08 Jan 2024

Acquired brain Injury Parliamentary Group’s Successful Return

By Karen Hayes

In recent years, the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Parliamentary Group has played a vital role in raising awareness, advocating change, and supporting individuals and families affected by acquired brain injuries.  After a temporary hiatus, the group made a triumphant return in 2023, reinvigorating its efforts to address the pressing issues surrounding ABI.  In this blog, we will explore the significance of the ABI Parliamentary Group’s return and highlight some of the key accomplishments so far.

Re-establishing a Platform for Collaboration

The return of the ABI Parliamentary Group has provided a much-needed platform for collaboration among lawmakers, healthcare professionals, researchers, and solicitors specialising in brain injury cases.  By bring together diverse perspectives, the group facilitates discussions on policy reform, resource allocation, and the implementation of best practices.  This renewed collaboration has already shown promising outcomes in terms of promoting a comprehensive approach to supporting individuals with ABI.

Raising Awareness and Advocacy

One of the primary objectives of the ABI Parliamentary Group is to raise awareness about acquired brain injuries and advocate for improved support services and legal frameworks.  Through targets campaigns, parliamentary debates and public events, the group aims to ensure that ABI is recognised as a significant public health issue.  By highlighting the challenges faced by survivors and their families, the group strives to influence policy decisions and secure necessary funding for vital services.

Addressing Legal Issues and Reform

Solicitors specialising in acquired brain injury cases have long been at the forefront of advocating for legal reforms to better support their clients.  The ABI Parliamentary Group acts as a crucial ally in this endeavour, offering a platform to discuss legal challenges, proposed reforms, and the need for enhanced legal protections.  By collaborating with solicitors, the group helps shape legislation that addresses the unique needs of individuals with ABI, ensuring their rights are protected and their access to justice improved.

Supporting Research and Innovation

The ABI Parliamentary Group recognises the importance of research and innovation in advancing our understanding of acquired brain injuries and improving rehabilitation and support strategies.  By working closely with researchers, the group promotes investment in research projects, encourages knowledge sharing, and helps translate research findings into practical solutions.  This collaboration between parliamentarians, solicitors, and researchers contributes to a holistic approach that benefits individuals with ABI and their families.

The return of the Acquired Brain Injury Parliamentary Group marks a significant milestone in the ongoing fight for improved support and legal protections for individuals affected by ABI.  By re-establishing a platform for collaboration, raising awareness, addressing legal issues, and supporting research and innovation, the group is poised to make a lasting impact on the lives of those living with ABI.

Coulthursts  Solicitors, is a specialist brain injury firm. We understand the impact that ABI has on not only those diagnosed with such an injury, but also their loved ones.  We obtain specialist treatment, care and rehabilitation to help those individuals with ABI to achieve their goals to enable them to lead their life to the fullest.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

01 Jan 2024

Exploring the Highway Code Changes

By Karen Hayes

The Highway Code serves as a crucial set of rules and guidelines for all road users in the United Kingdom and helps to ensure the safety and efficiency of our roads. In 2022, several significant changes were made to the Highway Code, impacting both motorists and pedestrians.  Uniquely specialising in representing people with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI),  Coulthursts stays up to date with these modifications to effectively advise our clients involved in Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) and related legal matters. Brain injury solicitor Karen Hayes explores the key changes introduced to the Highway Code and discusses the implications.

