every stage of the legal process and we ensure that we keep everyone involved in the case fully informed along the way.
Although the majority of claims settle out of court, we prepare each case thoroughly in anticipation of having to fight all the way for our client’s rights. We appoint only the best medical experts and we incorporate the most appropriate medical aids and the latest assistive technologies when determining the value of the claim. If you would like a free, no obligation discussion in complete confidence with a senior member of our personal injury legal team, then please telephone us on our Free Phone number - 0800 163 978, or email:
Additional information for family members seeking advice on head and brain injury
General Damages is the term used in Scotland to describe the amount that the courts think is reasonable for the pain and suffering of the accident victim. The value of these awards varies depending on the circumstances and severity of each individual case.
Please note, that when calculating the total value of your claim the courts will also consider any past and future wage loss, property damage costs and services costs which can include the provision of domestic help and on-going medical care. You need expert legal advice to ensure that these additional costs are properly identified, quantified and included in your claim.
Acquired Brain Injury
An estimated 1.4 million people in the UK attend hospital every year after an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
Among every 100,000 of the population there are:
- 10-15 people who have had a 'severe' ABI and were unconscious for at least 6 hours. Only 15% of them will have returned to work after 5 years.
- 15-20 people who had a 'moderate' ABI and were unconscious for up to 6 hours. Many still have psychological problems 5 years after the injury.
- 250-300 people who had a 'mild' ABI and were unconscious for up to 15 minutes afterwards. Some of them may need support for 2 years or more after the injury.
One family in every 300 will be affected at some point by the long term effects of ABI.
Statistics on Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) are provided courtesy of Headway, the brain injury association.
Typical values for head and brain injury compensation claim settlements:
|Head and brain injuries|
|Severe brain damage||£250,000 - £5million (depending on the severity of the injury, the cost of care and the circumstances of the victim)|
|Minor head injury||up to £8,000|
|Loss of sight in one eye||up to £35,000|
|Temporary interference with vision||up to £5,500|
|Fractures of frontal bones||up to £20,000|
|Fractures to the jaw||up to £25,000|
|Fractures of the nose||up to £12,000|
|Fractures to the cheekbone||up to £8,500|
|Loss of several front teeth||up to £7,500|