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Serious injury claims

Some people suffer an injury so serious and life-changing, that they and their families need more than compensation.

You need support, empathy and guidance which will help you adjust to a new way of life. You want answers, and assurances and you want to know what will happen and when.

We understand that talking about serious injury compensation claims or what to do if you’ve been seriously injured can be a difficult subject to talk about. However, we think it is important to discuss it so you know what help is available and how they can access it.

Digby Brown’s Serious Injury team has more than 40 years of proven and trusted experience in helping people affected by: 

  • Acquired brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Loss of limb injuries

We can provide access to specialist medical treatment not available on the NHS or even secure the help of a dedicated rehabilitation care worker.

One of the most crucial aspects of unlocking the answers to all these points is early intervention. The sooner you come to Digby Brown the sooner we can take positive action with your serious injury claim, and help provide the solutions you need.

Our clients, their families and their needs are at the centre of everything Digby Brown does. We have the experience, expertise, reputation, resources and network to achieve landmark results, secure answers and make the future a little brighter for people.

The key thing to remember is you are not alone, there are answers and there is a future.

What is classed as a serious injury?

Brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and amputations are the kinds of injuries that the legal sector classifies as a “serious injury”.

This is not intended in any way to downplay other injuries like burns or those that leave scars which can have a lasting impact on victims and survivors. The use of the word “serious” is meant to reflect the serious changes to a person’s life following their injury – like the kind of changes that stop a person from working, recognising their own children or being able to live independently.

  • Initial interviews – our serious injury claims solicitors will follow up on your query with a personal visit to make sure you have everything you need. This interview can be at your home, one of our seven offices or even at the hospital if you are still engaged with rehabilitation work.
  • Getting additional help – after the interview, we’ll be able to consider any immediate or short-term needs you may have like those outlined above. We will then start the process of putting these in place for you.
  • Intimating claims – once we go through the initial investigations of your case we will write to the other party (most commonly an insurance company) and inform them that we are acting on your behalf to recover serious injury compensation.
  • Gathering evidence – our serious injury claim lawyers then work with leading medical and financial experts to fully value your claim, making sure it takes in all your current and future care needs as well as compensating you for your pain and suffering as well as loss of earnings (including pension).
  • Negotiating with insurers – after gathering the evidence we then present our valuations and arguments to the other party and we negotiate a settlement. If the catastrophic injury compensation offered is fair then we will offer you guidance on acceptance. If we think the other side is offering less than you are entitled to then we would advise you to refuse and instead prepare for court.
  • Preparing for court – we draft legal documents with the intention of going to court to get you as much compensation as you deserve. It rarely actually goes to court though – it is often the case that simply raising a court action can encourage the other side to increase their serious injury compensation offer to what we believe is fair.

Our serious injury solicitors help accident survivors secure fair, even landmark, settlements but the help and service that we provide truly goes beyond compensation.

What else can a serious injury claim help with?

We understand that you and your family will have lots of questions. You will want to focus on your recovery and what can be done to aid this. This is why we’re just as committed to making sure survivors and their families have their health, welfare and social care needs to be taken care of. And we believe you should not have to wait until the end of your catastrophic injury claim to secure them.

An important thing to point out is you do not pay for any immediate treatment, services or support you need. We add these kinds of costs to your claim so the other side, most commonly an insurance company, pays for it. We firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to pay for your medical care if your injury was not your fault.

If your particular circumstances mean you don’t need help straight away but may require it in the future then we can still calculate these costs and add them to the value of your serious injury claim. Either way, as soon as you become our client we will take immediate steps to assess your needs and evaluate if you could benefit from:

Urgent medical care 

This can also include private treatment to give you the best possible chance to recover from your injuries as fully as possible.

Counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy

Sometimes people struggle to come to terms with their accident and a new way of life, such as someone who suddenly finds themselves relying on a wheelchair. However, speaking with a reputable therapist as soon as practical can help you tap into a positive mindset which can massively enhance the effectiveness and speed of your recovery.

