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As it is Hard Hat Awareness Week this week Aston Knight Solicitors have prepared this article to help raise awareness of head injury.

Suffering a head injury or brain damage is often one of the most serious and potentially devastating types of injury you can experience. The effects of suffering a head injury can vary a lot. A person can have a relatively minor injury or short-lived injury (such as concussion), to a serious, life-changing injury which impairs the individuals’ brain and sensory function. Even what may appear to be a mild brain injury can have some very unpleasant side-effects.

Head injury symptoms can include problems with memory, issues with concentration, difficulty with motor control and speech, higher brain functions and other common cognitive problems. When it comes to making a compensation claim for a head injury or brain damage, the severity of your injury and its overall effects on the rest of your life will help to set how much compensation you could claim. Head injuries can result in some of the highest personal injury claim settlements.

Hard Hat Awareness Week

What are the causes of Head Injuries?

Head injuries and brain damage can be caused by a range of different types of accidents and circumstances such as:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Accidents at work
  • Falls from heights
  • Assaults at work
  • Sport Injury

In most cases of a head injury, the skull is able to protect your brain from serious injury. However more severe head injuries could also be associated with damage to the upper spine. Your overall risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury, (an injury to the brain caused by a trauma to the head) depends on the severity of the impact and injury. Injuries such as falling from a height or being involved in a high-speed accident will have a higher risk of more serious injury.

According to data published by the brain injury charity Headway, there were 348,453 UK admissions to hospital with acquired brain injury in 2016-17. That equates to 531 admissions per 100,000 of the population.

What are the Different Types of Head Injury?

It can sometimes be difficult to access the severity of a head injury. Symptoms which might at first indicate only a minor or mild head injury could also point to something more serious.

A brief period of unconsciousness, or just feeling sick and dizzy, may result from a person banging their head getting into the car, walking into the top of a low doorway, or slipping over in the street. It is estimated that 75-80% of all head injuries fall into this category.

A moderate head injury is defined as loss of consciousness for between 15 minutes and six hours, or a period of post-traumatic amnesia of up to 24 hours. The patient can be kept in hospital overnight for observation, and then discharged if there are no further obvious medical injuries. Patients with moderate head injury are likely to suffer from a number of residual symptoms.

Severe head injury is usually defined as being a condition where the patient has been in an unconscious state for six hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 24 hours or more. These patients are likely to be hospitalised and receive rehabilitation once the acute phase has passed. Depending on the length of time in coma, these patients tend to have more serious physical deficits.

What are the Symptoms to look out for following a Head Injury?

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Consistent headaches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fits or seizures
  • Sensory problems – blurred vision or loss of hearing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Memory Loss or Post-traumatic amnesia of less than 24 hours after injury

It is important to note that only around 10% of reported mild head injuries/concussions involve a loss of consciousness – so it’s important to not solely rely on this as an indicator.

Brain scan from serious head injury

What should I do if I had a Head Injury?

If you have sustained an injury (such as an injury to the head) as a result of an accident which was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a claim. No matter whether your injury was severe or mild, you could still have grounds to make a claim. It is important for you to understand that even if the injury was partly your own fault this will not prevent you from making a claim for compensation, although it might reduce the amount of compensation you receive.

There are several steps you should take before making any type of personal injury claim.

Collect photographic evidence take photos of the area where the accident happened, including the cause of the accident if possible. Make sure to also take several detailed pictures of your injuries.

Collect details of any witnesses ask for the names and contact information of anyone who saw your accident happen and what caused it. They may be able to provide a witness statement to corroborate your story later.

Visit a medical practitioner this could mean a visit to the hospital, GP surgery, or dentist, depending on the nature and severity of your injuries. This ensures that you get the treatment you need whilst also providing an official record of your injuries. Keep details of your visits and copies of any medical notes recorded.

These steps will help you to ensure your claim is on a better footing when you approach a personal injury claims solicitor.

If you have suffered a head injury and would like legal advice, then get in touch with one of our specialist brain injury solicitors on 0161 399 1231 who will discuss the options available to you.

For more information about the Hard Hat Awareness Campaign visit https://www.headway.org.uk/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/hard-hat-awareness-week/

By Emma Pearce

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