  1. Introduction of the ‘Dutch Reach’: One of the notable additions to the Highway Code in 2022 was the introduction of the ‘Dutch Reach.’ This technique involves using the hand furthest from the door (usually the left hand for UK drivers) to open car doors. By adopting this method, motorists are encouraged to check for cyclists and other vulnerable road users before exiting their vehicles. This change can impact cases involving ‘car door accidents’.
  2. Priority for pedestrians and cyclists at junctions: To promote active travel and enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists, the 2022 Highway Code update introduced a change in priority at junctions.  This change was codifying the stance the Courts have taken for a long time in dealing with these vulnerable road users who are the people most likely to sustain a serious TBI in the event of an RTA. Motorists are therefore now expected to give way to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross or turning into their path. This shift could have implications for us handling cases involving accidents at junctions and potential disputes regarding right of way.
  3. Increased penalties for mobile phone use while driving: With the aim of deterring distracted driving, the penalties for using a mobile phone while driving were significantly increased in 2022. Offenders can now face higher fines, more penalty points on their driving license, and even disqualification from driving in severe cases. Coulthursts is well-versed in the updated penalties and can provide accurate advice to our TBI clients.
  4. Guidance on safe passing distances: To enhance safety for vulnerable road users, the updated Highway Code provided clearer guidance on safe passing distances. Motorists are now advised to leave a minimum distance of 1.5 metres when passing cyclists and horse riders, where possible. This change emphasizes the duty of care drivers owe to these vulnerable road users and may have implications when representing injured cyclists or horse riders who sustain a TBI after being involved in accidents.
  5. New guidance for electric vehicle drivers: Given the increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), the 2022 Highway Code update included specific guidance for EV drivers. It covers topics such as charging etiquette, parking considerations, and the importance of ensuring vehicles are left in a safe state while charging. We may encounter cases involving EV-related incidents or disputes, and familiarity with these guidelines will be invaluable in providing accurate legal advice.

As solicitors, it is crucial to remain informed about the changes introduced in the Highway Code, as they directly impact the legal landscape surrounding road traffic accidents and related matters. By understanding the 2022 modifications, such as the ‘Dutch Reach,’ revised priority at junctions, increased penalties for mobile phone use, guidance on safe passing distances, and specific guidelines for electric vehicle drivers, Coulthursts can effectively navigate and advocate for clients with TBI in these evolving legal scenarios.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

04 Dec 2023

Understanding the Recent Changes to DVLA Regarding Eyesight Rules

By Karen Hayes

In recent times, The Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has implemented some changes to its rules concerning eyesight requirements for drivers.  These changes aim to enhance road safety by ensuring that all drivers have adequate vision to operate a vehicle safely and Coulthursts recognises the importance of staying updated with such modifications to help our clients. Unfortunately, it is estimated by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents that 2,900 casualties per year are caused by poor driver vision [July 2021 ROSPA data].  As such, this blog will highlight the key changes to the DVLA rules about eyesight and what they mean for drivers.

Revised Minimum Standards

The DVLA has introduced revised minimum eyesight standards which drivers must meet to obtain or renew their driving licenses.  Previously, drivers were merely required to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres during their driving test, but the updated standards place emphasis on visual acuity and field of vision in addition to distance.  Drivers are now required to meet specific criteria for both these factors, ensuring their eyesight is adequate for safe driving.

Visual Acuity Requirements

Visual acuity refers to the clarity of vision, typically measured using the Snellen chart. This is the chart with various sized letters that opticians use to check your eyesight.  The DVLA now mandates that drivers must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20 metres (65 feet).  This requirement applies to both new license applicants and those renewing their licenses.  If a driver fails to meet this criterion, they may face license suspension or be required to undergo additional tests to prove their visual acuity.

Field of Vision Standards

The field of vision is the area that a person can see without moving their eyes and the DVLA has specified a minimum field of vision requirement for drivers.  Generally, drivers must have a field of vision of at least 120 degrees horizontally and 20 degrees vertically. This standard ensures that drivers have adequate peripheral vision to be aware of their surroundings and potential hazards on the road.

Regular Eye Tests

To comply with the new DVLA rules, drivers are encouraged to have regular eye tests.  An eye examination can identify any potential vision problems and enable early detection of conditions that may affect a driver’s ability to meet the minimum eyesight standards.  If a driver’s eyesight deteriorates between license renewals, they are responsible for notifying the DVLA and their insurance provider.

