Head Injury compensation claims are similar to most other types of injury claims however head injuries can often leave long-lasting psychological effects beyond the physical damage that can be incurred to the skull or brain.
Any head injury compensation claim will need to include and take into account the possible psychological trauma when assessing and calculating the damages owed.
Over seven hundred thousand people each year attend hospital accident & emergency with a head injury although 90% of these cases are minor with no lasting effects.
All head injuries need to be carefully checked and immediate medical attention received for serious blows to the head as although it is rare that minor head injures become more serious there are cases where a minor injury to the head has developed into a more serious problem.
Typical causes of head injury
It is not surprising that nearly 50% of head injuries are to children. Males are three times more likely to sustain head injuries than females, while only 20% of reported cases relate to those over 65.
Road Traffic Accidents
It is estimated by the NHS that approximately a quarter of reported head injuries are caused by road traffic accidents (RTA’s).
This estimation includes vehicles colliding with cyclists and pedestrians. Due to the nature of an accident involving a motor vehicle and the force of the impact resulting head injuries will quite often be serious.
Accidents at Work
Many reported head injury claims are caused by accidents at work.
We naturally think that a head injury at work would be suffered by someone on a building site or someone working at height but health and safety precautions should be taken in every industry not just those prone to higher risks.
Offices and shops for instance should be kept safe with no cables or boxes in aisles and walkways where employees could trip and fall.
Obviously some industries are more susceptible to accidents than others, however regardless of this, it is down to the employer to take all possible measures to ensure
- Employees are trained to carry out their jobs.
- They have the correct equipment and protective clothing.
- The workplace is safe for employees and customers.
Strict regulations and guidelines have been put in place by the government to protect employees from injury at work.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) requires all employers provide sufficient training and equipment and where this is found to be insufficient they will be held accountable in law.
Health and Safety procedures should be followed at all times which include wearing personal protective equipments (PPE) when required, such has hard hats and industrial boots.
When carrying out jobs at height, scaffolding should be used. Ladders should only be used for temporary jobs such as stacking or unpacking a shelf or putting up posters and light displays.
Head injuries although thankfully rare, can be caused as a result of clinical or medical negligence.
During certain surgeries and procedures problems can occur and these problems can be the result of the medical practitioners failing in their duty of care owed to the patients they are treating.
There have been claims for clinical negligence where patients have been given the incorrect dosage or wrong medication altogether causing damage to the brain.
Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis’s are made whether that’s because of carelessness, negligence, malpractice or incompetence or simply human error, mistakes can occur and sometimes with serious consequences.
In pregnancy and childbirth a baby’s head is vulnerable. Babies can suffer from asphyxiation if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the neck causing a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain potentially causing cerebral palsy.
Clinical negligence cases make up around 10% of the causes of cerebral palsy which is a brain disorder affecting muscles and motor skills.
A head injury compensation claim relating to a sporting activity can sometimes be made if a particular challenge was beyond what could be expected or if the organisers of the event failed to ensure the playing arena was safe.
However sport injuries are more difficult to prove negligence as the claimant would have to show intent and argue against volenti defence (that all sports players accept the risk of injury).
That said, there have been successful claims as many teams nowadays have insurance although, without insurance any potential claim would likely to be handled by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
Injury from common assault
Common assault makes up around 30% to 50% or reported head injury cases.
Victims should contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for help with claims for compensation where they have been assaulted by another civilian.
Head Injury Symptoms
In the majority of head injury accidents symptoms are temporary with little more than a bump or bruise and dizziness.
If dizziness or nausea persists or any of the following symptoms are experienced for more than a few minutes, medical attention should be sought without delay.
- A bleeding wound
- A constant headache
- Difficulty concentrating
- Clear fluid seeping out from the nose or ears
- Impaired balance or loss of power in parts of the body
- Sickness, vomiting
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Bleeding from the ears
- Slurred speech
If symptoms persist over the long-term this can often be a sign of post concussion syndrome. Patients can be assessed for the severity of the head injury using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). This assessment of patients with head injuries measures both their verbal and physical reactions and eye movement.
If a patient scores the highest score of 15 it generally means they can speak and move normally. A patient in a coma would score just 3. Any score above 12 would indicate a minor head injury while a score of below 9 would signify a severe head injury.
Recovery and treatment
Anyone who has suffered a head injury should not drive, operate machinery, play sports or do any physically demanding activities. It is advised to stay with someone who can contact the emergency services within the first 48 hours.
Doctors may advise painkillers for headaches, but not aspirin, or sleeping pills as they can make the situation worse.
If any dizziness or nausea persists it is advised to seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity. If the head injury is to a baby and the baby is crying for a long period or appears unusually sleepy and unresponsive, again seek medical attention as quickly as possible.
If you are taken to a hospital further tests should be carried out to identify any brain injury or injury to the spine and spinal cord. These tests can include computerised tomography (CT), X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
In some instances and dependant on the severity and location of the injury other aspects of the body may be vulnerable to further problems. Fractures to the skull can potentially allow bacteria into the wound causing infection.
In severe cases patients may fall into a coma where they are unable to return from and in some cases head injuries are fatal.
Recovery times can vary greatly due to the vast amount of ways injuries can occur, the severity of the injury and the patient’s ability to recover. Rehabilitation and therapy can play a major role in a patient’s recovery.
Making a head injury compensation claim
After reading the above information you should be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not you might be able to make a head injury compensation claim for an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
If you are still unsure then please contact us today and speak directly to one of our experienced personal injury solicitors for free, no obligation advice about making a claim.
Our expert solicitors will be able to handle every part of your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
Whether your claim is against your employer for failing to provide a safe workplace, or against a medical practitioner for clinical negligence, our solicitors deal with all personal injury claims on a No Win, No Fee basis so you can be reassured that making a claim won’t cost you a penny.