Interim payments 

Often, a serious injury can prevent a person from working which in turn results in the survivor losing their wages. In these cases, we can speak with insurers and secure you an ‘interim payment’. This is where you get a lump sum of cash to cover any immediate costs like mortgage payments.

A case management worker

This is a dedicated care professional who will take a hands-on approach to helping assess and solve your immediate, short term and long term care needs while putting things in place to help you create a home, and if possible, work life for the future.

Charity Support

Some people come to us for help after being referred by a number of charities who recognise our expertise for helping survivors. However, if you have come to us as an individual then we can still put you in touch with these charities who can offer you further guidance, hands-on help and provide a network of friendly, similarly affected people that can help with your journey.

No win, no fee personal injury solicitors

The expression “No win, no fee” is often used in personal injury cases.  It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses. 

A number of solicitors are prepared to handle personal injury cases on a “No Win – No Fee” basis but very few are able to offer their clients complete protection if the case is unsuccessful. 

In that event, the client could end up being liable for many thousands of pounds in legal expenses or the case won't be fully investigated and therefore likely to under-settle.

Compensate 'no win, no fee' funding

Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and where and if necessary go to court.

If for whatever reason the case is unsuccessful, Compensate pays all your legal expenses and those of your opponent – you pay nothing

On average our clients receive over 3 times the pre-litigation offer

Because of Compensate funding Digby Brown's success rate is extremely high and on average our clients receive three times the pre-litigation offer.

In the event the case is successful, a small percentage of your damages will be deducted with VAT to pay for this service. The percentage which Compensate will charge depends on the degree of risk involved. We believe that this is the fairest method of giving clients access to justice whilst ensuring their cases are fully investigated, prepared and funded.

Don’t take our word for it, just read many of the court decisions and case studies on our website.

Beware of compensation offers which may be too good

We know you will have seen many adverts offering 100% compensation or telling you that you will not lose any of your compensation, however we believe there are a number of problems with companies that do this.

  • How do they make their money if they don’t charge you anything?
  • If they aren’t taking any money from you, the client, what incentive do they have to ensure you receive the right level of compensation, appropriate to the injuries you have sustained?
  • Fully preparing a case, finding out exactly what happened and what the consequences of your injuries may mean in the long term, is expensive, how do they do this properly?
  • If they aren’t fully preparing these cases will they just accept the first offer they are given on your behalf by the Insurance company?
  • It makes simple business sense, the less work they do the higher their profit margin is - they simply have no incentive to work harder on your behalf.
  • These adverts in the main are from English firms on national television which operates in a different way and therefore wouldn’t apply to a Scottish person.

We know from the many client cases we mandate from other firms of solicitors (in the main at the request of the client who is extremely unsatisfied with the service received for the other firm) that many shortcuts are taken in preparation and that the first offer received is being recommended for acceptance, regardless of the value. 

Getting something for nothing is usually the first sign of poor service.

Correct level of compensation with Digby Brown

Our experience and statistics show time and time again we will achieve the correct level of compensation which will be substantially more than the insurer is initially prepared to offer.

Even after we have deducted our percentage as a success fee you will gain considerably more than you would have achieved using a 100% compensation model.

Contact Digby Brown's personal injury solicitors

We have offices across Scotland in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Aberdeen and Ayr.

For further information about no win, no fee, or anything else, call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form below and someone will get back in touch with you.

Is there a time limit for serious injury claims?

In general, you have three years from the date of the accident or medical diagnosis to make a compensation claim. There are some exceptions to this rule – such as if you suffered an injury so serious brain that you were physically unable to seek legal advice during the time of your recovery. This is why it’s important that you seek legal advice as soon as you’re able to.

Who can make a serious injury compensation claim?

Anyone who has suffered a catastrophic life-changing injury through no fault of their own is entitled to seek a personal injury claim. However, it is a sad and unfortunate reality that many serious injury survivors may not be able to seek help by themselves without relying on a loved one.