Professional Opinions and Medical Reports

If a driver is concerned about their eyesight or has received medical advice suggesting their vision may not meet the required standards, it is crucial to seek professional opinions and medical reports.  An optometrist or ophthalmologist can assess the driver’s eyesight and provide necessary documentation to support any discussions with the DVLA.

Conclusion

The DVLA’s recent changes to the rules on eyesight requirements for drivers demonstrate the agency’s commitment to road safety.  As a driver, it is essential to stay informed about these changes and ensure that you meet the revised minimum eyesight standards.  Regular eye tests and professional opinions play a significant role in maintaining your ability to driver legally and safely.  If you have any concerns about your eyesight, consult with an eye care professional and seek guidance from the DVLA to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.

Personal injury claims which arise from eyesight issues can cause catastrophic outcomes for those involved. Remember, prioritising your vision means prioritising your safety and the safety of others on the road.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

20 Nov 2023

Exploring the Legal Position of Driverless Cars in the UK

By Karen Hayes

Driverless cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, are rapidly emerging as a disruptive technology that has the potential to revolutionise the transportation industry.  As these vehicles become more advanced and widespread, it is crucial to understand the legal framework surrounding their operation in the United Kingdom.  Brain injury solicitor Karen Hayes explores the current legal position for driverless cars in the UK and considers key aspects of the debate, including liability, regulation, and the future of autonomous vehicles.

Liability & Responsibility

One of the primary concerns with driverless cars is determining liability in the event of an accident.  Currently, under UK law the driver or operator of a vehicle is responsible for any accident or damages that occur.  However, with autonomous vehicles, where there may not be a human driver in control, the question arises as to who should be held liable.  The UK government has acknowledged this challenge and is considering the introduction of a new framework that includes a system of strict liability, making it easier to determine responsibility in accidents involving autonomous vehicles.

Regulatory Framework

To facilitate the safe deployment and operation of driverless cars, the UK government has been actively developing a regulatory framework.  In 2021, the Department for Transport (DfT) released the “Code of Practice: Automated Vehicle Trialling”, which provides guidelines and recommendations for those conducting trials of autonomous vehicles on public roads.  The DfT is also working on the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) regulations, which would allow the use of automated systems for driving on motorways in specific circumstances.  A full regulatory framework is expected by 2025.

Data Protection and Privacy

Driverless cars generate a vast amount of data, including location information, vehicle performance data, personal data, and performance data about passengers.  Ensuring data protection and privacy is a crucial aspect of the legal position regarding autonomous vehicles.  The UK already has comprehensive data protection laws in place, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets strict rules for collection, storage, and use of personal data.  It is essential for manufacturers and service providers to comply with these regulations and prioritise data security to maintain public trust.

Insurance and Product Liability

With the introduction of autonomous vehicles, the insurance industry will face significant changes.  Traditional motor insurance policies are based on the assumption that human drivers are responsible for accidents.  However, with driverless cars, the focus shifts towards product liability, where the manufacturers or technology providers may assume a greater share of the responsibility.  The insurance industry is adapting to these changes, and some insurers have started offering specialised policies for autonomous vehicles.

Public Perception and Acceptance

While the legal framework continues to evolve, public perception and acceptance of driverless cars play a vital role in their widespread adoption.  The UK government has been investing in public trials and demonstrations to increase awareness and understanding of autonomous vehicles.  Building public trust through transparency and open dialogue about the technology’s benefits and potential risks is crucial for its successful integration into society.

Legal precedents and legislation

Coulthursts is aware that driverless cars are a relatively new phenomenon in which the technology is developing and improving, as is the legal landscape.  At the moment, there is a lack of legal precedent and comprehensive legislation to address the liability issues that can occur as a result of an accident.  The Courts will have a difficult job in interpreting existing laws and will need to establish new legal standards.  They will also need to consider the interplay between different types of vehicles to determine the responsibilities and liabilities of each party in an accident involving both human-operated and autonomous vehicles.

