- February 18, 2019
- By Ian Peters
- 0 comments
Early rehabilitation is the key
I have recently settled a case for a client, following a serious road traffic collision in October 2017, which highlighted how early rehabilitation can be key to a good outcome, especially in cases involving traumatic brain injury.
My client was riding his bicycle home in West London, when a motorist pulled out directly into his path from a side road to his left. The motorist compounded his poor driving by then stopping in the road to attempt an illegal U-turn. My client did not have sufficient time to react and collided heavily with the vehicle.
My client was taken to a major trauma centre in London and was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and some minor orthopaedic injuries. He was admitted to hospital for two months, so he could benefit from neurorehabilitation.
Whilst my client was in hospital, I contacted the motor insurers and asked them to admit liability and importantly to provide funding for the instruction of a case manager who could assess my client’s need for continuing rehabilitation following his discharge from hospital.
The insurers would not admit liability due to a pending criminal prosecution against the motorist for his poor driving. However, they took a sensible and pragmatic approach to rehabilitation. They agreed to fund the cost of the instruction of a case manager who met with my client whilst he was in hospital and then supported his discharge home.
The case manager identified that my client still needed significant neurorehabilitation from a neuropsychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, a speech language therapist, and a family counsellor. She identified that statutory services would not be able to provide the level of therapy my client required, and she recommended that the insurers provide funding for him to access this treatment in the private sector. The insurers accepted her recommendations and agreed funding for the case manager to put in place a full multi-disciplinary team.
My client was struggling with symptoms arising his brain injury such as memory loss, impaired executive functioning, and loss of confidence. His brain injury had also caused him to suffer double vision from his left eye which was very disorientating. After a difficult couple of months at home, my client started to benefit from the intensive rehabilitation regime which had been introduced. The case manager oversaw the rehabilitation package and introduced a brain injury trained support worker to assist my client twice weekly with leisure tasks to improve his confidence and levels of independence.
My client thrived with the assistance of his rehabilitation team. He was able to return to work on a trial basis in the summer of 2018 which was way ahead of the expectations. He did well during the trial and returned to work as normal in September 2018.
My client continued with his rehabilitation whilst his legal case progressed. The insurers admitted partial liability for his accident, but alleged that my client was also at fault on the basis that he was riding too fast and that he should have taken more care as it was obvious the motorist was intending to pull out onto the main road. I advised my client to reject any such allegations of “contributory negligence”. I did not see that his actions on the day could be criticised in any way. My advice was that the motorist was 100% responsible for his accident.
Due to my client’s rapid recovery, I was able to put in place assessments with a variety of medical experts including a neurologist, neuropsychologist, ophthalmologist, orthopaedic surgeon and a care expert. These reports confirmed that my client had made a good recovery from his injuries but that he still had some lingering symptoms of cognitive impairment. They recommended further rehabilitation and then re-assessment at a later date.
The insurers were keen to resolve the matter at an earlier stage than I felt comfortable with due to the need for continued rehabilitation. However, my client wanted to meet with them to discuss the case and to see if settlement was possible.
Whilst my client had made significant progress, due to the early stage at which the settlement negotiations were taking place, I approached the valuation of his claim and his potential for further future recovery, with a certain degree of pessimism. I allowed for a significant amount of continuing support from a case manager and support workers on a long-term basis. I also claimed for ongoing sessions with a neuropsychologist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist.
The case was eventually settled for a significant six figure sum. The settlement gives my client the financial means to continue to involve a case manager and a support worker in his life as when he considers necessary. My client was very happy with the outcome and with the support he has received during his recovery. At the time of the settlement, he had stopped therapy sessions and enjoying being back at work. He felt very positive about the future.
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