Brain Injury Lawyers

We are expert compensation lawyers with offices across Queensland including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and major regional centres. Free initial advice and 100% risk-free claims with no upfront costs and our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise.


If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury in Queensland due to someone else's fault or negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

This process can often seem overwhelming, particularly when you're also focusing on physical recovery. However, financial compensation can ease the financial burden and fund ongoing treatment and care to better the quality of life for victims suffering from a serious brain injury. 

Smith's Lawyers expert brain injury lawyers offer free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in hospital, in-office or via phone. All claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Brain Injury in Queensland

In Australia, an estimated 700,000 people live with a brain injury. The lifetime cost of a moderate brain injury is approximately $2.5 million and increases to $4.8 million for a severe injury, placing a huge financial burden on families impacted. 

If you've experienced a traumatic brain injury in Queensland as a result of another's negligence, it's important to know you have legal rights to compensation. Various compensation schemes are in place to assist you, depending on the nature and location of the accident.

Take a look at some of the key compensation schemes available in Queensland: 

  • Road and Car Accidents: Queensland's Compulsory Third Party claims (CTP) scheme, you're entitled to compensation if you've sustained a brain injury in a road or car accident caused by another party.
  • Workplace Accidents: Through a statutory claim via WorkCover Queensland or your self-employer, brain injury sufferers can seek compensation regardless of fault. If your employer was negligent, you also reserve the right to bring about a common law claim. 
  • Public Place Accidents: In circumstances where a brain injury has been sustained in a public setting, you can proceed with common law claims against the public liability insurer of the negligent party.

Please note each case is unique, so it's vital to seek advice from a specialist brain injury lawyer to navigate these pathways.

What is an Acquired Brain Injury?

An acquired brain injury refers to brain damage occurring after birth, caused by factors like trauma, illness, or lack of oxygen, impacting physical, cognitive, or emotional functions. It's a complex condition that can alter normal brain function including cognition, physical abilities, and emotions. 

It usually results from a traumatic impact or sudden jolt to the head, disrupting the normal functioning of the brain, and can result in permanent disabling conditions or even death. 

There are mainly two types of acquired brain injuries - traumatic and non-traumatic. 

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) often results from an external force such as a blow or jolt to the head, often caused by accidents, falls or violent incidents.
  • Non-traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, is usually caused by internal factors, such as stroke, tumours or lack of oxygen to the brain. 

While some brain injuries may recover with time and treatment, others can have long-standing effects, greatly impacting the victim's life.

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

An estimated 200,000 Australians sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year. These injuries can occur under a range of circumstances in both high and low-risk activities.

  • Road Accidents: Around 55% of Australian traumatic brain injuries are caused by traffic accidents. The impact of a crash can result in severe trauma to the head.
  • Workplace Incidents: Employment settings, particularly in industries like construction or mining, can pose a serious risk of accidents leading to head injuries.
  • Falls: Trips and falls, often in public places, nursing homes or private residences, are the cause of 80% of TBIs in adults.
  • Sport Incidences: Participation in high-impact sports or recreational activities can sometimes lead to serious brain injuries.
  • Assaults: Violent attacks involving blows to the head can result in brain trauma.
Common Types of Brain Injuries

In the realm of brain injuries, several common types tend to arise due to accidents occurring on roads, within workplaces, or in public areas. 

These include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Often caused by a heavy blow or jolt to the head, TBIs range from mild concussions to severe brain damage; they also fall within the category known as acquired brain injuries. TBIs are frequently seen in motor vehicle accidents and falls. 
  • Concussion: This type of brain injury is often the result of a direct hit to the head, common in road accidents and certain work environments. Though less severe than a TBI, the symptoms of a concussion can be debilitating.
  • Contusion: These are small, localised areas of brain damage, often resulting from a direct blow. Falling objects at work sites are a typical cause of contusions.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: This injury involves the brain hitting the skull on both sides due to severe movement, usually occurring in high-speed vehicle accidents.
  • Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI): Often caused by strong rotation or shaking of the head, DAIs result in torn brain tissue. This is common in road and workplace accidents, particularly those involving construction or operating heavy machinery.
Workers Most At-Risk of Brain Injuries

There are specific industries identified as particularly prone to incidents causing brain injuries.

These include:

  • Construction Workers: These individuals often work at heights or around hazardous materials, putting them at an increased risk of traumatic brain injuries from falls, machinery accidents or debris.
  • Transportation Drivers: Those who operate vehicles for a living, including truck and taxi drivers, are particularly exposed to the risk of motor vehicle accidents on the road; this exposure can result in serious brain injuries.
  • Police and Emergency Responders: First responders are front and centre during emergencies and can be exposed to dangerous situations, increasing the risk of sustaining brain injuries.
  • Sports Professionals: High-impact sports increase the probability of concussions and other brain injuries due to the physical nature of the games and the potential for heavy collisions.
  • Farmers and Agricultural Workers: These workers often operate heavy machinery and work in environments with a risk of falling objects, making them more susceptible to brain injuries.
  • Military Personnel: Exposure to combat situations, explosive devices, and physical training exercises contribute to a higher risk of brain injuries in this profession.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Brain Injury Claims Process

Below is the typical process to making a personal injury claim.