Overall, this is a complex, evolving area of law which will inevitably have significant ramifications for road users who are seeking compensation after sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).   By instructing Coulthursts, you are ensuring you get the best up to date advice to deal with your Road Traffic Accident (RTA) claim, whether caused by a human or by driverless technology.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

06 Nov 2023

Understanding After-the-Event Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

By Karen Hayes

When it comes to legal matters, it is always wise to consider all potential risks and protect yourself from unexpected costs. After-the-event (ATE) insurance is one such option that could offer you financial protection in the event of a legal dispute. In this blog post, we will delve into the details of ATE insurance, its benefits, and whether it’s something you truly need.

What is After-the-Event Insurance?

After-the-event insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance that you can purchase after an incident has occurred and legal action is being taken. It provides coverage for legal costs, court fees, and other expenses associated with pursuing or defending a legal claim. ATE insurance is typically used to protect individuals from the financial burden of legal proceedings, especially when the outcome is uncertain.

Qualified One-Way Costs Shifting (QOCS)

Prior to the 6th April 2023, if an offer to settle (Part 36 Offer) was made by the Defendant but was not accepted by the Claimant, and at Trial the Claimant failed to beat that offer, then the consequences could be quite serious. For although the Claimant had technically won the case by proving the Defendant was at fault, they would have to pay from their damages the amount of costs incurred by the Defendant since the offer had expired (i.e after 21 days).  This could mean all the Claimant’s damages could be lost in paying the legal costs of the Defendant.

Regrettably, since the 6th April, the possible consequences of such a situation have become even worse. Now the Court can award the Defendant’s costs from the Claimant’s damages and also from their costs.  This means if you do not have After the Event Insurance to protect you, then you could be left not only with no damages, but also a bill for your Solicitor’s costs if you fail to beat a Part 36 Offer.

It appears that it would be better for a Claimant to lose a claim in its entirety, rather than just failing to beat an offer.  This is because with QOCS, if there is no finding of fundamental dishonesty or fraud against the Claimant, if they simply lose the claim, then the Defendant will not be able to recover their costs.  Further, under the No Win No Fee Agreement, your solicitor would simply write off their costs as you had not ‘won’.

Benefits of After-the-Event Insurance:

  1. Financial Protection:

Legal disputes can be expensive, with costs piling up quickly. ATE insurance helps mitigate the financial risk by covering legal fees and other related expenses, giving you peace of mind during a potentially stressful time. This means that if you followed your Solicitor’s advice and rejected a Part 36 Offer and then failed to beat it at trial, the ATE insurer would pay the Defendant’s costs.  As such, you would still retain your damages, enabling you to pay a contribution to your legal fees in accordance with the No Win No Fee Agreement.

  1. Access to Justice:

ATE insurance can help level the playing field, ensuring that individuals or smaller entities can pursue legal action against larger opponents without fear of prohibitive costs.

  1. Risk Management:

Legal cases can be unpredictable, and outcomes are never guaranteed. ATE insurance safeguards you against the possibility of having to pay your opponent’s legal costs.

  1. Confidence in Pursuing Claims:

With ATE insurance, you might feel more confident in pursuing a claim or defending yourself in court, knowing that your financial interests are protected.

Do You Really Need After-the-Event Insurance?

While ATE insurance offers significant advantages, it might not be necessary in every situation. Here are some factors to consider when deciding if you need ATE insurance:

  1. Nature of the Legal Dispute:

Evaluate the complexity and potential costs of your legal case. If it is a straightforward matter with low costs involved, ATE insurance might not be essential.

  1. Financial Capability:

Assess your ability to cover legal expenses out of pocket. If the potential costs could jeopardise your financial stability, ATE insurance might be a prudent choice.

  1. Opponent’s Resources:

Consider the financial strength of the opposing party. If they have deep pockets and can afford a prolonged legal battle, ATE insurance can provide a safety net for you.

