Every year in England and Wales, Accident and Emergency departments have to deal with around 700,000 cases of head injury, with the most frequent causes being road traffic accidents, falls and assaults.
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is used to classify the severity of head injuries. This scale ranges from 3 to 15, with 3 being the most severe. A score of 9-12 is considered moderate, and 8 or less is considered severe. Sometimes additional tests are needed to determine the severity of the injury, such as a CT scan.
Minor head injury cases
Around 80% of all head injury cases are classified as moderate or minor. In such cases your doctor will likely advise that you rest at home and take painkillers. However, although your injuries are not severe, you may be in considerable discomfort and have out-of-pocket expenses such as for travel, medical treatment and loss of earnings. You may therefore be entitled to receive some compensation to reflect these losses.
Severe head injury cases
For the 20% of head injury cases that are classified as severe, the effect of the injury can be devastating – impacting your work or education, your family life and your ability to cope from day to day. You may find your speech, balance or movement is affected and you may struggle to think clearly, remember simple things or pay attention. Some people even experience personality changes that can place a strain on their relationships.
In such cases, compensation can really help to support you and your family in coping with the effects of your injury. It can pay for the best available medical treatment and high quality care, together with rehabilitation treatment and necessary equipment to help you cope with day-to-day living. Compensation can, of course, also cover any expenses you have had to pay out as a result of your injury such as for travel and lost earnings.
I’ve had a head injury: what should I do?
Following a head injury, it’s important to review the advice on the NHS website to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
- Minor head injury advice
- Severe head injury advice
- Severe head injuries can result in unconsciousness, seizures, problems with speaking, drowsiness, loss of hearing, blurred vision, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or ears and amnesia. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Once you have sought appropriate treatment for your injury, you should speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible about your prospects of claiming compensation. If your injury is causing you financial hardship, it is sometimes possible to get some help towards the cost of your expenses before any final decision is made as to the amount of compensation to which you are entitled. Your solicitor will also be able to advise you on the benefits that may be available to you if you are unable to work.
How much compensation will I receive?
Compensation is designed to cover all of the expenses you have actually incurred as a result of your injury, together with expenses you are likely to incur in the future. Compensation also includes a sum for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your head injury, and any loss of amenity that has occurred such as partial paralysis or loss of speech.
The amount of compensation each person receives depends on the individual circumstances of their case. For minor head injuries, the sum is often in the region of £1,500 – £10,000. For very severe head injuries where significant brain damage has occurred, the sum will likely be in the region of £300,000. A specialist head injury solicitor will be able to advise you on the likely amount of compensation you will receive, based on your circumstances.