The Senior

Understanding damages in head injury compensation claims

Smith's Lawyers offer valuable advice to those seeking compensation for head injuries. Picture Shutterstock
Smith's Lawyers offer valuable advice to those seeking compensation for head injuries. Picture Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Smith's Lawyers.

Head or brain injuries are, unfortunately, quite common. According to a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), injuries to the head and neck were the most prevalent in cases requiring hospital treatment during the period of 2018-19.

The findings from the AIHW emphasised that over 120,000 hospitalisations, which accounted for 22 per cent of all cases, were related to this area of the body.

Luckily, Smith's Lawyers offer valuable advice to those seeking compensation for head injuries. They understand that damages can encompass a wide range of areas and strive to achieve the best outcome for their clients.

Injuries, especially those that affect the brain, can have a deeply transformative effect on one's life. Extensive research on the impact of brain trauma has revealed a striking disparity in the quality and duration of life between individuals who have experienced such injuries and those who have not.

Differentiating between head injuries and brain injuries: Understanding the distinctions

A head injury is a broad term that encompasses any harm to any part of the head. This can include fractures to the facial bones or the skull. Additionally, soft tissue damage, which may manifest as facial bruising, cuts, or scrapes, is also considered a type of head injury.

When it comes to the brain itself, an injury can be identified by symptoms such as brain tissue bruising, swelling, or bleeding, which would fall under the category of a brain injury.

Classifying brain injuries: A comprehensive overview of types

Brain injuries can be categorised into two main types: Acquired Brain Injuries (ABIs) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). ABIs occur after birth and can result from various factors such as diseases, substance misuse, or strokes.

On the other hand, TBIs, a subtype of ABIs, are typically caused by traumatic incidents like sudden blows to the head or head impacts with objects.

In a TBI, the brain can shift within the skull due to impact or intense forces, such as the whiplash motion experienced in car crashes. This can lead to twisting of brain tissues and collisions with the skull or facial bones, resulting in brain swelling or hemorrhage. Among the different forms of brain injuries, concussions are quite common.

Brain injuries are classified based on severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. This classification depends on the extent of trauma inflicted on the brain, which includes factors such as bruising, bleeding, and swelling.

The human brain is a complex and delicate organ, and understanding the different types and severity of brain injuries is crucial for effective diagnosis, treatment, and care.

An in-depth look at different types of head injury compensation claims

No matter the cause of your head injury, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Common scenarios that may warrant such claims include workplace injuries, damages from car or other motor vehicle accidents, or impairments resulting from slips, trips, or falls.

Identifying the causes and impacts of head injuries

Head injuries can result from various causes, with motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, and workplace mishaps being among the most common incidents.

It is worth noting that in the fiscal year of 2019-2020 alone, there were over 4,000 compensation claims filed for work-related head injuries. The prevalence of falls, trips, and accidental collisions with objects underscores the importance of occupational safety and the need for severe injury compensation.

When head injuries progress to severe brain damage, they can have a profound impact on a person's life. Persistent headaches, mood swings, fatigue, and cognitive challenges like memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and impaired performance in complex tasks are just a few of the complications that can arise. These limitations can significantly impede one's professional capabilities, sometimes rendering them unable to work.

Obtaining compensation through successful brain injury claims can provide crucial financial support, especially when the victim's earning capacity is compromised due to the injury. To gain a better understanding of your rights and explore potential avenues for compensation, seeking advice from an experienced workers' compensation attorney is highly recommended.

Gauging the timeline: How long do head injury settlements typically take?

Resolving Common Law claims typically takes 12 to 18 months for employees seeking compensation. However, non-work-related claims may require a longer duration due to the complexity of identifying liable individuals or entities. The time needed to settle your claim depends on reaching an agreement with the responsible party or their insurance provider.

When an agreement is reached, the compensation process is expedited compared to pursuing a court trial. Most claims are resolved outside of court, relying on the strength of evidence and the negotiator's expertise. Competent compensation lawyers aim to settle claims promptly.

If your head or brain injury is work-related, it is advisable to promptly file a statutory claim with WorkCover or a self-insurer. If all necessary information is correctly submitted, a decision can be rendered in less than 20 days. This enables prompt payments for lost wages and medical expenses, easing the financial burden. Consulting a personal injury lawyer early on can greatly assist in securing the necessary funds for your recovery.