  1. Legal Advice:

Consult with Coulthursts to get their professional opinion on whether ATE insurance is recommended for your specific case.

Conclusion:

After-the-event insurance can be a valuable tool to protect yourself from unexpected legal costs and provide you with the confidence to pursue a legal claim. While it might not be necessary for every situation, its benefits are worth considering, especially if your case involves significant financial risks. To make an informed decision, carefully evaluate the nature of your legal dispute, your financial circumstances, and seek advice from Coulthursts. We can ensure you have the best After The Event Insurance protection possible to support you with your brain injury claim.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

23 Oct 2023

Choosing a Family Member or Professional Deputy: Making the Right Decision

By Karen Hayes

When someone lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves, whether due to age, illness, or disability, it becomes necessary to appoint a deputy to handle their affairs.  A deputy is responsible for making decisions on behalf of the person, managing their finances, and ensuring their well-being. This is especially relevant for people who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as it can have a particularly debilitating effect on their quality of life which, in many cases, can be permanent.

One of the most important decisions to make when appointing a deputy is whether to choose a family member or a professional.  To help you make an informed decision, here are some of the factors to consider when making this choice.

Understanding the role of the Deputy

Before considering who is the best person to act, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what a deputy does.  A deputy acts in the best interest of the individual who lacks capacity, making decisions that align with their values and preferences.  The duties of a deputy typically include managing finances, arranging care services, making healthcare decisions, and ensuring that the person’s daily needs are met.

Choosing a family member as Deputy:

Selecting a family member as a deputy often comes with a level of trust and familiarity that can provide comfort to the individual who lacks capacity.  Family members may have an intimate understanding of their loved one’s wishes, making it easier to make decisions that align with their best interests. Again, this is particularly relevant when helping someone with a TBI because closest relatives are not only affected by the person’s debilitation, but are also likely to be responsible for providing most day-to-day care.

Family members are also more likely to have a deep emotional connection with the person who lacks capacity.  They may be more attuned to their needs, preferences, and values allowing them to make decisions that prioritise their well-being.

Appointing a family member can also be cost effective.  Unlike professional deputies who charge fees for their services, family members may be willing to take on the role without expecting financial compensation.

Choosing a Professional Deputy:

By choosing a professional deputy, you know the person possesses the necessary knowledge and experience in managing complex financial and legal matters.  They are well-versed in the legal responsibilities associated with the role and can navigate intricate legal matters with ease.

Professional deputies can also provide unbiased perspective when making decisions, free from personal emotions or conflicts of interest.  This impartiality ensures that decisions are made solely in the best interests of the individual who lacks capacity.

Another advantage of having a professional deputy is that family dynamics can change over time.  However, professional deputies offer continuity and stability.  They are dedicated to their role and can provide consistent support, especially in situations where family members may be unable or unwilling to fulfil the responsibilities of a deputy.

Family Member or Professional.  Which is the best choice?

To decide whether a family member or professional deputy should be appointed, the individual circumstances of the person who lacks capacity should be considered.  Their needs, the complexity of their financial and legal affairs, and the availability of family members should all be considered in making this decision.

It is also essential to consider the dynamics and relationships within the family.  Conflicts or strained relationships among family members may hinder effective decision-making and potentially lead to disputes.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to appoint a combination of family members and professionals as deputies.  This can allow for a balance between the emotional connection to family members and the expertise of professionals.

Choosing between a family member and a professional deputy is a decision that should be made carefully, taking into account the specific circumstances and needs of the individual who lacks capacity.  There is no one-size fits all answer and the best choice may vary from case to case.  It is crucial to evaluate the trust, expertise, objectivity, and continuity offered by both options to ensure the well-being and best interests of your loved one.

Coulthursts, the only UK legal firm to specialise in TBI and to fund up front care for clients while pursuing their claim for damages, is ideally placed to provide you with expert advice on the subject of choosing the right deputy for your injured relative.

