1 REHABILITATION IN PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS By Carol Jackson Principal Lawyer Pannone Part of Slater & Gordon
2 Rehabilitation It s not all about the money There is more a solicitor can do Increasing and proper emphasis on rehabilitation The aim of litigation is to put the claimant back into the position, as far as is possible, before the crash
3 Importance of Rehab Important emphasis at Slater & Gordon All good serious injury lawyers should be delivering rehabilitation Slater and Gordon are winners of 2013 Rehabilitation Award
4 What is Rehab? Defined by UK Rehabilitation Council in December 2008: A process of active change by which a disabled person achieves optimum physical, psychological and social function.
5 How is Rehab Provided? Within litigation provide rehab in three ways: Via limited statutory funding The Rehabilitation Code 2007 Interim damages
6 What is the Rehab Code? Applies to all personal injury claims Launched in 1999 and updated in 2003 and 2007 Promotes early collaboration and intervention Applies irrespective of position on liability Always beneficial to the claimant to have early professional input
7 Rehab under the Rehabilitation Code Applies to all personal injury claims in theory irrespective of liability Advantages where problems on liability can get Rehab underway Early intervention important for good outcomes Insurer covers all the costs Sets out an immediate needs assessment and planned program Therapist reports to claimant and defendant at the same time Transparent Problems of confidentiality
8 What is Rehab? Commonly physiotherapy, occupational therapy, counselling but also: Sophisticated psychological input for say PTSD A teaching assistant for a pupil with a brain injury Family counselling Specialised case manager and support workers Attendance at a specialised residential brain injury unit Vocational retraining and employment placement Long list depends on injury and family needs
9 What should happen? Claimant should not be sitting at home examining the walls Unless exceptional cases dispute on primary liability In the majority of cases there should be evidence of rehabilitation either privately or under the Code Interim payments to relieve immediate financial problems whether to cover expense or replace loss of earnings
10 How Does it Work? Case Study 1 The claimant suffers a serious head injury in RTC on crossing. Dispute on liability lights red/green? Need for rehabilitation under the Code. Assessment and implementation of rehab pre any admission of liability and provides: Personal and family counselling Specialist brain injury case manager to provide support to the claimant and family Physiotherapy Brain injury information Dedicated college assistant to support return to education Interim payments provide: Payments for expenses Replace loss of earnings
11 Case Study 2 Driver in diabetic coma looses control of vehicle collides with pedestrian Very serious brain injury in hospital for three months Admission of liability Significant on-going cognitive deficits in terms of memory, executive functioning, information processing, managing activities of daily living and behavioural issues in part caused by lack of insight Limited NHS rehabilitation Rehabilitation not under the Code privately paid via interim payments
12 Specialist Brain Injury Case Manager Claimant appoints a brain injury case manager co-coordinating support team which has clinical supervision from neuropsychologist. Detailed package includes: Support worker Domestic help Speech and language therapy Occupational therapy Counselling Family support Vocational retraining Physiotherapy Provides rehabilitation, psychological support and practical assistance.
13 Conclusion The benefits to the claimant and defendant of rehabilitation are self evident. There is an improvement in the quality of life for claimants and possible savings in damages for defence. Experienced personal injury lawyers should be organising tailored rehabilitation. Important added value to the claimant in addition to the compensation.
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