- 4th January 2017
- Posted by: Seatons Solicitors
- Category: Accident Claims, Articles
‘Acquired Brain Injury” – as its name suggests is any damage to the brain which happens as a result of any sort of trauma or external force suddenly and unexpectedly impacting to the head. They not only affect the person suffering from the condition but also the family, friends and loved ones. It is not uncommon for the person suffering brain injury to be unaware of the damage that has actually been done. A person’s personality can change - anger and frustration can come to characterise those who were previously easy going and carefree.
If you are affected by such injuries, we can’t undo the damage that has been done – but we can make sure that you face a brighter future – and whether you come to Seatons or not (obviously I hope you’ll at least give us a chance to discuss what we can do) – you must read the case study below, because it shows just how important it is to get the right lawyer.
Case Study: Mr L
Mr L was a 29 year old single man living in Kettering who was injured in a car accident outside the warehouse where he was worked picking and packing goods for dispatch. In addition to the many fractures and orthopaedic injuries, he also suffered trauma to the head which led to brain damage. Thankfully Mr L was still able to care for himself (after a long stay in Kettering hospital and period of rehabilitation) and live independently – but he was unable to work a full shift because his physical stamina was vastly reduced. As a result of the accident he also suffered problems with his memory and undoubtedly had (and I dislike this phrase) “anger issues” which made a return to his Kettering workplace very difficult if not impossible.
Mr L’s case though highlights the importance of the correct approach to such cases. Initially Mr L – who had no family or particularly close friends – ended up with a solicitor in Manchester (he lived in Kettering). He ended up with them after approaching a claims management firm covering the Kettering area. The solicitors (who I would very much love to name and shame) approached Mr L’s case as though it was a straight forward whiplash claim. They got medical reports from an Orthopaedic Surgeon as would be expected, and then proceeded to secure a reports from a Psychiatrist into his brain injuries. Neither of these reports were prepared with the expert having sight of Mr L’s medical records and were effectively useless. It was at this point Mr L approached Seatons to take over his case.
I am not a big fan of taking over cases from other lawyers – often there has been some sort of negligence on the part of the first lawyer which needs work to put right and I always find it much better to know and run the case from the very start.
On reading the reports from the first lawyers it was clear the reports they had commissioned were inadequate and not fit for purpose – on reading further it seemed that they had also signed Mr L up while he was in hospital and it was the case that they had taken instruction from Mr L’s brother whose motives in conducting the litigation for his brother were not entirely ‘selfless’.
In all MR L was very vulnerable and by the time he came to Seatons it was clear his claim was heading in the wrong direction completely.
Not many people know that law firms are required to adapt the way they work to meet the needs of their clients – but it’s true – and it is something that had clearly not been done for Mr L by his first legal team. In Mr L’s case he struggled to process all the information he needed to make decisions about the case so it was agreed that we would never take instruction from him on any matters we discussed on the same day that we discussed then. Due to his memory problems it was agreed that he would not need to keep appointments – rather he was free to pop in to the practice whenever he felt the need to and if there were any appointments made, then we would telephone him the day before to remind him and again on the morning of the appointment – all in all we soon found a way to move matters forward that he felt entirely in control of and which would work for him.
The Insurance company for the Defendant who had caused the accident were, to be frank, very helpful. After explaining to them that the reports that had been sent to them by the previous law firm were, as far as we were concerned, pretty useless – they agreed and further agreed to us effectively ‘starting again’ in gathering medical evidence. In fact, the insurers welcomed us acting for Mr L; their Head of Serious and Catastrophic Injuries (what a job title!) said it was a ‘relief’ that they knew there was someone with the right experience acting for Mr L.
It doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened to Mr L’s case if he had stuck with his first firm that he was referred to by the claim’s management company – I suspect he would have ended up with a fraction of the compensation that he needed to see his life as back to normal as possible.
We made sure he received every penny he was entitled to – and to make sure that the settlement reached was in fact appropriate we sought the Court’s approval of the award. Our office in Kettering was convenient for him to pop in to whenever he had any queries or just wanted an update.
So if you have or know someone who’s suffered brain injuries in an accident – give us a call. Before embarking on any claim it is important that you are fully aware of what is involved and it is equally important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer. We have offices in Kettering and Corby but have no problem with arranging a home visit if it is more convenient – there will be no pressure to sign up and no obligation to take the matter further – just good advice and a full explanation of possible ways forward.
In Mr L’s case and in addition to the money paid over for his injuries – we managed to secure enough money to compensate him for his loss of earnings for the rest of his working life. He now plans to put that money to work buying properties in Kettering and Corby that need renovating and project managing them to make a living. We wish him all the best with his new venture and if he shows as much strength of character as he did during the litigation we’re sure he’ll make a success of it.
If you would like to discuss a potential claim for compensation then please call us FREE on 0800 3 10 11 12 today or alternatively call our Corby branch on 01536 276300 or our Kettering branch on 01536 311690.