If you wish to consider becoming a deputy for your loved one, further information on the responsibilities and the procedures that must be followed, are provided at https://www.gov.uk/become-deputy

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

09 Oct 2023

Blurred Vision After A Head Injury

By Karen Hayes

Head injuries have a wide range of effects on an individual’s health, and one common symptom that can arise after such an injury is blurred vision which can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and ability to perform daily tasks. If you or a loved one are experiencing blurred vision after a head injury that was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be entitled to compensation.  In this blog, we will discuss the importance of seeking legal representation from a skilled solicitor who specialises in head injury cases to ensure you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.

Understanding Blurred Vision After A Head Injury

Blurred vision is a common symptom that can result from various types of head injuries, including concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and other forms of head trauma.  It occurs due to disruptions in the visual pathways to the brain or damage to the optic nerve or structures around it, resulting in an inability to focus properly.  Blurred vision can range from mild blurriness to complete loss of vision in severe cases.  It can be temporary or permanent, and its impact on a person’s life can be substantial.

The Role of a Head Injury Solicitor

When pursuing compensation for blurred vision after a head injury, it is crucial to have a solicitor who specialises in head injury cases by your side.  Coulthursts is the only UK firm which specialises in brain injury claims and we understand the medical and legal complexities involved in such cases.  Here is how we can assist you:

  1. Expertise

We will use our experience to assess the extent of your blurred vision and how it has impacted your life.  We shall instruct an ophthalmologist to undertake a comprehensive eye examination and they will assess the changes that you have experienced after the head injury. A CT scan or MRI may also be required to identify any soft tissue or bone damage that could be the cause of the blurred vision.  Once we have established the cause, we can then offer a bespoke Rehabilitation & Support Service to help you receive the best treatment possible to aid your recovery.  The treatment you receive will depend on the nature and severity of the injury.  All our solicitors have low caseloads, so they can spend the time necessary to support you and your loved ones at this stressful time.

  1. Build a strong case

We will gather your medical records, test results, and expert opinions to build a compelling case that demonstrates the connection between your head injury and your blurred vision.  This may involve consultations with neurologists, ophthalmologists and other specialists.

  1. Calculating Compensation

Determining the appropriate amount of compensation for your case can be complex.  Coulthursts Solicitors will take into account factors such as medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, lost wages and the emotional toll of your blurred vision when calculating your claim.

  1. Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may try to settle for a lower amount than you deserve.  An experienced solicitor will negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement that covers all your present and future needs.

  1. Litigation

If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, Coulthursts will take your case to court.  They will advocate for your rights and present your case effectively to a Judge to decide the value of your claim.

Conclusion

Blurred vision following a head injury can be a distressing and life-altering experience.  If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, seeking compensation is not only your right but also essential for your recovery and well-being.  To ensure the best possible outcome, it is crucial to consult with a head injury solicitor with a proven track record of handling similar cases.  With our expertise, Coulthursts can help you and your loved ones navigate the legal process with confidence and we will work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve while you focus on your recovery.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

20 Sep 2023

Understanding Interim Payments in Legal Claims

In the legal world, when pursuing a claim or lawsuit, it is essential to understand the concept of interim payments. Interim payments are advances against the final compensation amount. They can provide crucial financial support to claimants during the litigation process, ensuring they can cover immediate expenses an ongoing costs. Coulthursts solicitor Karen Hayes explains…

  1. What are interim payments?

Interim payments are partial payments made by the defendant to the claimant during the course of legal proceedings. These payments are made before the final resolution of the claim, providing the claimant with financial support and helping to alleviate any immediate financial hardships.

  1. Purpose and benefits of injuring payments

Interim payments serve to support claimants who may be facing financial difficulty as a result of the accident or injury. The aim is to help achieve fairness by ensuring that the claimant is not unduly burdened by financial constraints while awaiting the final resolution of the claim.

