03 Oct 2022

My journey to specialising in traumatic brain injury

Brain injury solicitor Caroline Bolton explains how joining the team at Coulthursts has allowed her to make a bigger difference to her clients’ lives.

I studied for a degree in English Literature at York University, before taking a two-year postgraduate course at The College of Law to enable me to convert to law.  A legal career appealed to me as the perfect combination of the analytical and creative skills I had learnt on my degree, with a more structured and fact-based approach.  Also, the law offered many diverse career options, given the huge range of different practice areas to work in after qualification.

In order to qualify as a solicitor, I then did a two-year training contract.  I worked with a high street firm where I did three different ‘seats’ – in conveyancing, wills and probate and personal injury.  Whilst I enjoyed the different challenges of all three departments, the satisfaction of working with injured clients by far appealed to me the most.  I therefore chose to specialise in personal injury law, and I have been working in this field since 2004.

The human factor to my work is extremely satisfying, as my clients are all individuals with different needs.  I often become involved with them at perhaps the lowest point in their lives, as they are dealing with the far-reaching consequences of serious or catastrophic injury.  Each case is totally unique, and my work is very varied, with no two days being the same.  What is common in all my cases however, is the need to work closely with my clients and their families in order to help them through the new challenges they are facing.  I consequently get know them very well, which is a hugely enjoyable part of the job.

I joined Coulthursts in January 2021 almost a year after the firm had started, as the opportunity of being able to work purely on claims involving Traumatic Brain Injury appealed to me.  A big difference to anywhere I have worked before, is that we each have only a very small number of cases at any one time.  We aim to keep our caseloads in single figures, whereas I have commonly had around 90 in the past.  This low caseload enables me to give each matter the time it needs, leading to better outcomes achieved more quickly than is typical in high-value claims.  Brain injury can affect every area of my clients’ lives, including their work, relationships, home life and social life.  They can easily become depressed and lonely, and it is crucial that I provide the best support possible by being available to respond to queries or concerns quickly.  This element of the role is extremely satisfying, as it makes a genuine difference.

Our aim is not simply to get justice by negotiating the maximum compensation, but also just as importantly to ensure that our clients have the best chance of making the best recovery possible.  We do this by really focusing on rehabilitation from an early stage, even whilst still in hospital.  We are unique in that we fund care and treatment directly, often long before this is agreed by the other party, which enables our clients to start rebuilding their lives straight away.

Perhaps surprisingly to my clients, is that often the milder brain injuries can be the more complex claims to deal with.  These sorts of cases require specialist knowledge, without which they can easily be under-settled.  The symptoms and effects of mild traumatic brain injury can be invisible or easily overlooked, and the individual is often in denial.  It can therefore be a delicate balancing act in these types of cases to address the issues in order to secure an appropriate outcome that is in my clients’ best interests.

My job as a brain injury solicitor is very varied, and whilst it can be challenging, it is ultimately extremely rewarding.  I could not see myself doing anything else!

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