Did you know this week is Brain Injury Awareness Week?
Brain Injury Awareness Week is a weeklong health campaign of events and activities designed to raise awareness of acquired brain injury (ABI) throughout Australia and improve safety.
A brain injury is sometimes referred to as an ‘invisible disability’ as there are often no visible signs that someone has ongoing issues. The purpose of Brain Injury Awareness Week is to make visible and to ‘get out in the open’ the topic of brain injury. The week is designed to increase education, awareness, and media coverage of Brain Injury in Australia.
To mark the occasion we have decided to dedicate this week’s article to brain injuries by discussing these type of injuries and how they affect those suffering from them, as well as discussing when an accident related brain injury may be claimable.
An Acquired Brain Injury or “ABI” refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth. This damage can be caused by an accident or trauma, by a stroke, a brain infection, by alcohol or other drugs, or by diseases of the brain (e.g. Parkinson’s disease). A traumatic brain injury or “TBI” is an ABI caused by a traumatic event from an external force to the brain such as a fall, motor vehicle accident, sporting accident, or a blow to the head.
Some statistics around brain injuries that you may not be aware of include:
- In 2003 more than 90% of people who suffered from an ABI said their condition was caused by accident or injury and over half of these 90% said their accident or injury occurred on a street, road, or highway;
- In 2004-05 there were almost 21,800 hospital stays relating to TBI;
- Falls are the leading cause of TBI in Australia, accounting for 42% of hospitalisations in 2004-2005;
- Approximately 20% of patients with TBI admitted to hospital have sustained moderate or severe head injuries, and the other 80% have mild injuries. The majority of the moderate to severe TBIs are the result of a motor vehicle accident;
- Three out of every four people suffering from a brain injury are aged under 65;
- Two out of every three people suffering from an ABI/TBI sustained their injury before they turned 25;
- Three out of every four people suffering from an ABI/TBI injury are men;
- Approximately 2.6% of the Queensland population suffer from an ABI. This is the second highest in Australia for people suffering from an ABI – second only to the Northern Territory.
A person suffering from a brain injury can experience a number of difficulties, depending on the level of severity of their injury.
Some of these can include:
- Impaired self-awareness;
- Difficulty with making decisions;
- Memory problems;
- Poor balance;
- Stress and anxiety;
- Rapid changes in mood;
- Attention and concentration problems.
The level of support people suffering from a brain injury need is dependent upon the severity of their injury. Those suffering from a brain injury generally require assistance in core areas such as mobility, self-care and communication.
It is important that people suffering from a brain injury have access to the compensation owing to them. This way, they can receive the care and support they require for everyday living, as well as the treatment and rehabilitation they need to help improve their injury.
If a person has sustained their brain injury through an accident at work, in a motor vehicle accident, or in a public place accident , through no fault of their own, we may be able to assist in making a claim for compensation. The team at Gouldson Legal are experts in brain injury claims and we can help an injured person claim the maximum amount of compensation possible on a no-win no-fee basis.
Depending on the severity of the brain injury a claim for compensation may include:
- Pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life;
- Past and future loss of earnings and applicable loss of superannuation;
- Medical and pharmaceutical costs since the accident and into the future;
- Psychological or psychiatric expenses;
- Home modifications;
- Equipment costs that assist with memory and other difficulties;
- Rehabilitation expenses such as nursing, respite or a support worker to assist with everyday living.
Often people suffering from a brain injury lack the capacity to make decisions and to manage their settlement funds. Depending on the severity of a person’s brain injury a litigation guardian may need to be appointed to the injured person. The litigation guardian would make legal decisions on behalf of the injured person and provide these instructions to the injured person’s solicitors.
If an injured person lacks the capacity to manage their settlement funds the Public Trustee or a financial management company will have to be appointed to manage the money on behalf of the injured person. The costs associated with this management can be included in their claim for compensation.
Over 1.6 million, or 1 in 12 Australians are affected with some form of brain injury.
An ABI can affect cognitive, physical, emotional and independent functioning. These types of injuries not only have lifetime effects on the sufferers, but they also affect those closest to the injured person – especially those who become full time carers.
With greater awareness comes a greater appreciation and understanding for those who suffer from brain injuries. Brain Injury Awareness Week runs from the 15th to the 21st of August 2016.