Brain Injuries Following Criminal Assaults
‘One punch deaths’, the tragic stories of those who die following a criminal blow to the head grab the news headlines with depressing frequency. This has been highlighted recently by the media as a result of the trial of Trevor Timon, who was convicted of the manslaughter of Oliver Dearlove after punching him once in the head on a night out in Blackheath, southwest London.
What rarely receives media coverage, unfortunately, are the life-altering injuries sustained by those who survive criminal violence. Hundreds of thousands of people suffer very serious injuries as a result of criminal assaults every year. Many of these victims suffer a head injury, the most serious of which can include traumatic brain injury (or TBI).
TBIs can have any number of devastating effects on a victim’s life, including physical, hormonal, sensory, behavioural and cognitive effects. Fortunately, innocent victims of criminal violence are often entitled to claim compensation, which may help in coping with the effects of the injury.
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NHS statistics for the year 2014-15 record 133,896 attendances at A&E due to assault. Males accounted for over 70% of this number. Notably, the proportion of females attending A&E as a result of an assault is rising. The admissions were highest in the 15-29 age category, who represented approximately 46% of all assault admissions.
What is perhaps most worrying is that over half of all assault admissions to A&E were diagnosed with a head injury.
The impact of a sustaining a brain injury.
When a victim sustains a TBI it can have any number of unwanted consequences on their lives.
Physical effects of a brain injury include difficulty moving or keeping balance and loss of co-ordination. Many victims lose one of their senses, such as taste, smell or sight.
Following a brain injury, victims may find it difficult to think, to process information and solve problems. Memory problems are common, particularly short-term memory, as is difficulty with speech and communication skills.
Victims who sustain a TBI may also experience changes to their emotions and behaviour. For example, they may become more aggressive or impatient than before. They may laugh or cry more than before their injury or at inappropriate times.
Making a compensation claim
Sustaining a TBI is a life-altering event. Fortunately, with the right specialist medical help, many people with a TBI can make good recoveries. Unfortunately such assistance is often only available at a significant cost.
In addition many innocent victims of crime will experience loss of earnings, due to time off work. Even when they do return to work, it may be that they are not able to function at the same level and thus experience a loss of earning power. Furthermore, the brain injury may impact on other aspects of daily living and alterations to their living environment may be necessary.
If you have sustained a brain injury as a result of a criminal assault there are two possible ways you may be able to make a claim for compensation. One route is to claim against the perpetrator of the criminal assault, although they may not have the financial means to meet the claim. The other route is to make a claim for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority administers the government’s criminal injuries compensation scheme for blameless victims who are physically or mentally injured as a result of violent crime. The award an injured person is given is judged by way of a tariff according to the severity of the injury. For example tariffs range from £1,500 for minor temporary brain injuries to £500,000 for the most serious brain injuries and its consequences.
Innocent victims of crime who have reported the criminal assault to the police are likely to be eligible for a CICA award. It is important to bear in mind, however, that there is a two-year time limit from the date of the crime for claiming compensation.
At IBB Claims, our personal injury team led by brain injury legal expert, Malcolm Underhill, has the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent you if you wish to make a claim for a brain injury you sustained as a result of a criminal assault.
To talk about how we might be able to help please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form. Any discussion you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence