The connotations of accidental serious injuries
- AuthorKate Sweeney
Personal injury solicitors deal on a daily basis with accident claims covering a variety of incidents such as trips, slips and falls or road traffic accidents leading to broken bones and back or neck injuries for examples.
However, sometimes injuries resulting from an accident can be far more serious. Serious injuries can occur almost anywhere, and the long-term repercussions will affect the victim and their family members for many years, if not continually.
Serious injuries include amputations, head and brain injuries and permanent damage to the spinal column. Burns also come under this category, as does a loss of major senses, such as sight.
For the victim, and their loved ones, the cost to rebuild a life is more than just a monetary one. In many cases, provision of 24-hour a day medical care is required, as well as regular trips to hospitals, physiotherapy units, aftercare providers and health centres.
Serious injuries can lead to life changes
A significant proportion of serious injuries results in the need to make permanent changes to the living environment, such as wheelchair ramps, hand rails, specially adapted beds and furniture, and appropriate bathroom facilities.
For those victims who are still able to work, there could be lengthy re-training programmes to undertake. Mobility can be a major issue, too, with the potential need for wheelchair provision, specially adapted vehicles or perhaps guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired.
If the accident or incident leading to the serious injury was not the fault of the individual, then specifically skilled legal representation is a must. In many cases, those responsible will make compensation offers early on, rather than taking the matter to court. Victims and their loved ones need specialist guidance on whether to accept these offers, or to pursue the matter further to seek a larger award.
In most cases, claims need to be made within three years of the incident, so time is of the essence when lodging a case. There are different rules, however, when the injury is to a child or someone who has been mentally incapacitated.
Examples of serious injury cases
Establishing blame for serious injuries isn’t always easy, but in some cases it’s relatively straightforward. The case of a construction worker, Lukasz Taborek, who had to have a leg amputated after a 2007 workplace accident was very clear. His managers had no construction experience at all, and one of them had never even been given any health and safety training. Inadequate supervision was subsequently found to be the main cause of the accident.
A Lancashire garage worker broke his back after falling from a ladder which was in a state of disrepair. His employer was fined £4,000 for failing to ensure the ladder was correctly maintained. The serious injury that resulted could easily have been avoided.
In 2009, cable worker Stephen Heath suffered serious burns after working on equipment after being told, incorrectly, that it had been isolated. His employers had failed to carry out a risk assessment, and had not supplied Mr Heath with the correct protective equipment. This litany of errors led to the employee suffering burns to his hands, arms and chest.
For victims of serious injuries, and their family members, obtaining the maximum possible compensation award is a must. The road ahead can be a long, arduous one, and the need to gain the highest settlement should be a top priority. At Stephensons, our legal experts can help you at every stage of the process. Call us today on 0844 245 6601 and discuss your case with one of our specialists.
By personal injury solicitor, Kate Sweeney