They can help fund rehabilitation, care packages or a house purchase, depending on the needs of the individual claimant.

  1. Eligibility and Process

If court proceedings haven’t been started, then a request in writing is usually made to the defendant’s insurance company. In practice, evidence is supplied to justify a request for an interim payment. This could be an immediate needs assessment, carried out to recommend a package of measures, to help a claimant, who has suffered injury. However, there is a balancing act in relation to disclosing this needs assessment at an early stage, as it gives the insurance company information about the claimant ‘s injuries and possibly financial difficulties. By providing the report, the defendants could consider the potential value of the claim and make a pre-medical offer that could pose a risk for the claimant and potentially undervalue the entire claim.

If the Defendant refuses to release an interim payment, despite liability not being an issue, then Court proceedings can be started.  Then, an application to the Court can be made, to force an unwilling Defendant to release funds for the claimant’s needs.   The Court will consider the evidence and the potential value of the whole claim when determining whether an interim payment should be released.  This is to prevent overpayment to the claimant.  However, by issuing proceedings too soon to obtain an interim payment, the Court then becomes involved in all aspects of the claim, providing deadlines and may limit evidence.

  1. Coulthursts solution to the problems surrounding interim payments

We seek to collaborate with Defendant insurance companies when it in our client’s interest to do so.  However, we require assurances that early offers are not made before releasing any evidence to ensure that full medical evidence is obtained in due course, so the claim can be valued fully.

If the Defendants will not release an interim payment, Coulthursts are the only firm to fund our client’s rehabilitation package to ensure the client doesn’t delay in receiving the necessary treatment.  Further, it prevents court proceedings being issued too soon, which can limit what we can do and when we can do it.  We protect our clients from the potential negative outcomes surrounding interim payments.

Author:  Karen Hayes who is a brain injury solicitor with more than 20 years’ experience.  Read more about Karen here

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

11 Sep 2023

The “golden hour” after a Traumatic Brain Injury

A study by medical experts at a British university suggests that neuro inflammation, which occurs in people’s brains within minutes of suffering Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), can facilitate neuro repair but can also contribute to secondary brain damage.

The research, by scientists at Birmingham University, has been focusing upon what is being described as the “golden hour” immediately after a head injury takes place when early identification of biomarkers can enable doctors to recognise and treat those patients most at risk of secondary injury while they are still capable of responding to therapy and before irreversible brain damage occurs.

The university’s TBI group, which carries out research linked with the activity of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), is using ground breaking technologies to search for early signs of brain damage in patients before it becomes irreversible and to identify those patients most at risk of a poor cognitive outcome or of other mental health disorders. This not only allows the development of targeted and personalised treatment to suit individual patients, but can also be used to provide ongoing care for people most at risk of repeated TBI such as sports men and women, soldiers and the elderly.

The research programme, which involves a number of different academic disciplines including medicine, sports sciences, bioengineering, psychology, chemistry and computing,  is not the only research into TBI being carried out at Birmingham University. A team, led by Professor Antonio Belli at the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences, has identified inflammatory biomarkers which indicate whether the brain has suffered injury.

The team is trying to use them to develop a test that can be used on the side of a sports pitch or by paramedics to detect brain injury at the scene of an incident. Inflammatory markers are particularly suited for biomarker discovery because TBI leads to very early alterations in inflammatory proteins and this study has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre.

Dr Lisa Hill, of the University’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, said: “Early and correct diagnosis of traumatic brain injury is one of the most challenging aspects facing clinicians. Being able to detect compounds in the blood, which help to determine how severe a brain injury is, would be of great benefit to patients and aid in their treatment.”

A third study carried out at the university has found that patients with traumatic brain injuries face a high risk of suffering a stroke in the four months following injury and this remains significant for up to five years afterwards. This review, which brought together 18 studies from four countriesis the first of its kind to investigate post-injury stroke risk.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre based at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the review showed that TBI patients have an 86% increased risk of stroke compared with patients who have not experienced a TBI.