1. Seek legal advice

The first step is to get in touch with a law firm that specialises in compensation claims for traumatic brain injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage a personal injury lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates on. Smith’s Lawyers runs all claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather evidence to build your case

Once your compensation matter is opened you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and to determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File your personal injury claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives) such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate with the at-fault party's insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor and a barrister they have engaged to lead the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is not successful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you cannot not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Brain Injury Claim?

Supporting a brain injury claim in Queensland, it's important to gather convincing evidence which proves the severity of your injury and how it has affected your life. Each case is unique; however, there are general types of evidence that you will need: 

  • Proof of Accident: This could consist of photos of the accident scene, surveillance videos, property damage, or police reports.
  • Details of Expense: Keep track and proof of any cost you have incurred due to your injury. This could include medical bills, receipts for medication, rehabilitation costs, or costs for home aid.
  • Proof of Lost Earnings: If you have been unable to work or your potential to earn has been impacted by your injury, it is key to evidence these lost earnings with pay slips, contracts, or letters from your employer.
  • Medical Reports: These documents can substantiate the intensity of your injury and can include hospital records, X-rays, scans, and doctor’s notes.
  • Witness Testimonies: Statements from anyone who witnessed the accident can be extremely helpful. These people can validate your account of the incident.

How Much Compensation for a Brain Injury

Brain injuries are often severe injuries causing permanent impairment and major loss of earnings so typical compensation amounts can be high compared with other injuries. 

How much compensation you receive will depend on personal circumstances including:

  • The severity of the head injury: The higher the level of injury severity and impact on your daily life, the higher the potential payout. This typically includes medical examinations, expert opinions, and personal testimony.
  • Future medical expenses: If your injury will necessitate ongoing medical treatment, such as surgeries, physiotherapy, or psychological support, this will be factored into your compensation. Head and brain injuries can need ongoing care including rehabilitation appointments, home modifications, surgery and carers.
  • Loss of income and earning capacity: If your ability to work and earn has been compromised due to the injury, it's an essential aspect of your claim. Your age, occupation, and skills can influence the calculation of this loss.
  • Pain and suffering: This aspect is more subjective and attempts to quantify the hardship and adverse emotional impact due to your injury.

While it may seem logical to assume that identical injuries would receive equivalent compensation, this isn't always the case. For two individuals who have sustained similar traumatic brain injuries, their respective compensations may significantly differ. 

Imagine a 30-year-old surgeon prevented from operating due to the injury versus a 70-year-old retiree whose lifestyle is also altered but faces no impact on future earnings or career growth. 

In such a scenario, the surgeon's compensation claim may be substantially higher due to considerable lost earnings and disrupted professional progression. Therefore, your unique circumstances hold substantial power in determining your compensation.

Time Limits for Brain Injuries

In Queensland, you generally have three years from the date of your brain injury to make a compensation claim. This applies whether the acquired brain injury was sustained in a road accident, at work or in a public place.

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your brain injury claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment. 
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle accidents in Queensland:

  • You have 9 months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the 9 months but must be within 3 years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim. 
  • Or, you have 1 month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (1 month vs 9 months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within 1 month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have 3 months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the 3-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard 9-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have 3 years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What information and evidence do I need to provide for a brain injury compensation claim?

You would typically require medical records that provide evidence of your injury and outline its severity, any associated treatment plans, and prognosis. Evidence of any loss of earnings, as well as relevant receipts for out-of-pocket expenses related to treatment or required adaptations, can be brought forward too. It could also be beneficial to include witness statements if available. 

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How long do brain injury compensation claims take to settle?

The timeline for settling brain injury compensation claims is variable and could take anywhere from a few months to several years. Factors such as the complexity of the case, the severity of the injury, and the willingness of the parties to settle influence the duration. Generally, claims in Queensland are settled within 12 to 18 months. 

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Do I need a brain injury compensation lawyer to make a claim?

While you're not legally required to hire a brain injury compensation lawyer to lodge a claim, this is highly recommended. A lawyer has the legal expertise to navigate the process effectively and ensure you receive the compensation you rightly deserve. Personal injury lawyers manage all the details, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

If you suffer injuries whilst at work, and you are looking for further information in terms of making a claim. Here at Smith's Lawyers, we offer a free consultation for injured people looking to seek compensation. As mentioned before, we also have a "No Win. No Fee. No Catch." policy, which means you will never be out of pocket.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
June 27, 2024

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 help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.