Brain injury recovery and the importance of rehabilitation
Living with a brain injury is not easy and you may need support as part of your recovery.
This support can be available from the NHS but it might mean taking time off or it might not be as regular as you would like.
Accessing rehabilitation as part of your personal injury claim
When making a personal injury claim after a brain injury, your solicitor has a duty to consider whether you might benefit from rehabilitation to help with your immediate needs, as set out in the Rehabilitation Code 2015.
As a result, your solicitor may be asking you how you manage on a day to day basis, for example by asking you questions such as:
- How do you manage with getting up in the morning?
- Do you need help getting ready?
- Are you able to make breakfast?
- Are you in the house on your own during the day?
- Are any family members having to take time off work to help you?
- Is your memory a problem?
- If so, do you use any methods to try and help with your memory?
- How will you return to work?
I already get help from the NHS for my brain injury. Why do I need more?
The NHS is a fantastic service. However, it is only right to acknowledge that it is stretched and resources are not infinite. The help you get now may reduce in future.
Utilising rehabilitation through your personal injury claim can ensure continuity of treatment.
What does rehabilitation have to do with a claim for compensation?
Early access to rehabilitation can improve recovery from a brain injury.
A personal injury claim can take time to resolve. A solicitor will need to find out what the injury is and the impact it will have. Introducing support early on may help your long term prognosis.
Kelly Christie sustained a brain injury when she was a passenger in a friend’s car that was involved in a crash. Through private support and healthcare arranged by her personal injury solicitor at Digby Brown, she was able to access the help she needed to make a quicker, and better recovery.
Solicitors can help you access rehabilitation
If your solicitor considers that rehabilitation may help you, they will advise the insurers not only about the injury you suffered, but that they consider you would benefit from an assessment of your needs.
The insurer is required to consider a solicitors request in terms of a code of practice applying to claims called the Rehabilitation Code.
If the insurers agree, it can be arranged for an assessment to take place. The assessment will not be carried out by a solicitor; instead, it will be someone qualified to assess your injury and your immediate now. This person should also be experienced in assessing this type of injury and the needs of people who are in this situation.
Do you need to have agreement on who is at fault for your accident before getting rehabilitation?
No. The insurance company is under a duty to work together with your solicitors in addressing your needs.
A compensator is under a duty from the outset to consider if there is a possibility or likelihood of at least partial fault on the part of their insured.
This means the insurance company may agree to the assessment while investigations into exactly what happened are ongoing.
Insurance companies are required to consider whether, even in the absence of an agreement on who is at fault.
Your need for rehabilitation is key and some aids may be able to be put in place notwithstanding that investigations into your accident are ongoing.
What happens after insurers agree to rehabilitation?
As soon as insurers agree to a needs assessment, an appointment is arranged for someone to determine whether you need support, this often takes place at your own home.
At this meeting, you may have to demonstrate how you do things at the moment so that the person assessing you has a real understanding of how you function on a day to day basis.
After the assessment, a report will be sent to your solicitor and the insurance company. The report is called an Immediate Needs Assessment. This important report may include recommendations for rehabilitation input or equipment that would help you day to day.
What type of rehabilitation can be put in place?
- Carers to come in to help you with activities of daily living
- Someone to work with you to put your life back on track – often called a case manager
- Physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, along with other therapies
- Equipment to help you with activities around the home
- Help with returning to work – vocational assistance.
- Sessions to help with memory.
How are the rehabilitation and care costs paid for?
We can ask the insurance company for an interim payment. If they agree, we will then organise for the rehabilitation to be provided to you. We will use the interim payment to pay for the costs of rehabilitation.
Sometimes the insurance company will prefer that it is a joint instruction, meaning that the rehabilitation is put in place with agreement of both parties. Progress reports are sent to both your solicitor and the insurance company at the same time. If the rehabilitation is jointly instructed and agreed between parties, there will be no dispute at a later stage about the costs of the rehabilitation.
Does the insurance company have to agree to rehabilitation?
Sadly, no. There is no automatic right to rehabilitation. The rehabilitation code is a best practice guide, it is not compulsory.
What if my child is injured?
Sadly, brain injuries can happen at any age. Your child may be at school but not able to return to school yet. Your child may have exams soon and want to get on with school work but not able to get out or manage all day in a busy school environment.
With the immediate needs assessment, it may be possible to consider how best to help them return to school and aim for those exams. One example might be arranging tuition.
Head Injury Information Days
Digby Brown hold free informational events, Head Injury Information Days (HIID), every year which are for people with a head or brain injury, including their families and carers as well as professionals in the field.