Significantly, the findings suggest that TBI is a risk factor for stroke regardless of the severity or subtype of the injury. This is thought to be particularly noteworthy because 70% to 90% of TBI’s are mild and suggests that a TBI should be considered a chronic condition even if it is mild and the patient recovers well.

The researchers also found that the use of anti-coagulants, such as VKA’s and statins, could help to reduce stroke risk post-TBI, while the use of some classes of anti-depressants are associated with increased stroke risk post-TBI.

For our terms of use and disclaimer follow this link: https://coulthursts.co.uk/legal-terms-of-use/

11 Aug 2023

Audio Vestibular Treatment: A Lifeline for Individuals with Brain Injuries

Brain injuries can have profound and lasting effects on an individual’s physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. One often overlooked consequence of brain injuries is their impact on the auditory and vestibular systems, which play a crucial role in maintaining balance, spatial orientation, and overall sensory perception. In this blog, we delve into the realm of audio vestibular treatment, shedding light on its significance in helping those with brain injuries regain control over their lives.

Understanding Audio Vestibular Treatment:

Audio vestibular treatment is a specialised therapeutic approach, that addresses issues related to hearing, balance, and spatial awareness. It encompasses a range of interventions aimed at mitigating the challenges faced by individuals who have sustained brain injuries. These treatments are designed to optimise the function of the auditory and vestibular systems, ultimately improving the quality of life for those affected.

Benefits of Audio Vestibular Treatment for Brain Injury Survivors:

  1. Restoration of Balance:

Brain injuries can disrupt the delicate balance mechanisms within the inner ear, leading to dizziness, vertigo, and difficulties with coordination. Audio vestibular treatment employs a variety of exercises and techniques to retrain the brain and inner ear, facilitating the restoration of balance and reducing the risk of falls.

  1. Enhanced Spatial Awareness:

Impaired spatial awareness is a common issue for brain injury survivors, leading to difficulties in navigating and interacting with the environment. Through targeted therapies, audio vestibular treatment helps individuals re-establish a stronger sense of spatial orientation, improving their ability to move confidently and independently.

  1. Auditory Rehabilitation:

Brain injuries can affect auditory processing and lead to hearing problems. Audio vestibular treatment includes strategies to enhance auditory perception and processing, aiding in the interpretation of sounds and speech.

  1. Reduced Sensory Overload:

Many brain injury survivors experience sensory overload, where normal stimuli become overwhelming. Audio vestibular treatment incorporates techniques to help individuals adapt to sensory stimuli, reducing distress and promoting emotional well-being.

  1. Cognitive Benefits:

The auditory and vestibular systems are closely connected to cognitive functions such as attention, memory, and problem-solving. Audio vestibular treatment can indirectly enhance these cognitive abilities by optimising sensory inputs and their integration within the brain.

  1. Improved Quality of Life:

By addressing the challenges posed by brain injuries, audio vestibular treatment empowers individuals to engage more fully in daily activities, participate in social interactions, and experience an improved overall quality of life.

Legal Considerations:

In cases where brain injuries have resulted from accidents or incidents caused by negligence or wrongdoing, individuals may be entitled to compensation. It’s essential to consult with experts who specialise in personal injury cases related to brain injuries. Coulthursts can help assess the circumstances, gather evidence, and navigate the legal process to ensure that brain injury survivors receive the support and compensation they deserve.

Audio vestibular treatment offers a ray of hope for individuals grappling with the aftermath of brain injuries. Its multidimensional approach, focusing on balance, spatial awareness, and auditory rehabilitation, can significantly enhance the lives of those affected. By understanding the importance of audio vestibular treatment and seeking appropriate legal assistance from Coulthursts, brain injury survivors can take crucial steps toward rebuilding their lives and securing a brighter future.

Author:  Karen Hayes who is a brain injury solicitor with more than 20 years’ experience.  Read more about Karen here

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