Types of accident

We can support people after accidents of all types which have resulted in a brain injury, head injury or concussion. Your injury may have been caused by an accident on the road, a fall or trip, a sports injury, a workplace injury or an assault.

We are wholly focused upon supporting people with brain injuries, taking a holistic approach to treatment, rehabilitation and all aspects of support.

Road traffic accidents

Approximately 50 per cent of brain injuries occur on the road. This includes vehicle collisions, injuries to motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

In this section, we consider some of the most common types of accidents which can occur and the legal and insurance principles which apply in each scenario.

  • Passengers
  • Pedestrians
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cyclists
  • Uninsured
  • Hit and run

Passengers

If you are a passenger in a vehicle, then you will almost certainly have a claim.  Your claim will be paid by the insurance company of the driver considered at fault (the other vehicle or the vehicle you were in).  This will not be affected if you know or are related to the driver, or even if you are named on the insurance policy of the vehicle. We understand that this can be a sensitive issue if the driver of the vehicle is close to you.

Pedestrians

The most common manner in which pedestrians are injured in a road traffic accident is when they are crossing or in the road.  There are other situations such as pedestrians being hit whilst they are on the pavement.  We find it is relatively common for people not to realise that they can make a claim as they may feel it is their fault for being in the road, not using a crossing and perhaps the police have decided not to prosecute the driver.  It is important to understand that the “burden of proof” in criminal law (for driver prosecutions) is completely different to the law in civil claims for personal injury.  Even though the police have not prosecuted the driver, you may still have a claim.

Likewise even if you were “partly” to blame, you may still  have a claim against the driver (as they were also partly to blame) but the level of compensation you receive may be lowered to reflect this (which is known as contributory negligence).  The law places a high burden of responsibility on drivers of vehicles due to the potential harm they can cause to other users of the road, particularly those who are more vulnerable (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists).  If you would like further advice, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

Cyclists and Motorcyclists

Similar principles can apply to cyclists and motorcyclists as we have set out above in relation to pedestrians.  Namely, a high burden is placed on drivers of vehicles, meaning you are still likely to have a claim even in the situations where you feel you may be partially responsible.  Likewise, you may still have a claim even if the police have decided not to prosecute the driver of the other vehicle. Of course, if you were not to blame or the police are prosecuting the driver, this is clearly a strong indication of the viability of a claim.

Uninsured and Untraced / unknown drivers (Hit and Run)

In the event that the driver is uninsured, or you cannot identify the driver (such as a hit and run) you can still claim through the Motor Insurers Bureau (commonly referred to as an MIB claim). There are two schemes, one for uninsured drivers and one for untraced drivers and they both work slightly differently. However, importantly we can act for you in both circumstances.

Slip or trip

A brain injury can occur as a result of an incident which may not involve high speed or force. Brain injuries can be due to the sudden movement of a whiplash injury (even if the accident may seem minor). An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of brain injuries occur from a slip or fall, which can cause a significant blow to the head as the individual hits the ground. The significance of this injury may be missed, especially if there are little external signs of impact.

A claim would be against the person or body that was responsible for the place where you fell. The law is different for those that own (or have control of) a place where you are a visitor (or even a trespasser), to a local authority that is responsible for public roads and pavements to an employer who is responsible for a place of work.  In summary, the person or body responsible for the area generally has a duty of care to those that use the area or land.  In general, the accident would have to be caused due to a breach of that duty (negligence) such as unreasonably failing to repair a defect that was dangerous and was the cause of the accident.  There can be some quite technical nuances such as when a person is using a right of way over private land as opposed to being considered a visitor.  The key point is we are specialist solicitors and can advise you about whether you likely have a claim.

Sports injuries

You may have experienced a sports injury. Collision sports are the highest risk for brain injury; in the UK, this is rugby union and rugby league. Among females, horse-riding is the most common cause of brain injuries and concussion. Males have traditionally faced a greater overall risk of brain injuries than females, but in recent years, there has been an increase in female brain injuries, reducing the variation in risk profile. The reasons for this are not yet fully understood; whether they relate to changes in female participation in contact sports, or patterns in other causes of injury, such as road user accidents. There is also a school of thought that women are more likely to admit to suffering a sports related concussion which is likely to result in them being removed from play.

Workplace accidents

Your accident may have occurred in the workplace. Statistically, the construction industry accounts for the highest numbers of occupational injuries. Agriculture, engineering and factory-based occupations are also areas of work where head injury risk is statistically raised. There is a wide range of possible mechanisms of injury. Your employer is obliged to ensure your workplace is safe and you are protected from injury risk as far as possible.

Criminal injuries

Your injury may be the result of an assault. There is a Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for innocent victims of violence.  If you have suffered a minor injury, our advice is that you may wish to deal with the claim yourself.  However, claims for concussion and brain injury can be complex to ensure that you get the correct amount of compensation. The rules and time limits for this scheme differs to normal personal injury cases.  The time limit is two years (this can be longer for sexual abuse claims.  If this is the case, we recommend you speak to a solicitor that specialises in these type of cases) and the incident should be reported to the police.

Other forms of accidents and injuries

You are welcome to contact us if you have a brain injury, concussion, or have suffered a head injury and are concerned about changes you are experiencing but do not have a diagnosis. You can contact us if you would like to discuss how you were injured: brain injuries can occur in many different ways; our focus is on working with people who have brain injuries regardless of the mechanism of injury.  We understand that some people can feel apprehensive about contacting a solicitor. You can feel rest assured that this initial advice is completely confidential and will be at no cost or any obligation to proceed.  We are here to help.

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You are very welcome to contact Coulthursts if you would like further information or guidance. Please be assured that making contact with us will not incur any fees or commence a legal process of any kind.

We are happy to provide further guidance on our services and information about concussion, head and brain injuries and do so without charge.