A traumatic brain injury is an alteration in brain function following a significant impact injury to the brain. It is a complex injury which can result in a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities for victims.
Traumatic brain injuries are classified according to their severity from mild, moderate, severe, very severe and extremely severe traumatic brain injuries. In determining the severity of a Traumatic brain injury, specialists consider how long the victim was in a coma following impact (Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score) and the length of time in Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA) as the most reliable indicators.
How is a Traumatic Brain Injury different from other physical injuries?
A traumatic brain injury is very different from a broken limb or fractured sternum. In those cases a victim can limit the use of movement of the injured area to facilitate recovery. In the case of a brain injury however an individual is unable to limit the use of the brain to aid recovery due to its essential role in everyday life.
Brain injuries do not heal like physical injuries given their complexity and the fact that no two brain injuries are the same and consequences for similar injuries can vary between different individuals. A structured and comprehensive approach is taken by medical practitioners and lawyers in treating and acting for victims who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
How does a traumatic brain injury affect an individual and what are some of the symptoms experienced?
The effects of a brain injury can be broad ranging and can impact on all areas of a person’s life. In more severe cases the injury can result in them being able to work and requiring extensive medical, rehabilitation psychiatric treatment as well as extensive assistance with care needs.
A traumatic brain injury can result in cognitive problems such as memory loss, difficulty using old and acquiring new information and undertaking problem solving tasks. It can also result in personality and behavioural changes such as an individual becoming irritable, angry and aggressive. In more severe cases a traumatic brain injury can result in neuromotor problems in which cases individuals struggle to maintain muscle control and have difficulty executing various simple movements such as walking.
Even a mild traumatic brain injury can have a devastating effect on an injured person, their family and friends. In many cases MRI and CAT scans are found to be normal yet an individual can experience cognitive problems such as severe headaches, memory problems and difficulty thinking, impacting significantly on their work and home life resulting in considerable loss.
What role does the Lifetime Care & Support Authority play in dealing with people with traumatic brain injuries?
Under the Motor Accidents (Lifetime Care & Support) Act 2006 people who have suffered brain injuries in New South Wales may be entitled to receive treatment, rehabilitation and care assistance provided under the Lifetime Care & Support Scheme (“the Scheme”) subject to eligibility criteria.
Those individuals who may be eligible for the interim scheme are normally identified by their treatment teams during the initial hospital period. After a period of 2 years an assessment will be undertaken by the Scheme to determine whether a participant’s injuries qualify for the lifelong cover.
For more information on the Lifetime Care & Support Scheme, including eligibility and available treatment, rehabilitation and care services, please contact one of our experienced lawyers at Brydens Lawyers, who have had a long and successful history of prosecuting brain injury claims, for a free no obligation initial conference.
Can I claim compensation for a traumatic brain injury suffered in a motor vehicle accident?
If you have sustained a brain injury as a result of an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation. Depending on the severity of your injury, damages may be available for pain and suffering, wage loss, loss of superannuation, treatment expenses and domestic assistance.
In more severe cases, individuals may be entitled to lifelong benefits under the Lifetime Care & Support Scheme for all reasonable and necessary treatment, rehabilitation and care needs in addition to compensation from the responsible CTP insurer for pain and suffering damages, wage loss and loss of superannuation.
What can I do if a traumatic brain injury affects my ability to work?
It can be a very difficult and stressful time for victims and their families in dealing with the effects of a traumatic brain injury following a motor vehicle accident. Such injuries can often result in individuals being unable to return to work due to the debilitating effects of the injury. Financial pressure and stress over a person’s inability to pay rent/mortgage payments, school fees, credit card bills and other debts can severely affect an injured person’s health and family relationships.
Pursuant to Section 84A of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999, an insurer has a duty to make interim payments to claimants in respect of economic loss in circumstances where liability has been admitted (wholly or in part) and where such payments are necessary to avoid an injured person suffering financial hardship.
Brydens have successfully obtained financial hardship interim payments for a large number of clients which has been invaluable in easing the financial burden associated with being unable to work due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.
When should I seek specialist legal advice and what is the process?
The devastating effects of a traumatic brain injury are felt by those injured in a motor vehicle accident almost immediately after the incident and whilst the injured person remains in hospital. The law regarding compensation following a brain injury can be complex and it is important that specialist legal advice is sought at an early stage. Such representation requires a balance to be struck between understanding and applying the law in this complex legal area and understanding the needs of the injured person and the long-term trauma such injuries often have on the lives of their family and support networks.
There are strict time limits relating to compensation claims under the Motor Accident Compensation Act 1999. Brydens Lawyers have a team of Accredited Specialist lawyers who are experienced in prosecuting brain injury cases and are able to provide clear and concise advice regarding the compensation process for those who have suffered a brain injury following a motor vehicle accident. We operate on a “no win no fee” agreement with no upfront costs or disbursements and no fees charged unless we are successful with the claim.
For over 40 years now Brydens Lawyers has been operating a ‘No Win – No Fee”, policy which, simply put, provides that if a personal injury or compensation client is unsuccessful in their claim then Brydens Lawyers will not raise a tax invoice for having acted on behalf of the client. That is, if the claim is unsuccessful we do not get paid. More information about how this works can be found on our No Win – No Fee page.