Diffuse Axonal Injury Compensation Claims

If you have been affected by a diffuse axonal injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a diffuse axonal injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming diffuse axonal injury compensation:


Diffuse axonal injury 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 diffuse axonal injury or DAI invariably will suffer short-or long-term concussion; many will enter a coma. Approximately nine out of 10 patients with a severe DAI will not regain consciousness.

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

Head injury

Do I have a diffuse axonal injury claim?

As a basic rule, you can make a diffuse axonal injury claim if your injury happened:

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

Do I have a claim? - Common questions

What if a child was injured?

The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.

A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a diffuse axonal injury claim on their own behalf.

Read more about claiming injury compensation on behalf of a child.

What if I was diagnosed months after the diffuse axonal injury?

Depending on how your diffuse axonal injury happened, the three-year time limit may only start from the date you are diagnosed and learn of the cause of your injury. In some cases, this can be months or years after the cause occurred.

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

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

  • the extent 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 diffuse axonal injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

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

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

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a diffuse axonal injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

Diffuse axonal injury compensation amounts

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

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

Example Amount
Brain injury
Minimal injury with full or near-complete recovery £1,760 to £10,180
Good recovery with a return to work and normal social life £12,210 to £34,330
Resulting in a lower degree of dependence £34,330 to £174,620
Resulting in serious disability and substantial dependence on others £174,620 to £224,800
Very severe with the need for full-time nursing care £224,800 to £322,060

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a serious head injury can be £30,000

For a less severe shoulder injury, in isolation, you would typically receive £4,500.

However, if you have a serious head injury and a less severe shoulder injury, you would typically receive £30,000 + a reduced percentage of £4,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries. Read more about multiple injury claims.

What is the average injury compensation for a diffuse axonal injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a diffuse axonal injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your diffuse axonal injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Can I see the complete judicial college tables?

The table above (excerpted from the Judicial College Tables) shows the most common diffuse axonal injury claims. To see the complete list see: Judicial College Injury Tables.

Calculate my diffuse axonal injury compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a diffuse axonal injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your diffuse axonal injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a diffuse axonal injury claim take?

The length of time needed to secure compensation for a diffuse axonal injury can vary considerably.

A straightforward liability accepted injury claim can settle in a couple of months. If liability is denied, however, the process might take longer. Typically, an injury claim takes between 4 and 9 months. For more information, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your diffuse axonal injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

What is diffuse axonal injury?

Diffuse axonal injury 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 known as "diffuse" axonal injury because, 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.

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.

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 occur?

The claims process that your solicitor follows will vary, depending on how the injury occurred:

How does no win, no fee work?

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay if your claim is not successful.

No win, no fee guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a diffuse axonal injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my diffuse axonal injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, only after your compensation is awarded. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my diffuse axonal injury claim?

If your diffuse axonal injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Why do most solicitors charge 25%?

25% success fees are charged by most law firms as this is the maximum fee that the Ministry of Justice allows them to charge. diffuse axonal injury claims can take a solicitor hundreds of hours work and they receive nothing if the case is lost. The success fee will be subject to your individual circumstances and the actual fee may vary. Call us for more information.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Diffuse axonal injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a diffuse axonal injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the diffuse axonal injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your diffuse axonal injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a diffuse axonal injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

If you were injured as a child, you do have up until your 21st birthday to make a claim.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you are still able to claim diffuse axonal injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a diffuse axonal injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor