Caring for a loved one with brain injury

Coping With the Effects of Brain Injury on a Loved One

Traffic jams and difficult customers are minor stressors that many of us are all too familiar with. Most of us cope with such stressors in different ways. Some resort to vigorous exercise or set aside relaxation time while others may turn to alcohol or drugs.

But how do we even begin to cope when something truly tragic occurs?

One such example is traumatic brain injury (TBI) especially when a loved one is involved. TBI is defined as an injury to the brain from an external force and can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. It’s estimated that 69 million individuals sustain a TBI each year. Those affected face significant challenges, as an injury to the brain means a loss in physical or mental ability.

Effects of Brain Injuries on Loved Ones

The impact of a brain injury has wide-reaching consequences. And not just for the injured individual, but also to family relationships. Rehabilitation is possible but a sudden and traumatic event on a loved one means having to cope with a new reality.

Family members have a crucial role during rehabilitation, but their own wellbeing is also at stake. Intense feelings of denial and depression often accompany such traumatic injuries, especially when they occur in loved ones. Caregivers understandably can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Having to adjust to major changes in circumstances can place an enormous burden on a family.

While the rehabilitation of a loved one is a priority, your own wellbeing shouldn’t be ignored.

Staying emotionally strong starts by recognising how your life has been changed by the injury. Having an open discussion about your feelings with your family members will help to improve understanding and overcome challenges. The best thing you can do is to try new ways of coping whether that means participating in support groups or joining local exercise classes.

If a loved one has sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of another party, contact Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors and we can help you make a claim.


Analysis of traumatic brain injury

What Is a Brain Injury?

The brain is the most vital organ. It acts as the command centre for the entire nervous system, receiving and sending signals throughout the body. Cognitive functions like language and visual processing also rely on input from the brain.

Any physical blow to the head can disrupt those functions, resulting in mild to severe physical or mental disabilities. In fact, brain injury is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide according to the International Brain Injury Association.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury or TBI is defined as a sudden blow to the head from an external force. The extent of the damage depends on several factors including the type of injury sustained and the health of the individual.

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is used to classify TBI according to its severity with 15 being normal and 3 reserved for those in a comatose state. A TBI can result in long-term problems on even basic cognitive functions, from getting ready in the morning to having a regular conversation.

Common causes of traumatic brain injury include:

  • Vehicle collisions
  • Physical assault
  • Sports injuries
  • Workplace injuries
  • Explosive blasts
  • Falls or accidents

Symptoms of brain injuries generally fall into four categories: Cognitive, perceptual, physical, and behavioural. Those with moderate to severe cases of TBI may exhibit the following:

  • Memory loss or concentration problems
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding others
  • Impaired decision-making ability
  • Changes in vision or sense of touch
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Extreme physical or mental fatigue
  • Problems with sleep
  • Increased aggressiveness

Injured individuals typically show improvement between six months to two years with rehabilitation. Each case is different though, as injuries typically damage a different part of the brain with varying degrees of force. For this reason determining the length of recovery is difficult.

Going through a serious injury can be a traumatic event especially when they occur in loved ones. If a loved one has sustained an injury from a third party, you may be able to make a claim. Contact Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors today for more details.


British army soldiers under the union jack

Can I Make an Injury Claim Against the Army?

Serving in the armed forces can be hazardous for any number of reasons. While you might consider that often these hazardous conditions are part of the job, you can still make an injury claim against the army.

Duty of care is a legal or moral obligation to ensure the safety or wellbeing of others, and, like any other employer, the Ministry of Defence has a duty of care to its employees.

Therefore, if you suffer an injury while you are in the armed forces, you can be make an Armed Forces Compensation Claim (AFCC), if you feel your injury is a result of your employer’s negligence.

Who Can Claim Under an AFCC?

The AFCC applies to all military personnel injured on or after 6 April 2005, whether you are currently serving or not. A military injury is an injury you have suffered while serving in the armed forces, including the army, the navy and the RAF.

This also applies to reservists, and it covers accidents that occurred overseas during any part of your military service.

What Counts as a Military Injury?

A military injury is can cover more things than you realise. They can result from training exercises, from falls, from conditions such as frostbite or hypothermia or collisions involving military vehicles.

Here are some aspects of military service where injuries occur.

  • You could have received an injury from being in the gym, on an assault course or during a training exercise.
  • It could be an injury involving lifting or loading, or something happening in a workshop.
  • Injuries can occur in parachuting, diving, climbing, abseiling and skiing.
  • They can occur in armed forces accommodation, at social functions or because of poor weather conditions.

Equipment and Road Injuries

Injuries in the armed forces can result from people handling equipment such as weapons and ammunition, vehicles and specialist kit.

Some sophisticated equipment requires careful, expert handling, which means the personnel involved should have the right training to do so.

There are also occasions where equipment is not fit for purpose, or is lacking, leading to injury.

Road accidents involving military vehicles are responsible for a large proportion of personal injuries in the armed forces.

This can happen while on or off duty, and it can have an impact on future careers, as physical fitness is central to military service.

What Does an Injury Claim Against the Army Involve?

Making a claim against the Ministry of Defence, following an injury during an individual’s service, is a legal process.

It can involve injury, illness or even death, and it must have been caused by being in service.

The AFCS (Armed Forces Compensation Claim) scheme is a no-fault scheme, which means that the Ministry of Defence makes payment without admitting fault. It is separate from any other personal accident cover.

Where the claim involves service-related death, the payment is in the form of benefits to an eligible partner and children.

There is a seven year limit on making a claim, from the time of the injury occurring. Where there is a late-onset illness, you can make a claim within three years of seeking medical advice.

Benefits arising from a successful claim come as a lump sum or guaranteed income payment (GIP).

Normally, with the guaranteed income, this is in addition to the lump sum awarded, and applies to people with more serious injuries or illnesses.

Advice and Support for Armed Forces Injury Claims

We can assist you with your injury claim, if you are eligible. Please contact us today for advice and support. Call 0800 002 9577, or complete our online contact form.

Whistle blowers

What You Need to Know About Whistleblowing in the Workplace

The UK Government defines a whistleblower as a someone who discloses wrongdoing in the public interest.

This is often, but not always in a workplace setting. For the wrongdoing to be in the public interest it must have an impact on others, such as the general public.

Whistleblowing can be challenging for the whistleblower, partly because it may mean they must question their own ethical considerations; but also because in response, they may find their personal and professional credibility under attack.

There have been notable cases of whistleblowing in the NHS and government agencies, but in reality, it can be something that occurs in any workplace, depending on the circumstances individuals find themselves in.

Whistleblowers can be employees in public or private service, trainees, agency workers or members of a limited liability partnership.

Here we look at what protection whistleblowers have under the law.

What Are Whistleblowing Complaints?

Typically, a whistleblowing complaint will be when you report a criminal offence in the workplace, such as fraud; or if a company is breaking the law in some way.

It can also be about workplace situations where someone’s health and safety is at risk; or there is a risk to the environment.

Whistleblowing also applies to miscarriages of justice in the workplace; or where you think someone is deliberately covering up something they have done.

It is important that the complaint is a whistleblowing complaint if you are going to be protected legally as a whistleblower.

Some complaints are not counted as whistleblowing. These include personal grievances such as bullying, harassment or discrimination. Instead, you would need to pursue these sorts of complaints under your employer’s grievance policy.

How Does Protection for Whistleblowers Apply?

For protection to apply to you as a whistleblower, you must make your complaint to the right person in the right way.

If your employer has whistleblowing policy, there may be procedure to follow. Or you might make the disclosure to your employer directly, or to a person in your organisation responsible for the area of concern you are raising.

This could be a health and safety representative, for instance.

Depending on your place of employment and your complaint, you might make your disclosure to a prescribed person or body.

You might also first seek legal advice before making your disclosure. If you are taking legal advice, you can then disclose the wrongdoing to your legal adviser.

You can make a whistleblowing complaint anonymously, but if the person you make it to feels they do not have enough information, they may not be able to take it further.

You can, however, request confidentiality after making the complaint, making it clear you do not want anyone else to know you have raised this concern.

You do not have any say in how your whistleblowing concern is dealt with, nor does the person or body you have told necessarily have to keep you informed of the progress of your complaint.

Your Treatment as a Whistleblower

You should have protection under the law as a whistleblower, but if you feel you are then unfairly treated, such as being dismissed, you can take it to an employment tribunal.

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed, you must raise any claim related to it within three months of ending your employment. Also, if you did raise your original whistleblowing concern anonymously, if may be difficult to prove that your dismissal is related to it.

There is further information about unfair dismissal from Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. If you want to take your case to an employment tribunal, you must notify Acas.

Advice and Support

Contact us today for advice and support. Call 0800 002 9577, or complete our online contact form.

care home

How Care Cuts Are Affecting Older People in the UK

An inquiry has found that government care cuts are putting the elderly’s health and wellbeing at risk.

The 13 month inquiry was carried out by the global campaign group Human Rights Watch and found that older people are facing physical, financial and psychological hardship because of cuts.

Since the government cuts, many elderly people are now finding that they are not receiving the help they need to live independent and dignified lives.

Many elderly people rely on social care services to help them to continue to live independently in the community. But since 2010, when the government cut the funding for councils by almost 50%, there has been a 140% increase in adult social care complaints.

Many elderly people are now receiving incorrect care assessments, which can have devastating effects on their health, wellbeing and independence.

Planning for Home Care Fees

In a country with an ageing population and rising care costs, planning and preparing for care later in life is becoming more important than ever.

The amount of financial support that you can claim towards funding care costs is dependent on the value of your capital assets.

If your capital assets exceed the maximum threshold, which currently stands at £23,320, then you will be required to fund the full cost of your care yourself.

Working out how much you would be required to pay towards your care costs, and where you will find the money, can be stressful and confusing.

At Mark Reynolds Solicitors we offer a care home fee planning and advice service to help you prepare for the future.

Our specialist solicitors can help you and your family to understand what options are available to fund your care and help you to put plans in place, giving you peace of mind that you will be looked after in the future.

For more information about our care home fee planning service, or to book a free consultation, please get in touch by giving us a call on 0800 002 9577.

lasting power of attorney

Gifting Rules Under Lasting Power of Attorney

When acting as a lasting power of attorney, special care should be taken when giving gifts on behalf of the donor to avoid legal and financial consequences.

It is an attorney’s responsibility to ensure that they are acting in their donor’s best interest and using their estate as they would have wished for it to be used.

One of the many financial decisions that attorneys must make is when it is appropriate for the donor to send gifts to those close to them.  There are many rules and restrictions to gifting under lasting power of attorney. These rules are in place to protect individuals and their estates, and attorneys should take care to act within these laws.

It’s important to note that it is only property and finance attorneys that have the power to gift, health and welfare attorneys do not have this power.

Who Can Gifts Be Made To?

To protect the donor, the rules for who gifts can be made for are restricted to the following:

  • Family and friends on occasions where gifts are customarily given, this could include birthdays, Christmas, weddings, anniversaries and christenings.
  • Charities that the person has previously donated to or had a connection with.

The Terms of the Gift

The gift given must be of a reasonable size and reflect the value that the person usually spends on such occasions and the size of their estate.

If an attorney believes it to be appropriate and within the donor’s best interests to give a large gift, then this must be authorised by the Court of Protection and the attorney will be required to put forward a case to justify the large gift.

If in doubt, it’s best to consult a specialist solicitor before gifting under lasting power of attorney to avoid legal consequences.

For more information about lasting power of attorney or gifting, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of specialist solicitors here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors by giving us a call on 01942 260 228.

care home fees

Warnings Over Trust Schemes That ‘Protect’ Your Property to Avoid Paying For Care

Nursing home costs can be incredibly expensive. In fact, the average cost for residential care in the UK is £32,344 a year rising to over £44,512 a year with nursing care. The costs can be substantial and can place a heavy burden on families. Often, people have no choice but to sell their homes to cover the costs.

Means-tested equations are used to assess an individual’s assets to determine the amount they should contribute to their care. The cap is set at £23,000 for the tax year, but it also means that property owners will be responsible to pay for their own care if they exceed the amount.

Many are increasingly turning to schemes that place their homes into a trust. Setting up trust schemes can cost thousands of pounds. The idea is to transfer a property into a trust so it can’t be used to fund care costs and to keep assets intentionally low. Such schemes are tempting as it means potentially saving thousands on care costs. But experts warn that their effectiveness cannot be guaranteed. It’s also against the law to transfer property specifically to avoid paying for care fees.

What You Can Do

Rather than participate in risky schemes, here are some options to pay for care costs:

NHS Continuing Care: Those who require long-term care may qualify for funding by the NHS. Eligibility is determined by assessed needs and not on a particular diagnosis. If at least one priority is determined in a health category (e.g. breathing, mobility, cognition, etc.) then you are likely eligible to receive NHS continuing healthcare. You’ll be notified within 28 days of the initial assessment.

Care annuity: Another option to pay for long-term care is to consider care annuities. An annuity is a type of insurance policy that guarantees a fixed income at regular intervals for care costs. How much you receive depends on various factors including your age, health, and the amount you paid towards the annuity. We strongly recommend speaking with a financial adviser if you are considering this option.

To find out more about planning for care home fees, contact Mark Reynolds Solicitors today.

traumatic brain injury

How Long Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Last?

A traumatic brain injury or TBI is an injury to the brain caused by external force to the head. Typical causes include physical assault, vehicle accidents, and falls. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) runs from 3 to 15, and is used to classify TBI according to its severity: mild, moderate or severe. Individuals with mild forms of TBI have a 13 to 15 rating while those in a comatose state are given a 3.

Any injury to the brain can result in temporary or permanent neurological damage. Symptoms of a brain injury can include the following depending on its severity:

  • Memory loss or concentration problems
  • Difficulties speaking or understanding
  • Feelings of constant fatigue or drowsiness
  • Sudden loss of consciousness
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Inability to recognise objects
  • Blurred or loss of vision

Recovery and rehabilitation are both possible but the effects can be long lasting, even for moderate cases. The question then is how long do traumatic brain injuries last?