As serious injury claims in Scotland are a legal matter, serious injury lawyers are duty-bound to follow certain rules. For example, although we will always provide the best advice, we can’t actually act on anything without permission from our client, who in most cases, is the injured person.

Making a serious injury claim on behalf of a loved one

We understand it may not always possible to take instructions from the person who suffered a catastrophic injury as they may no longer have capacity to make legal or financial decisions.

In these kinds of situations we can help you arrange things like: 

  • Welfare guardianship – to make care decisions on behalf of a loved one
  • Financial guardianship – to make financial decision on behalf of a loved one
  • Power of Attorney – to make all decisions on behalf of a loved one

Putting in place any of the things above can only be done with the help of a solicitor, but once it is in place, you can make decisions on behalf of your loved one so we can continue to help as fully, and quickly, as possible.

How much compensation could you receive as a result of a serious injury?

It is extremely likely that a serious injury compensation claim is going to be high value but also extremely complex.

The compensation is designed to reflect and recover ALL your losses as a result of the accident, and it is the job of the catastrophic injury lawyer to calculate and prove these losses.

The total amount of compensation we seek to recover is known as the “sum sued for”. This sum is precisely calculated and backed by supporting evidence to make sure every pound is justified. They are essential to have in place for two reasons:

  1. It makes sure you get the right level of damages
  2. It means we have the evidence in place to rebuff any value disputes from the other side

The sum sued for is also actually the total value of smaller sums known as ‘heads of claim’ which include: 

Your injury  or ‘solatium’ 

This is the only part of your claim that reflects the pain and suffering part of your injury. In most cases, it is also actually the smallest portion of your settlement.

Lost earnings

If your injury prevented you from working we will seek to recover any lost wages and even any impact on your pension. This is often the most high-value aspect of any claim.

Loss of society

This is a very sad aspect but we think it’s important to let you know. If the car crash claimed the life of a loved one then immediate relatives like a spouse/civil partner, (step) siblings, (step) parents and (step) grandparents will have this loss recognised in the form of compensation.

Services

If your injury left you house or bed-bound and reliant on help from close relatives (such as to do housework, shopping or gardening) then we can seek to reimburse that relative for the cost of this.

Medical treatment

If there is evidence to show your recovery would benefit from enhanced treatment then we can add this to the value of your case. This is especially important for serious injury survivors as they seek to rebuild lives with a brain injury, spinal cord injury or following the loss of a limb.

Rehabilitation and care needs 

People with life-changing injuries may require ongoing or life-changing support measures. It could include home adaptations (like lowered counter tops for wheelchair users) or a dedicated rehabilitation co-ordinator worker (who often aid brain injury survivors). Should you benefit from such support then your Digby Brown solicitor can include these measures into the total value of your claim so the other side pay for it.

Damaged belongings

If you suffered a loss of goods then this can also be recovered as part of your personal injury claim (such as personal items that were damaged in the car crash like clothing or mobile phones.)

These kinds of considerations are made in accordance with the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 and are listed in the paperwork we compile as we investigate and build your case. While people who suffer from minor injuries might only have three or four heads of claim it can be common for the claims of serious injury survivors to have a lot more.

But there is a reason for this – it’s because their injury has had a more profound impact on their life. And this is also the reason why it’s nearly impossible to answer the question “How long will my claim take to settle?”.

 

What benefits can I claim if I have suffered a serious injury?

People affected by serious injuries (including the survivor’s family) are entitled to certain benefits and welfare support from the government.

It can often seem a daunting process which is difficult to understand. So to help, we have a dedicated in-house Welfare Rights team who help clients navigate this process on a pro bono basis – this means we do it for free simply as part of our commitment to providing you with a full and compassionate service.

