A guide to head injury compensation claims
This easy-to-follow guide takes you through everything you need to know about making a head injury compensation claim.
Head Injuries - the statistics
Head injuries range from superficial cuts and bruises to serious forms of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).
Acquired brain injuries are those that occur after birth, although head trauma can also exacerbate pre-existing conditions.
Headway statistics show that there were 348,453 ABI hospital admissions in the year 2016-17. There were 155,919 head injury omissions in the same period. The number of unreported head injury accidents is likely to be much greater.
I have a strong claim - why won't a solicitor take it on?
Assessing the severity of a head injury
One major challenge faced by people with head injuries and their solicitors and medical advisers, is how to assess the extent of a head injury.
An initial medical report and prognosis will be carried out at then start of a claim. The medical support provided during a compensation claim can help with ongoing assessment.
This process should ensure that an injured party receives the support, care and full financial compensation they are entitled to.
A claim should be possible if you were injured:
- in the last three years and
- another party was to blame (even partly) and
- that party owed you a duty of care
However, some personal injury solicitors might not take on your claim, even if you do qualify.
An example might be where an employee was supplied with headgear, but chose not to wear it, or where a cyclist does not wear a helmet.
The injured person may not be responsible for the accident that caused the head injury, but compensation for their injuries may be reduced on the basis that they could have done more to reduce or mitigate the extent of their injury.
Yes. Friends or family members can act as a litigation friend on behalf of those too young or seriously injured to pursue their own claim within the set time limits.
The litigation friend will be responsible for corresponding with solicitors and for making decisions in respect of the injured party's claim.
During a brief phone consultation, a personal injury solicitor should be able to very roughly estimate the value of a head injury claim, based on their experience with similar cases.
However, the solicitor will usually warn you that a more accurate figure will depend on medical evidence, and on a more detailed assessment of the case. This is particularly true with head injuries.
Any compensation award will be based on:
General damages are for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Head injury compensation payouts reflect the life-changing impact such injuries can have. Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Examples of the range of awards include:
- Facial injuries like jaw or cheekbone fractures may range from around £2,000 to over £20,000.
- Head injuries affecting the brain, resulting in long-term symptoms, are valued higher, ranging between £32,000 and £300,000 for very severe damage.
Table 1. Head injury compensation amounts*
|Injury Type||Compensation Amount|
|Minor head injury||£1,675 to £9,700|
|Nose fracture||£1,925 to £3,875|
|Cheekbone fracture||£1,775 to £12,000|
|Jaw fracture||£4,900 to £23,175|
|Epilepsy||£41,675 to £114,100|
|Brain damage (moderate to severe)||£32,725 to £307,000|
*except from the Judicial College Guidelines.
You can also claim special damages for:
- any medical treatment needed for your recovery
- any expenses incurred, such as travel to hospital appointments
- lost earnings or future loss of earnings if you have to take time off or cannot return to work
How can head injury compensation help?
One of the fundamental principles of personal injury law is that the law should try to return individuals to the state they would have been in if an accident and injury had never happened.
In respect of making restitution to someone who has sustained a serious head injury, a financial settlement can only ever go so far. The nature of head injury is such that it can have life-changing repercussions for injured parties and their families.
Our network of expert lawyers strive to get the maximum settlement for head injuries:
- for general damages to cover loss of amenity, including memory loss and loss of faculties
- to reimburse medical expenses arising from the injury, such as treatment costs
- to cover ongoing treatment and care costs
- for other expenses, including travel costs to appointments
- to cover any lost earnings, and future loss of earnings
No win, no fee means that you will not have to pay any legal fees if your claim is not successful.
If your claim is successful then you would pay the solicitor a 'success fee' which would be deducted from your compensation. You and your solicitor would discuss and agree the success fee at the start of the case.
How we have helped others
Quittance's specialist solicitors have recovered substantial compensation awards for clients in a wide range of head injury cases, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Injuries resulting in loss of senses, mental faculties or physical ability
- Open head wounds, including skull displacement and fractures
- Minor head injuries, scars and burns
How we can help you
Before embarking on a claim, your solicitor will discuss with you the circumstances of your injury and will explain your options. If there are alternative routes to a resolution other that the formal, legal option, your solicitor will advise you of the possible outcomes of these.
As a claimant, your solicitor will enable you to put your energy into recovery, offering clear advice throughout the claims process to guide you through to a successful resolution.
If you are helping someone else make a claim, your solicitor will assist with the big decisions, such as when to accept a settlement, offering impartial, considered advice.
To speak to us about your claim, without obligation, call 0800 612 7456 or click here to arrange a callback.
Accidents at work - Claims against your employer
Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered a head injury at work, you may able to claim compensation.
*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report
Road traffic accident claims
Every year almost 200,000* people are injured on Britain's roads. If you have suffered a head injury in a road accident that was not your fault, you can claim compensation.
*Source: Official Department of Transport statistics (gov.uk)
How long does it take get compensation?
Claims for simple injuries such as broken arms or legs are generally straightforward. As a result, appropriate damages are usually agreed and paid in a relatively short time frame. However, due to the serious nature of many head injuries and the potential for long-term consequences, the claim may take longer to resolve.
In some cases it can benefit the claimant for the process to take longer, so that the full extent of the injury and its impact can be understood, and appropriate treatment and care determined. The cost of any such care and treatment will be factored into the total compensation amount.
What are the chances of a successful claim?
It needs to be proven, on the balance of probabilities, that the accident caused the head injury. In turn, it must be shown that this accident was the result of an act or negligence by the party being held responsible.
The claim has a good chance of success if the other side has acknowledged their responsibility for the accident or illness. If the other side has not admitted liability, or argues that you were partly to blame for your injuries, you may have a lower likelihood of success or may receive less compensation.
Your solicitor will help collate all of the evidence with a view to putting together the strongest case. If the accident occurred at work, you are advised to report the incident to the appropriate authorities and make a note of it in the accident book if your workplace has one.
Even if the symptoms of the head injury seemed minor at the time of the injury, it is very strongly recommended by both solicitors and medical professionals that you seek a medical examination as soon as possible. A number of serious brain injuries can remain undetected for a time and medical attention could protect you from further harm.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert