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Brain injury: a life rewritten

Posted on 17 May 2024

A brain injury can impact any one of us, at any time... According to the brain injury charity Headway someone in the UK is admitted to hospital with an acquired brain injury every 90 seconds[1]. Admissions among females have been on the rise.

NICE puts the number of recent head injury hospital admissions at around 2,000,000[2]. They tell us that up to half of the million or so people attending an emergency department each year with a recent head injury are aged under 15. These numbers are very significant.

Andrew Zajac, a personal injury lawyer at Leigh Day specialising in serious injury claims, states he feels privileged to be able to try to help people rebuild their lives following a brain (or other serious) injury. What never ceases to amaze him is the significant impact of a brain injury, both on the person injured and those around them.  

Any place, any time…  A brain injury could happen on the school run. At school. On the way to work. At work. Playing sport. When out socialising with friends or family. Or due to medical negligence.

Even the best laid plans… In an instant life is rewritten with the focus shifting from fulfilling hopes and dreams, to potentially lifesaving surgery followed by what can be many months (or more) of rehabilitation and then rebuilding and readjusting following a new normal.

But life never really stops, does it? Rent and mortgage payments still need to be made. Utility and other bills keep coming. And so on…

In Andrew’s experience of working with people whose lives have been impacted by serious injury, maintaining control over financial pressure points is paramount. It can take many forms, for example providing families with advice and support around benefits, early communication with the workplace and creditors and seeking an early interim payment of compensation, if appropriate. In fact, the way financial and other worries are managed can be pivotal to the success of a person’s rehabilitation. 

A life rewritten

Planning for life after being discharged from hospital is vital. Sometimes the person will go back to their home or to suitable alternative accommodation. Or they might be transferred for long-term inpatient rehabilitation.

Getting the right medical professionals involved is important. Generally, this will start with a case manager who will put in place a multidisciplinary team (“MDT”) to support the person and their family with rehabilitation and adjusting to life after brain injury. This input can include occupational therapy, neurophysiotherapy, speech and language therapy, (neuro)psychology, family counselling, brain injury education and so on. A team of carers, support workers and nurses may also be needed. It might be necessary to plan for adaptations to accommodation and to obtain equipment such as a wheelchair and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

Having in place an experienced and effective MDT enables the family to focus on their relationship with their loved one who has been injured. To be a husband, wife, partner, daughter, son, friend (for example) rather than having to try to navigate unfamiliar territory alone which can be daunting and disheartening in equal measure.

The need for professional input may change over time. It might be, for example, that as rehabilitation progresses there is a shift towards exploring vocational or other activities. Potentially a return to work. Or, in the case of more severe injury, planning for a discharge home after a prolonged period of rehabilitation.

If a person is injured and it is someone else’s fault, there may be an entitlement to compensation to support their rehabilitation and other needs following injury. Lawyers with expertise in representing those affected by brain injury will be able to explain the process so that an informed decision can be made about whether to explore legal recourse.

There is no doubt that brain injury can affect any of us, and in different ways. The longer-term focus should be firmly on doing everything one can to ensure a person has the best possible quality of life.

If you wish to seek legal advice or claim compensation for an incident that led to a brain injury, our specialist lawyers are ready to assist you. You can call us to find out more about how we can help you on a completely no-obligation basis and in strict confidence. We are happy to provide you with advice on the first steps of starting a legal claim, to explain the no-win, no-fee structure and to answer any queries you may have.

Our contact details - get in touch today:

Our personal injury lawyers are here to support you with your claim and rehabilitation.

Call us: 020 7650 1200

Email us: postbox@leighday.co.uk

About Andrew Zajac

Andrew is a partner in the Leigh Day personal injury department based in our Manchester office. He specialises in seeking access to justice and rehabilitation for adults and children who have been seriously injured, including as a result of brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation and complex orthopaedic problems. Click here to read Andrew’s full biography.

1 Headway updates ABI hospital admission statistics | Headway 
2 Context | Head injury: assessment and early management | Guidance | NICE 

Andrew Zajac
Brain injury Spinal injury

Andrew Zajac

Andrew is a partner in the personal injury department in Manchester