Length of Recovery

Determining the length of recovery for a traumatic brain injury is difficult for a number of reasons. The type of injury sustained, the quality and timing of treatment received, and the overall health and age of the individual all affect the recovery process. It’s understandable for family members to want a precise timeframe on when a loved one can recover, but each case varies from person to person.

Rehabilitation programs are tailored around the individual with the goal to improve losses in any physical or cognitive abilities. Improvements typically occur in the first six months after an injury is sustained. More severe cases can take even longer – two years or more – to see any improvements. The good news is that most people who have received medical care and inpatient rehabilitation services show decreases in disability after two years following a brain injury.

If a loved one has suffered a traumatic head injury, Mark Reynolds personal injury solicitors can help determine if you have a claim to compensation. Get in touch with our team today.

medical negligence eye surgery

How to Make a Loss of Sight Claim

A sudden injury that causes loss of sight can have a devastating impact. Even partial vision loss can be distressing, as it potentially means being unable to work. Common causes of temporary or permanent loss of sight include physical trauma, workplace accidents, and medical negligence.

If you or someone you know suffers from vision impairment due to the negligence of another party, they could be held liable. Here’s what you need to know to make a loss of sight claim, including how long you have to make a claim, the amount you could expect, and how to get started.

How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim?

There is a three-year statute of limitations period for personal injury cases. That means you have up to three years to file a case whether your condition was due an injury or workplace accident. Children who suffer vision loss as a result of negligence can make a claim up to the age of 21.

It takes time to build a case, so the sooner you contact our solicitors the better.

How Much Compensation Can You Claim?

The amount you can claim depends on factors such as the cause and extent of the injury. The Judicial College provides a range of compensation claims for certain types of injuries including loss of sight. These guidelines are frequently used when estimating how much you could claim.

  • Severe injury leading to total blindness: Up to £297,000
  • Total loss of sight in one eye: £40,300 – £48,200
  • Minor eye injuries: £2,900 – £6,400
  • Temporary loss of sight eye injuries: £1,620 – £2,900

Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you get a more accurate estimate and maximise your compensation.

How to Make a Loss of Sight Compensation Claim

Have you or someone you know suffered an injury that led to loss of sight? Whether the damage is mild or severe, you may be entitled to compensation. Mark Reynolds Solicitors can help you build a case and make a loss of sight claim. Call us today on 0800 002 9577 or fill out the form on this page and we’ll be in touch shortly.

medical negligence eye surgery

Case Report – Negligence Arising Out of Eye Surgery

We recently concluded a successful settlement for a lady who suffered significant damage to her vision as a result of negligence during an operation on her eye.

Our client had unfortunately suffered detached retinas in both eyes in quick succession. She underwent non-negligent surgery in her left eye but there was a negligent complication with the right eye which resulted in permanent damage to the optic nerve. She was left with significantly impaired vision in her right eye.

As a result of her visual impairment, our client had to give up her job and has lost the majority of her independence. This has caused her significant and permanent financial losses and expenses.

Our client had previously instructed another firm of solicitors to deal with the claim but became dissatisfied with their level of service and a lack of progress with the case. She then approached Mark Reynolds Solicitors and we agreed to take over the case.

In order to progress and succeed with the claim, it was necessary to commission eight formal reports and statements from expert witnesses. A Consultant Ophthalmologist was required to consider and report on the negligent surgery, the physical injury caused to our client’s eye and the prognosis for the future; a Consultant Psychologist reported on the psychological impact that the injury had on our client;  and a Care and Occupational Therapist reported on the day to day impact the disablement had on our client, including the need for aids, adaptations and care.

Having obtained all of the required expert evidence we were then able to negotiate an out of court settlement for a figure just over £375,000.

Dominic Jones, the solicitor running the case, said the following after the case was settled: “Tragically, a very straightforward surgical error led to a permanent eye injury for our client. Her life has been changed forever and she has also incurred significant past and future expenses as a result of the injury. Getting to a point where we could negotiate the settlement was very complicated, with numerous experts involved and a very wide range of financial losses to consider and quantify. Having built up the evidence to be as strong as possible, we were then able to get the case settled out of court without the need to attend an anxious and unpredictable trial.”

Our client made the following comments: “I was very impressed with the personalised service that I was provided. The solicitors arranged appointments at various places to suit me, including at my home. I was provided with detailed advice throughout the claim. I would definitely use Mark Reynolds Solicitors in the future and would be happy to recommend them to friends and family.”

Negligence related to eye treatments or surgery is just one area of claim that we can deal with. If you think that you have been a victim of medical negligence please call our team for a free, no obligation consultation on 0800 002 9577