Suffering a serious injury can be frightening for patients and carers alike. No two people will have identical injuries, or resulting impairment, following a serious accident. Whatever the consequences, we understand that they can have a devastating effect on all aspects of the injured person and their loved ones’ lives.
With expert medical input and time, it may be possible to significantly improve the recovery prospects for the survivor of a serious injury. Our aim, as experienced personal injury solicitors, is to assist clients in not only receiving compensation if negligence caused their injury, but to work with the insurers (of the person responsible for the injury) to put a rehabilitation programme in place as soon as possible. Such a programme will be at no cost to our client, as we will aim to agree funding of agreed rehabilitation with the insurance company at the outset.
Rehabilitation can be truly transformative. Patients who have lost vital functions and independence in a split-second can regain them over a period of weeks, months or years if an effective recovery plan is devised and delivered.
The importance of rehabilitation within the process of bringing a personal injury claim is illustrated by the introduction of The Rehabilitation Code in 1999. It has been updated over the years with the latest version being implemented in 2015. The intention of the Code is to “promote the collaborative use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process”.
The objective of the Code is to help diffuse the potentially adversarial nature of the claims process to ensure that the parties focus their minds on the needs of the injured party. This will ensure, where possible, that the devastating effects of a serious injury can be addressed by making rehabilitation resources and funding available.
At IBB, we make it a priority from the very outset that where our injured client has a clinical or social need, it will be addressed by seeking the cooperation of the responsible party’s insurance company or their solicitors. This will usually be implemented by instructing a healthcare professional (known as a Case Manager) to prepare an Immediate Needs Assessment report to urgently identify where support is required and to agree funding of their recommendations from the insurers.
There is no requirement for an injured person to rely on the well-meaning but stretched services of the NHS if private funding or health insurance is available. Privately funded rehabilitation can mean the delays and limited resources of the NHS will not limit the recovery of the injured individual. Early access to high quality, coordinated, multi-disciplinary treatment is key.
We will seek to obtain an Immediate Needs Assessment report at the earliest opportunity, with the cooperation of the other party, where possible. Time is of the essence and we will instruct the Case Manager to report on the key issues, including: the injuries sustained; the levels of disability; treatment received to date and future availability; the impact on domestic and social life; impact on employment; provide recommendations for treatment and other support; the likely cost of the recommendations and the prospects of returning to work.
The needs can often be varied and complex. Because of the complexity, rehabilitation is frequently provided by multidisciplinary teams of health professionals, along with family members and friends, who may work on an interdisciplinary basis. The support provided is designed to improve, maintain, restore and compensate physical, cognitive, behavioural, social and psychological recovery. The goal is to return the individual as close to their pre-accident level of function and independence as possible.
The provision of early rehabilitation can address a range of injuries, including:
- Head and brain injury
- Spinal injuries
- Loss of limb
- Fractures, dislocations, strains and sprains
- Impairment to the senses.
- Damage to internal organs.
- Psychological conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
- Pain syndromes
We have worked for many years with clients who have required a range of medical interventions including surgery, psychological therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, prosthetic (artificial limbs) needs and therapeutic aids. In addition, where necessary, we will seek the cooperation of the insurance company to provide support to address financial worries, housing adaptions, aids and equipment, travel and care needs.
With this in mind, we commit to meeting with our clients and their families at the earliest opportunity to help identify their specific needs. We will carry out a detailed preliminary assessment of the potential rehabilitation needs. This provides invaluable information to ensure that we can instruct a suitably qualified Case Manager, usually paid for by the insurance company, to prepare a report on rehabilitation needs.
Where the parties are cooperating, the report will be provided to both sides to enable them to agree a suitable course of action, in consultation with the injured party and their family, to meet the rehabilitation needs. The Case Manager will continue to work with the injured person and their family to organise and implement the recommendations for the best interests of the injured person.
The Role Case Managers
IBB work closely on many cases with highly experienced and suitably skilled Case Managers, with the aim of supporting the injured person not only with the traumatic first few months following a serious injury but also with their long-term rehabilitation and social needs.
In cases of the utmost severity, the support of a Case Manager and the rehabilitation team may be lifelong. We are highly experienced in bringing claims to include the cost of long term therapeutic and care packages with a rehabilitation team focussed on acting in the best interests of the client. Their duty is to the client and not to the lawyers.
The Case Manager will usually be a qualified healthcare professional with a background in rehabilitation. We will ensure that the Case Manager is suitable for each individual case and that they follow the Code of Ethics and Conduct in Case Management Practice.
The role of the Case Manager is wide-ranging and will be specific to each individual injured person, but the role commonly includes:
- Identifying rehabilitation needs
- Liaising with NHS treatment providers
- Acting as an advocate on behalf of the injured person and liaising between the lawyers, therapists and other relevant parties;
- Identifying rehabilitation providers and commissioning their services.
- Setting goals and objectives.
- Monitoring and assessing therapies and other services to ensure they are meeting needs
- Occupational and vocational support
- Providing support with statutory services, including access to state benefits.
- Support and intervention in crises situations and where there is risk to the individual.
The client and their family are central to the involvement of the Case Manager and we ensure that our clients are aware of the options and the benefits of a particular recommendation.
Importantly, the Case Manager can provide vital support with many non-medical issues including communication with, and access to, statutory services, liaising with employers, recommending other support groups including charities, and guidance with retraining and education.
It is not possible in every case to secure funding directly from the insurance company for the recommended rehabilitation. In such cases, we will vigorously seek an interim payment from the insurance company. An interim payment is an “up front” payment from the insurers to be deducted at the conclusion of the claim from the final settlement. The interim payment can then be used to pay for the cost of rehabilitation.
We will make every effort to secure a payment from the other side at the earliest opportunity, to fund necessary treatment, where the insurers are not prepared to work collaboratively under the Rehabilitation Code. Where necessary and appropriate, we will issue legal proceedings at the earliest opportunity to secure a court order for an interim payment.
If you or a close family member has suffered a serious injury, it may be possible to seek financial compensation, which in addition to a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, can go a long way to rebuilding your life back to the way it was.
We will support you and your family, ensuring your legal needs are met from our initial discussion, through treatment, rehabilitation and beyond. For more information on how to make a possible compensation claim for head or brain injury call us today on 0333 123 9099, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form.