Henry Carus + Associates | Injury Lawyers

Can I Claim Compensation for a Brain Injury?

Neurologist reviewing brain injury scans with patient | Henry Carus + Associates

Speaking to a brain injury lawyer is key if you were injured through no fault of your own. You may be entitled to compensation, but it is important to fully understand your rights.

Brain injuries are serious and complex. They can impact virtually all areas of life, including the ability to care for yourself, the ability to work, and more. If you have a compensation claim for a brain injury, experienced legal counsel can help you obtain all of the entitlements you are due.

Contact a brain injury lawyer at Henry Carus + Associates by calling 03 9001 1318. Your consultation is 100% FREE and comes with no obligation. Our lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and all of Victoria.

What Is a Brain Injury?

A brain injury refers to any type of trauma to the brain, as well as the resulting physical, emotional, and cognitive impairments. Brain injuries are often considered ‘invisible’ because the nature and severity of the damage is often much worse than what can be seen from the outside.

There are several types of brain injury:

Acquired Brain Injury

Brain damage any time after birth is categorised as an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Potential causes of an ABI include:

  • A blow to the head, as is commonly seen in motor vehicle accidents, falls, etc.
  • Penetrating injury to the skull, where a foreign object enters the brain
  • Oxygen deprivation (also known as a hypoxic brain injury)
  • Stroke
  • Medical conditions such as an infection, a tumour, and neurological disorders

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), where an external force is strong enough to move the brain within the skull, is of particular concern. Every year, approximately 200,000 Australians sustain a TBI. Many don’t receive timely diagnosis and medical treatment, which can lead to serious complications.

Read More: Foggy and Sad? Your Head May Be Hurt!

Congenital Brain Injury

A congenital brain injury occurs prior to birth. It may be caused by genetic defects or mutations, or as a result of damage suffered by the foetus in the womb.

Birth Trauma

Injury to the brain during birth is a type of ABI. Birth injuries can have devastating repercussions for a child’s future, potentially resulting in cerebral palsy and other serious conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of a Brain Injury?

The symptoms of a brain injury vary significantly depending on what part of the brain was damaged and how severe the injury is. Sometimes the damage can heal on its own, while in other cases the damage is permanent.

Symptoms that may occur immediately or shortly after an acquired brain injury include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Persistent headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and disorientation
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Ringing noise in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty with concentration and/or memory
  • Changes in mood
  • Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, sleeping excessively, etc.

Anyone who experiences serious symptoms such as seizures, dilated or ‘blown’ pupils, or bleeding and fluid leakage from the nose or ears should be taken to hospital without delay. All of these are signs of a serious brain injury.

The long-term effects of a brain injury take time to develop. In severe cases, brain injuries can lead to cognitive impairment, loss of motor skills, radical changes in perception and sensation, difficulties in communication, changes in personality, and more.

If you or someone you love is facing these issues, you should consult a brain injury lawyer as soon as possible. Henry Carus + Associates specialise in all aspects of personal injury law, and we can help you lodge a claim for compensation.

Who Can Make a Brain Injury Claim?

Victims of acquired brain injuries may have multiple options for claiming compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can evaluate your situation and advise you of your legal options if you were injured as a result of any of the following:

In Victoria, there are three different personal injury compensation schemes. The process for making a claim varies under each scheme, which is why it is vital to obtain knowledgeable legal counsel.

TAC Claims for Brain Injury

Anybody who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Victoria can claim compensation from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). The following benefits are available regardless of who caused the accident:

  • Coverage of all necessary medical expenses
  • Services to aid in your recovery
  • Income support to replace lost earnings
  • Loss of earning capacity benefit, if your capacity for work remains diminished after 18 months
  • Support services for helping you return to work

You may also be entitled to a lump sum impairment benefit if your injuries result in permanent impairment of 11% or more. A brain injury might meet the impairment benefit criteria, but you will need to undergo one or more specialised medical assessments to determine the extent of the physical and psychological effects.

In addition, you may have a claim for common law damages if someone else was at fault for the accident that caused the brain injury. A TAC lawyer can help you lodge a serious injury application and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

Read More: What Does TAC Consider a Serious Injury?

WorkCover Claims for Brain Injury

Head injuries account for approximately 3% of workers’ compensation claims in Australia. From falls to being struck by equipment to objects falling from heights, many workers are at risk for head and brain injuries every day of their employment.

You can lodge a WorkCover claim if you suffer a brain injury on the job. Benefits you are entitled to include:

  • Reimbursement of medical treatment expenses
  • Weekly payments covering a percentage of your average earnings
  • Provisional payments for mental injuries (available for up to 13 weeks, even if your claim is ultimately rejected)
  • Contributions to a superannuation account

A Certificate of Capacity is required to claim weekly payments. This is an official document describing how the brain injury affects your ability to work.

Read More: What Is a Certificate of Capacity in a WorkCover Claim?

You may also be entitled to a permanent impairment benefit if the injury has stabilised, yet you are still limited in your capacity to work. Impairment is assessed by specially trained medical practitioners. Depending on the nature and extent of the brain injury, you may need to see multiple specialist doctors (such as a neurologist, psychiatrist, etc.) to satisfy the threshold imposed by WorkSafe.

Finally, you may have the right to sue your employer if their negligence caused your work-related brain injury. Your right to common law compensation is also contingent on proving that the ABI meets the definition of ‘serious injury’.

Public Liability Claims for Brain Injury

If you are injured in a public place, you can lodge a public liability claim against the individual or entity responsible. A brain injury lawyer can help you pursue maximum compensation for:

  • Economic loss, including loss of earnings and deprivation of earning capacity
  • Non-economic loss, including pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life

Entitlement to non-economic loss is dependent on you meeting the definition of ‘significant injury’ found in the Wrongs Act 1958 (Victoria’s personal injury legislation). Once again, this will require you to undergo a medical assessment conducted in accordance with specific legal standards.

Obtaining qualified legal counsel is the best way to protect your rights and ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. A brain injury lawyer can investigate and collect evidence to prove that the other party was at fault, while you focus on your recovery.

How Much Compensation Do You Get for a Brain Injury?

Brain injury victims need significant support from family, friends, medical professionals, and organisations. They often have a long and difficult road, sometimes with little to no prospect of a full recovery.

Unfortunately, fair compensation is not guaranteed. There is no hard-and-fast amount set aside for people who sustain a brain injury. Rather, you will need to lodge a personal injury claim through one of Victoria’s compensation schemes.

If you have a claim for common law damages, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Multiple factors can influence the amount you are awarded, including:

  • Your age at the time of the injury
  • The severity and duration of the brain damage
  • Current and ongoing medical needs
  • The value of your economic loss
  • Whether you can return to work/work in a different capacity
  • The value of your non-economic loss
  • How your ability to care for yourself and your family is affected
  • The prognosis for your injury

All common law damages claims in Victoria are subject to statutory maximums. Your brain injury lawyer can advise you of these limits while fighting to maximise your compensation.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?

Personal injury claims in Victoria are also subject to time limits. It is crucial to file a claim within the limitation period; otherwise, you may lose your right to compensation.

  • You generally have just 1 year to lodge a TAC claim following an accident and 6 years to claim common law damages.
  • A work-related injury should be reported as soon as possible—within 30 days at the latest. You then have 6 months to lodge a WorkCover claim and 6 years to claim common law damages.
  • You have 3 years from the date of the injury to bring a Wrongs Act claim for a public liability matter.

Brain injuries are not always obvious, and the full effects might not be apparent until the injury has stabilised. If you were not diagnosed with an ABI until a later date, this may be considered a ‘reasonable delay’—potentially giving you more time to make a claim. A skilled brain injury lawyer can ensure that your claim is lodged within the applicable time limit.

Can You Live a Normal Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Most people who experience an acquired or traumatic brain injury will face significant and permanent changes in their lives. At Henry Carus + Associates, we believe you are so much more than your injury. You are someone’s loved one, someone’s friend, someone’s co-worker, and much more. The compensation you are owed should reflect all of the ways the injury impacts your life and that of your family.

In brief, You Deserve More. That is the philosophy of our firm, and it is apparent in the innovative legal strategies we employ to maximise benefits and common law compensation for our clients.

We have unparalleled knowledge and experience navigating Victoria’s compensation schemes. As an LIV Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law, Henry Carus and his team provide the highest quality of legal service, expert legal guidance, and a fierce commitment to obtaining a favourable outcome on your behalf.

Contact Henry Carus + Associates Today

Have you suffered a brain injury? Speak to an experienced brain injury lawyer ASAP to protect your legal rights.

Call Henry Carus + Associates at 03 9001 1318 today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Our brain injury lawyers serve clients in Melbourne and all of VIC.