Six-figure compensation from insurers who lag behind in recognising dangers of concussion and invisible injuries

Navdip Gill | Dec 2023

In recent years, there have been huge efforts by disability campaigners to raise awareness of the fact that a large proportion of disabilities are not visible – but people who suffer from an invisible health condition continue to struggle to get recognition and support from parts of society, not least the insurance companies.

Such was the case when Navdip took on the case of a cyclist who had been hit by a car which mounted the pavement in 2018.

What if you suffer concussion in a traffic accident that was not your fault?

Sadly the experience of one of our partners, Navdip Gill who specialises in traumatic brain injury compensation claims, is that insurance companies are unwilling to recognise the “potentially devastating effects” of concussion in the way that they might if the same injury had caused a visible fracture of the skull.  The long term effects of any brain injury (visible or invisible) can include a deterioration of cognitive abilities and other impacts on mental health, such as reduced concentration and difficulties with memory.

The cyclist, who was a medical consultant, suffered a head injury when hit in the rear by a car. The driver had been travelling in a queue of traffic, too fast and too close to the car in front to be able to stop in time when the queue started to break.  To avoid hitting the car in front, the driver swerved onto the pavement colliding into the back of the cyclist’s bike in a high energy impact.

The cyclist was thrown off the bike, over the handlebars and onto the pavement landing on their head and back. Fortunately, a high quality helmet was being worn, but this was severely damaged and the cyclist was badly concussed – having to be taken to hospital where they were kept in under observation for a couple of nights.

While there was no question of liability on the part of the driver, the insurer consistently refused to acknowledge the effects of the injury on the cyclist, who was a medical consultant in a highly specialised field.

Impact of concussion on earning capacity

Juggling a clinical practice with detailed and critical research had become difficult due to neuropsychological symptoms and excessive fatigue, and the consultant was having to make adjustments which had reduced their earning potential. At such a high level in the medical profession, even a small reduction in capacity or capability can be costly over the course of a career.

In any brain injury, speed of treatment is extremely important to maximise the chances of a full recovery, and high quality rehabilitation within the first two years after an accident gives the best chance of a full recovery.  Without this, symptoms can remain intrusive indefinitely.

Our solicitors know the insurance companies’ tactics

The cyclist came to Navdip in 2022 following a personal recommendation, as the insurers were dragging their heels and refusing to acknowledge the long-term impact of the injury, arguing that symptoms were due to pre-existing conditions rather than the accident.

‘Insurance companies do not understand the science around mild traumatic brain injuries, and do not want to accept that any impact to the skull causes ongoing cognitive issues. They will often rely on the CT images, but these are a blunt instrument and do not tell the whole story.  Insurers are in the business to make money and so will bitterly defend any claim,’ explained Navdip who is experienced in fighting for his clients against such tactics.

Rehabilitation and compensation for accident victim

Navdip immediately organised rehabilitation treatment, but as it was now three years since the accident, it was unlikely that the consultant would be able to make a full recovery.  Working with brain injury experts, (there are only a handful of experts on the cutting edge of brain injury work and they are often in high demand with a large waiting list) Navdip was able to show that our client’s deterioration in health had been caused by the accident.  A settlement was then negotiated of over £500,000 to cover compensation for pain and suffering, as well as a considerable loss of future earnings and reduction in NHS pension.

‘People who have had a brain injury should not be put off speaking to a solicitor if they are experiencing symptoms, even if a medical report does not show any obvious damage,’ says Navdip.  ‘You know your body, and friends and family may have noticed changes.  Witness statements are important in any personal injury case, providing an opportunity to explain ongoing symptoms and to declare any previous head injuries or other conditions’.

Contact us

We are always happy to have an informal conversation, with no obligation. Please contact Navdip Gill on 01908 689338 or via email at ngill@geoffreyleaver.com to arrange a free and no obligation initial consultation.

This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.

 

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Navdip Gill | Personal Injury Partner

Navdip Gill | Partner

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