Any kind of brain injury has a devastating effect on the individual. According to the ABI organisation Headway, someone is taken into hospital with a brain injury every 90 seconds in the UK. An Acquired Brain Injury (or ABI) is debilitating, often life-changing, and can strike at any time. ABI refers to any kind of brain injury that happens after birth. Causes can range from oxygen starvation through to trauma to the head in an accident. Disease, tumours, or the prolonged use of drugs or alcohol can also cause a deterioration of cognitive abilities, eventually leading to incapacitation or even death.
What causes ABI?
Other than medical conditions such as tumours and disease, the most common causes of head injuries in the UK are road traffic accidents, falls, accidents at home or at work, and physical assault. Of these, road traffic accidents usually produce the most serious injuries. However, some very serious ABIs can be the result of medical negligence, particularly oxygen starvation during birth or during an operation.
How does it affect the individual?
ABIs are incredibly complex medical conditions, and how an ABI affects an individual will depend very much on the nature of the injury and the location of the injury within the brain. Effects can be mild or severe, ranging from fatigue and trouble processing information to paralysis, speech impediment, or serious physical and mental disabilities.
But it’s not just the victim of an ABI who feels the effects of such a life-changing incident – their immediate family also suffer the consequences. If the victim is the main breadwinner in the home then a head injury that leaves them unable to carry on working could result in the mortgage or rent not being paid. Serious ABIs could mean that a family home has to be extensively renovated and altered to accommodate a person with severe medical needs, or full-time care may be required. Long-term medical costs can mount up, and things such as modified transport needs have to be taken into consideration.
All of this costs money, and if an ABI is the result of negligence or an accident then it may be necessary to pursue a compensation claim.
Who is to blame?
Not all ABIs are the result of negligence or can be apportioned to the actions of another individual, and sometimes, there simply isn’t anyone to ‘blame’, especially if the ABI is a result of illness.
However, if you or a loved one has suffered an ABI that you believe is a direct result of someone else or is the result of a case of medical negligence, you may have grounds for making a compensation claim. You have up to three years after the date of the injury that caused the ABI, although if the victim is a minor (under 18) then the parents or guardian can claim on their behalf at any time up to three years after the victim’s 18th birthday. It is important to note however, that if the ABI results in loss of capacity, there is no limitation on when the compensation claim can be made.
Who can I speak to?
Because medical compensation and serious injury claims are so complex, and because of the large sums of money often involved in cases, you must talk to an experienced and fully qualified legal expert as soon as possible. They’ll be able to assess your case, look at the circumstances surrounding the injury, and advise you on the best course of action. If that involves making a personal injury compensation claim then they’ll be able to take on the case and pursue it through the courts to get you the compensation that you deserve.
With our help, ABI doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Talk to our team in confidence today.