Brain injury compensation

Brain injury

Brain injury is a term that refers to a range of medical and surgical issues which are caused by trauma to the head. Brain injury can happen from a direct force to the brain where the skull is fractured, or through indirect force when the brain ‘bounces’ against the skull causing swelling and injury.

If you have suffered a brain injury through the negligence of someone else, whether through work or an accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your injury and the consequences.

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What is a brain injury? 

The brain is the most complex organ in the body. When the brain is damaged people may display symptoms of the injury immediately, or they may take a couple of days or even weeks to show signs of an injury to the brain. 

A brain injury refers to any damage or trauma to the brain, whether this is suffered due to an external force, or through substance use or abuse such as alcoholism. Brain injuries are classified according to whether they are mild, moderate, or severe.

  • Brain injury can take the form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) where a sudden impact results in trauma.
  • Brain injury may also be acquired. An acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any brain injury that happens after birth.

The outcome of a brain injury will vary from person to person, but it is vital that if a person does suffer a brain injury that they seek immediate treatment. Immediate treatment might take the form of surgery to relieve pressure around the brain, or working to ensure blood flow to the brain.

What are the symptoms of a brain injury?

Brain injury recovery

Brain injury happens when external force is applied to the head through a fall, sporting impact, assault, car accident, workplace accident, or other external force, resulting in trauma and damage. 

  • An injury to the brain can result in mild concussion, coma, or even death.
  • The symptoms of a brain injury vary from a loss of consciousness, vomiting, headaches, nausea, cognitive problems, and dizziness. 
  • Longer-term issues can arise and can manifest in concentration problems, memory problems, sleep issues, personality changes, mental health issues, and even seizures and behavioural changes. 

Even a mild bump to the head can result in a concussion which can then result in problems later on due to swelling or pressure.

Can I claim brain injury compensation?

If you have suffered a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence then you may be eligible to claim compensation for your injuries and the consequences flowing from this injury. Many brain injuries happen as a result of motor vehicle accidents, and if you are aware that a motor vehicle accident was not your fault this may result in a personal injury claim for a brain injury. 

Example: Gavin was driving home from a friend’s house when he was hit by a driver who was speeding and intoxicated. Gavin’s car flipped and rolled three times, and Gavin suffered a fractured skull from the accident. The driver of the other vehicle was found to be negligent, and Gavin is eligible to claim for his injuries including the moderate brain injury that he sustained. 

Brain injury - what can I claim for? 

General Damages 

Brain injuries are generally moderate to severe and if you have suffered a brain injury there is a chance you will require ongoing medical treatment and care. General damages are a way of compensating you for the pain and suffering you have experienced from the accident. General damages also compensate you for any permanent loss of enjoyment in life that you have suffered as a result of your injury. Any damages of this nature are calculated by assessing your brain injury and determining its seriousness. 

Medical costs 

The medical costs relating to your brain injury will include anything that directly stems from the diagnosis, treatment and management of your injury. You will be able to claim the costs of mediation, and any future medical costs that are anticipated to occur. 

Rehabilitation costs

In many cases, people recover from brain injury through rehabilitation, and any reasonable rehabilitation costs will be claimable under brain injury compensation. 

Loss of income and earning capacity in the future

You may require time off work as a result of your brain injury, and you may suffer a loss in the amount you can earn - both now, and in the future. If your brain injury means that you cannot work in the same manner as you could prior to your injury then you may be able to claim for loss of future earnings. Superannuation that would have been paid on your lost income is also eligible to be claimed under a loss of earnings.

Care and assistance

You may be able to claim the costs of care and assistance required in your home if you are no longer able to do certain tasks due to your brain injury.

Time limits to claim for a brain injury

When a person is making a claim for an injury there are limitations which apply to making a claim. For most personal injury claims you do need to make this application within three years of the date of your injury. If you do miss this date you will be barred by statute from making a claim, but there is the possibility of extending only if specific circumstances apply. 

If you are claiming for a brain injury that took place at work you must file a worker’s compensation claim within six months of the date of the accident, or from the date you became aware of your injury.

If you are claiming for a brain injury that happened in a public place you will need to serve a Notice of Claim on the party you believe is at fault within nine months of the injury, or within one month of first seeing a solicitor about your brain injury claim, whichever is first.

What to do next if you have suffered a brain injury?

It is important to seek advice on a brain injury compensation claim to ensure that your rights are protected. A lawyer can assist you to explore the circumstances relating to your brain injury and can identify if you are eligible to seek compensation. 


Next steps - get advice now

It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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Last update on:
May 29, 2018
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

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