We have long-standing relationships with some of the key charities dedicated to helping survivors of serious injuries:

  • Spinal Injuries Scotland
  • Headway
  • Child Brain Injury Trust

As a firm we also strive to give back – either through charity work, awareness events or corporate sponsorship so survivors and their families have the opportunity to learn, network or simply take a breather and make some new memories with like-minded people in a comforting environment:

Head Injury Information Day (HiiD) – we have hosted this annual event for more than 10 years. It provides a place where brain injury survivors, medical and care professionals can come together to share knowledge and access support. The event has proved so popular there were more than 30 exhibitors and 300 people in attendance at the last HiiD event in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We now plan to introduce similar events in Inverness, Dumfries and Aberdeen.

Digby Brown has been associated with some of the key charities relating to serious injuries in Scotland. Spinal Injuries Scotland, HITS – Head Injury Trust for Scotland, the predecessor to HeadwayBobath now Cerebral Palsy Scotland to name just a few.

Head Injury Information Day (HiiD) – for 10 years we have hosted this annual event where brain injury survivors or medical and care professionals can come together to share knowledge and access support. With more than 30 exhibitors and 300 people attending the last HiiD event in Glasgow and Edinburgh, it has now proved so popular that there are plans to introduce similar events in Inverness, Dumfries and Aberdeen.

Summer BBQ at Castle Semple – each year we host an annual day out at Castle Semple Loch near Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire where wheelchair users can experience hand cycling, sailing or kayaking.

Winter Dinner Dance – an annual black-tie gala that welcomes around 550 guests with the aim to raise vital funds for Spinal Injuries Scotland. We’ve been organising this event for over 18 years. Our last event raised more than £80,000 on the night.

Edinburgh Young Drivers – every October we work alongside safety stakeholders such as Edinburgh City Council, Lothian Buses and Police Scotland to educate S4-S6 pupils on the importance of road safety before they take to the roads on L plates.

Christmas Cards and New Year Calendar competitions – in 2015 we started this competition for acquired brain injury victims as a way to reach out to individuals but also help them tap into their creative selves. Our last competition saw more than 300 entries!

Wheelchair sports sponsorship – we also sponsor two local sports teams: the wheelchair rugby team Caledonian Crushers; and the Dundee Dragons, a multi-sport team that offers the likes of basketball, rugby or tennis to its members.

Specialist appointments – Digby Brown is also a member of the Head Injury Trust for Scotland, and a founding member of the Brain Injury Network Group (BING).

Why choose Digby Brown?

Our reputation in helping survivors of serious injury is recognised by leading charities and organisations across the UK.

Spinal Injuries Scotland and Back Up often refer spinal cord injury survivors to Digby Brown for legal support, while the national brain injury survivor network Headway highlights Digby Brown as a go-to firm for legal help after a traumatic brain injury.

Having close bonds with SIS and Back Up means Digby Brown also has a great reputation among NHS staff at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Unit in Glasgow – a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to treating and rehabilitating survivors of spinal cord injury.

Digby Brown is also top-ranked by the two global legal watchdogs, Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500, for personal injury work. Chambers & Partners has awarded us Band 1 for 18 years while The Legal 500 has ranked Digby Brown as a Tier 1 firm for 14 years.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has around 50 accredited specialists in Scotland for personal injury work – and around half of these work at Digby Brown.

Chris Stewart, Head of the department, is ranked in Chambers & Partners as a leading individual while Partner Moira Kay is the only solicitor in Scotland who is recognised as an accredited specialist for both brain and spinal cord injuries.

In addition to all of that - the expertise, experience, resources and reputation of the Serious Injury department means that it has recovered hundreds of millions of pounds for clients. 

We know how devastating things might seem today but we know we can help. There is a path towards a new future and we can help take you towards it. Please don’t think we are being arrogant or boastful by saying any of this. It’s just that we have helped hundreds of people whose lives have been turned upside down and back round again and we want to offer some assurance about how Digby Brown’s people may be the best to help you and your family.

Moira Kay, Partner, tells us why she is proud to work in the Serious Injury Department and make a difference to people's lives.

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