Barr Ellison has a well-established personal injury team specialising in catastrophic injuries which is recognised by the Legal 500 as a leader in its field. We are proud of our success in recovering substantial compensation for our clients to safeguard their long term financial security and wellbeing.
But of even more importance is our assertive implementation of rehabilitation from the earliest possible stage in the process, often long before any compensation awards are considered in detail. We form part of a team of specialists to help advise and guide you through the process.
Window of Opportunity for Rehab
In the crushing wake of a catastrophic personal injury, there is an immediate window of opportunity to implement rehabilitation such that it maximises our client’s (the victim’s) chances of returning as fully as possible to their life pre-injury. The earlier rehabilitation starts, the better.
In most situations the initial steps to seek legal advice are taken by the family coming to terms with the serious injury of a loved one. It is generally a surprise to many that, outside the provisions of the NHS, a private rehabilitation package can be made available which is focused on providing professional clinical and therapeutic support in the difficult months that follow the inevitable discharge from hospital.
Every case turns on its merits, but where it is possible to establish some early contact with the defendant (usually an insurer), an early admission of liability and a simple agreement can enable us to secure an interim payment that will help fund such a package. There are a number of steps.
Determine whether Interim Funding for Rehab is Possible
These funds can be provided by the insurer either by a general interim payment or under the terms of the Rehabilitation Code. The Rehabilitation Code has the advantage that it can provide essential funding irrespective of the liability position. This can be crucial where there are complex liability issues that may require a long investigation, while at the same time acknowledging the importance of funding for rehabilitation in order to maximise the best recovery outcome possible.
Appoint Independent Case Manager
The impact of a serious injury has catastrophic life consequences and we seek early access to an expert who knows and understands what needs to be done – the appointment of a clinically-trained, independent Case Manager will help ensure this expertise is put in place as an early step towards facilitating our client’s long road to recovery. The Case Manager works closely with the client and their family.
The Case Manager will prepare an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA) which provides crucial evidence as to what support is required and the cost of that support.
Conduct an Immediate Needs Assessment
This assessment identifies equipment needs, transport provisions and accommodation needs as well as establishing a bespoke team of therapists covering an array of disciplines such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, speech and language, to name but a few. The assessment will also focus on the care team required following hospital discharge.
The INA will be disclosed to the insurers to inform them of the nature of the injuries and symptoms and what support is required. This enables them to engage with the process and provides an understanding of why funding is required.
There can be some difficult decisions to make such as who will be providing care, whether there is a need to resign from a job, whether it’s possible to move back home, and so on. The Case Manager will help to structure a plan.
It is not uncommon to invite insurers to subsequent multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meetings to promote the continuation of financial support, to understand the timescales involved and to understand the real person behind such tragic circumstances.
There are of course circumstances where liability cannot be agreed even on a preliminary basis and funding is not voluntarily offered. In such circumstances, based on the merits of the claim, we can issue court proceedings to seek a formal Court Order forcing the release of an interim payment.
Long-term Benefits of Rehab
The long-term benefits of rehabilitation achieved through a strong case management team can be priceless, serving to rebuild not just the lives of our clients but also their families.
CASE STUDY: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Traffic Collision. Liability admitted. 5 weeks in hospital. In build-up to discharge, private funding was secured following Defendant’s agreement of the Case Manager’s INA recommendations. Employed a 24/7 support team and the OT oversaw the purchase of all aids and equipment for the home.
CASE STUDY: SPINAL CORD INJURY
Accident at work. Client transferred from acute trauma hospital to specialist spinal unit. Potential partial fault of client for accident but post-discharge funding for private care agreed by Defendant under the Rehabilitation Code. This meant that full funding was available for rental of suitable bungalow, aids and equipment and a multi-disciplinary support team in readiness for discharge from hospital.
CASE STUDY: LOWER LIMB AMPUTATION
Traffic collision. Liability disputed. Following INA by Case Manager and medico-legal report by Consultant in Neuro Rehabilitation, court proceedings were commenced. Although disputed, application for interim payment was approved with funding for next 12 months for support, rental accommodation and prosthetic equipment.
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