Head injury compensation claim advice
Learn more about making a head injury compensation claim below. For more information about personal injury claims, see our full Resource Library
There are a variety of different head injuries which individuals could sustain based on numerous situations they may find themselves in.
The more serious of head injuries can often lead to movement being impaired in the victim, along with loss of balance and a range of cognitive disabilities such as compromised memory or attention; all of which could impinge on them – and their quality of life – in the medium to long term.
This potentially lasting impact will also bring with it difficulties for both the individual and their family to adjust to, from a physical and emotional perspective.
A head injury is the term commonly used to describe any sort of injury which affects the victim’s skull, scalp or brain and can range from a seemingly innocuous bump or bruise at one end of the scale to a major and traumatic brain injury which poses serious risk to the victim’s long term health and lifestyle at the other.
With the likes of concussion, skull fractures and scalp wounds found in between, together with various other definitions of head injuries.
In terms of consequences and treatments, these depend largely on the cause of the head injury and are based on the severity. This aspect alone is sometimes challenging to ascertain from the outset of the injury occurring, as often minor head injuries tend to bleed a lot, yet conversely some major injuries don’t bleed at all. Which is why it’s imperative to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional as soon as possible after suffering a head injury of any degree.
Divided into the two core elements, a head injury is typically either classed as ‘open’ or ‘closed’; the former (also referred to in medical diction as ‘penetrative’) is one whereby something – i.e, an object or force of impact – breaks the victim’s skull and enters/directly affects the brain, whilst the latter covers any injury that doesn’t break the victim’s skull.
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What are the most common forms of head injury?
Following on from what we said above, with regards to head injuries being split into the two main camps, they can also be sub-divided still further, derived from what actually caused them to happen in the first place.
These other two categories expand to take into account if the injury was triggered by the victim receiving a blow to the head or, alternatively, whether their head was shaken/violently jolted so as to instigate the resultant injury.
Examining both these sub-classifications a little closer, and blows to heads are more normally associated with road traffic accidents, falls, physical assaults and sports related accidents, while those said to have been caused by shaking habitually (and tragically) affect infants and small children more.
For the most part the bone density and natural impact-absorbing construct of the human skull will serve to protect the brain from serious harm, however it can only do so much if the blow/force is a significant one.
What are the different types of head injury?
As before, head injuries can fall within another two, identifiable groups if you like; namely ‘minor’ and ‘severe’. And again, they are classified as per the level of care required as well as longer term prognosis, subsequent treatment outlined and rehabilitation programmes.
For the record, any person suffering from a head injury can experience any of the following signs or symptoms, post-trauma;
- Behavioural changes or difficulties in performing day to day functions
- Poor memory and concentration
- Problems with planning and organising
- Finding difficulty in solving problems
- Fatigue or inability to manage anger
- Distress or lack of motivation
With regards to actual types of head injuries, as clinically acknowledged, the following compilation covers the primary examples for the purposes of this specific guide;
Hematoma – The name given to the presence of a collection (or clotting) of blood outside of the blood vessels, hematoma can potentially be very serious, especially if located in the brain. The clotting can create a build-up of pressure inside the skull, which can lead to the victim losing consciousness
Haemorrhage – This is, essentially, the term used to describe uncontrolled bleeding, which in the case of the sustaining of a head injury can relate to bleeding in the space around the brain. This in itself is referred to as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, or bleeding within your brain tissue, which is understood to be, from a medical stance, an intracerebral haemorrhage. Subarachnoid bleeds often cause headaches and vomiting, while the perceived severity of intracerebral haemorrhages hinges on how much bleeding is observed. That said, over a passage of time any amount of blood can eventually contribute to a build-up of unwelcome pressure in the brain
Concussion – A universally recognised brain injury which normally happens if and when the brain, literally, bounces against the robust walls of the skull. On a broader note, the temporary loss of function associated with concussion is just that, transient; however should the concussion be of a more recurrent nature, than other a period of time this could lead to permanent damage
Edema – An edema is a swelling, effectively, and any brain injury can trigger this damaging medical event from playing out. Many injuries cause swelling of the surrounding tissues, yet when it occurs in the human brain then it’s always going to be far more serious and possibly far-reaching. The skull simply can’t stretch to accommodate the swelling, which leads to a build-up of pressure in the brain, forcing it to press up against the skull as it’s got nowhere else to go
Skull Fracture – In stark contrast to most other bones which comprise the human body, the skull doesn’t benefit from bone marrow; which ostensibly ensures an impressive resilience which makes it difficult to break. However if it is penetrated by a blow/blunt force it’s worth remembering that a broken skull is then unable to absorb an impact, making the brain which lies beneath more susceptible to potentially irreversible damage
Diffuse Axonal Injury – A diffuse axonal injury (or sheer injury) is an injury to the brain that doesn’t cause bleeding yet does damage brain cells. Though it isn’t as outwardly visible as other forms of brain injury, diffuse axonal injury is one of the most dangerous types of head injuries and can lead to permanent brain damage and even death depending on general circumstances
What are the key signs/symptoms of head injuries?
The most prominent and prolific signs pertaining to the more minor of head injuries being present include any one of those listed beneath:
- Spinning sensation
- Mild confusion
- Temporary ringing in the ears
Regarding the more severe cases of head injuries, the core symptoms to look out for include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Balance/coordination problems
- Serious disorientation
- Inability to focus the eyes/abnormal eye movements
- Loss of muscle control
- Persistent or worsening headache
- Memory loss
- Sudden mood changes
How to make a claim for compensation after a head injury?
This rather depends on the claimant being able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that someone else (person, company, authority, organisation, etc…) was solely responsible for being neglectful in their duties and legally culpable when it came to the injury you sustained at the time.
Witnesses, statements, photographic/video/CCTV evidence and various other elements will be taken into account by your personal injury solicitor as they pursue admittance of blame and furthermore a financial settlement for losses accrued and future costs incurred as a result of the injury.
How much compensation could I claim for a head injury?
First of all –and in order to make a head injury claim – you will require a medical report that clearly explains what type of head injury you suffered and what the future impacts of this injury are. Because all cases are different, it is almost impossible to afford you an accurate estimation of how much compensation an individual may be entitled to, as they are based on case-by-case outcomes.
Having said that, we have sought to compile some approximate estimations of compensation pay-outs in this particular area, and based on past cases to give you a rough idea:
- Minor head injury that fully resolves in a couple of weeks – around £1,500
- Minor head injury that involves very minor brain damage from which you can recover – up to £10,000
- If the head injury had an effect on an individual victim’s ability to work and concentrate, then there might be a risk of epilepsy; which might lead to average claim pay-outs of between £10,000 – £220,000
- In most devastating cases, whereby your life expectancy might be reduced, or an individual is left unable to communicate properly/seriously disabled then the head injury compensation can go up to £300,000 plus
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