If a diffuse axonal injury has set you back, we'll help you move forward

Diffuse axonal injuries are serious brain traumas, with compensation claims often being made for long-term rehabilitation and support services.

If you have been affected by a diffuse axonal injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by someone else's actions or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

You can make a No Win, No Fee compensation claim with the help and support of a personal injury solicitor.

What is diffuse axonal injury (DAI)?

Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) is a severe form of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain rapidly shifts inside the skull, typically due to violent motion or impact.

It occurs when the fibres that connect the cells in the brain are damaged or torn. This disrupts the electrical signals in the brain affecting movement, sensation, speech, memory and consciousness.

The condition is referred to as 'diffuse' as unlike most other brain injuries, a large area of the brain is affected. This means that the injury is difficult to diagnose and may be more severe than first appears on a conventional brain scan.

See also:

Head injury claims

You are not alone

Around 1 million people are currently living with long term effects of a brain injury in the UK. The most common cause of brain injury are road traffic accidents, which are responsible for around 50% of all brain injuries (brake.org.uk).

Diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is one of the most common types of head injury, diagnosed in around half of all severe head injury cases. It is also one of the most devastating. Patients with DAI will invariably suffer short-or long-term concussion.

If you have suffered DAIU or any other type of brain injury at the fault of others, you may be entitled to compensation. A family member or friend may claim for compensation if the affected person is in a coma or has died.

If you decide to make a diffuse axonal injury claim, your personal injury solicitor will take you through every step of the claims process. Your solicitor will be with you until you win your claim and get the compensation you need to move forward.

If you are looking for information on head and brain injury symptoms and treatment, see: head injury and concussion (nhs.uk).

See also:

Making a road accident claim

Do I have a diffuse axonal injury claim?

As a basic rule, you will be eligible to make an injury claim if you were injured:

  • within the last 3 years, and;
  • another person was to blame, and;
  • that person owed you a duty of care.

Find out online if you can claim with our injury claim calculator. Alternatively, you can speak to a claims advisor on 0800 376 1001 and find out if you have a claim in minutes.

Can I claim if I feel I was partly to blame?

Identifying who is legally responsible for a claimant's injuries is not always obvious.

In our 2024 Personal Injury Claimant Survey, 13.99% of respondents felt they were at least partly responsible for their accident or injuries.

When fault on both sides caused a claimant's injuries, this is called 'contributory negligence'. In these situations, compensation may still be payable on the basis of a split liability agreement.

Read more:

Can I claim if I feel I was partly responsible for my accident?

How long do I have to claim diffuse axonal injury compensation?

In most cases, you have 3 years from the date of your accident or injury.

If you were injured when you were under 18, a parent, guardian or adult 'litigation friend' can make a claim on your behalf. Once you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to start an injury claim.

How much compensation can I claim for a diffuse axonal injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:

  • the seriousness of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.

Diffuse axonal injury compensation calculator

Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.

Updated May 2024 Compensation Calculator v3.04

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College (judiciary.uk) and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

Special damages

Special damages is compensation awarded to cover any financial losses and expenses you incur as a result of your diffuse axonal injury or negligent medical treatment. These damages aim to put you back in the financial position you would have been in, had your injury not occurred.

Special damages will also cover your medical treatment expenses, that might include medication, rehabilitation and supportive care.

Read more:

A complete list of recoverable losses in a personal injury claim

Average diffuse axonal injury general damages compensation

The following diffuse axonal injury payouts refer to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Sixteenth Edition by the Judicial College (oup.com).

These tables are used by solicitors or by the courts as a starting point when calculating your compensation.

Please note: these average figures represent general damages only, and do not include any element of special damages (e.g. lost wages).

Example Amount
Brain injury
Minimal injury with full or near-complete recovery £2,010 to £11,610
Good recovery with a return to work and normal social life £13,930 to £39,150
Resulting in a lower degree of dependence £39,150 to £199,150
Resulting in serious disability and substantial dependence on others £199,150 to £256,370
Very severe with the need for full-time nursing care £256,370 to £367,260

What are the causes of diffuse axonal injury?

DAI is caused by a sudden jolt to the brain within the skull. The skull itself is not fractured, but the violent jerking or shaking movement causes pressure to build up in the brain which, if not stabilised, can have severe or fatal consequences.

The most common cause of a diffuse axonal injury is a high-impact road traffic accident. Other causes include falls from height, violent crime, sports injuries and shaken baby syndrome.

It is also important to note that DAI can occur without a direct blow to the head occurring. Any hard or repeated shaking action may be enough to cause the brain to move back and forth in the skull.

Read more:

Road traffic accident claims

Falls from height injury claims

Sports injury claims

What are the symptoms of diffuse axonal injury?

Symptoms range from mild to severe and include:

  • Long-term loss of consciousness
  • Temporary or repeated short-term loss of consciousness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and nausea.

The type of symptoms will depend on the seriousness of the injury and the part of the brain that has been affected.

Treatment and prognosis

The immediate priority is to stabilise the injury and reduce the swelling of the brain. As with all brain injuries, early medical intervention is essential to prevent permanent loss of brain function and provide the best outcomes for the patient.

In many cases, a full recovery is unlikely. It is not possible to surgically repair damaged or disconnected brain fibres, so the focus is on rehabilitation. Therapies may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and counselling. Some patients may need to use mobility aids and other adaptive equipment to support their daily function.

Compensation for diffuse axonal injury

For the majority of patients, DAI is a life-changing condition. The level of brain damage associated with the injury usually makes it difficult for patients to return to work, and many will need 24-hour support and personal care.

Often, occurrences of DAI are due to the negligence of other individuals or companies. If it can be shown that another person is legally responsible for the accident that caused the injury, a claim for compensation may be brought. Each case will be determined on its own merits by reference to the seriousness of the diffuse axon injury. However, due to the irrevocable nature of brain damage, the amount of compensation can be substantial.

How did your injury happen?

The process for a diffuse axonal injury claim depends the circumstances of the accident. To learn more, click the icons below:

No win, no fee diffuse axonal injury compensation claims

With no win, no fee, you can claim diffuse axonal injury compensation without financial risk. If your claim isn't successful, you pay nothing. If you win, you only pay a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation.

Find out more about how no win, no fee claims work

Get expert advice now

Interested in talking to an injury specialist about your claim?

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Source: (reviewed: 08/12/2023)

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor