After sustaining your serious injury
It is likely that you will have been treated in hospital or a rehabilitation unit for a long time after sustaining your serious injury. You and your family will no doubt be looking forward to the day when you are told you can be discharged home - but at the same time it is normal to also feel anxious.
Home from Hospital
If you have suffered a serious injury such as a head injury, a brain injury, a spinal cord injury or an amputation, then careful preparation will usually be necessary to ensure that your care and rehabilitation can continue once you are discharged home.
The specialist solicitors who deal with serious injury cases at Thompsons will be able to advise you and your family on how to go about this preparation, at the time of your discharge home.
The arrangements that are made for your discharge home may depend on whether your solicitor has been able to make a claim for compensation on your behalf and whether liability has been admitted or not.
If liability has been admitted then your solicitor will, where appropriate, bring in expert advisors to help co-ordinate your discharge home.
Even if liability has not been admitted, the Thompsons’ in-house specialist Client Support Coordinator will be able to provide advice and support.
Involving your GP and Local Authority Social Services
It will be important to make sure that there is a careful handover from the hospital in-patient team to the out-patient team and your GP.
It will probably be appropriate to make contact with the Social Services Department of your Local Authority to ask for an assessment of services such as Care and Occupational Therapy.
It may be possible, even if liability has not been admitted in your case, for a specialist solicitor from Thompsons to persuade the Defendant’s insurance company to provide some privately funded rehabilitation under the Rehabilitation Code.
Your solicitor will be able to give you guidance as to the appropriate benefits available from the Department of Work and Pensions and other sources and will also be able to help you make contact with relevant voluntary support groups such as Headway, the Spinal Injuries Association, the Child Brain Injury Trust and so on. In addition, if you are awarded or have applied for Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance and have a carer who is aged over 16 and spends more than 35 hours a week caring for you then that person is able to claim Carer’s Allowance.
Throughout all of this, at Thompsons we aim to put your needs and those of your family members at the heart of the process. Your Thompsons’ solicitor will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Your Local Authority Social Services Department has an obligation to make an assessment of a disabled person’s needs. The assessment may include considering whether services such as a home help, housing adaptation, transport, residential care, accommodation, Meals-on-Wheels and direct payments of cash are appropriate.
Provision of these services is dependant on resources and some of the services can be subject to a charge. But the provision of services may vary from location to location and there is no guarantee that services provided in the short term will remain available in the long term.
If you are able to consider a return to work, either full time or part time, to your old job or to a different job, help will be available from the Disability Employment Advisor at Jobcentre Plus.
If you have suffered a serious head injury or a serious brain injury you should discuss your ability to drive with your GP who may need to refer you to the DVLA, especially if you have suffered from any epileptic fits.
Interim Payments and Private Care / Support
If your solicitor has been able to make a compensation claim on your behalf and liability has been admitted in full or at least in part, then it may be possible to persuade the Defendant’s insurers to make an interim payment of compensation. This can be used to set up a private support regime to allow you to be discharged home.
If an interim payment is available this can be an excellent opportunity to provide support for you at home.
Your solicitor will be able to arrange for an Immediate Needs Assessment to be carried out by a Care Expert, who may also involve a Case Manager. An interim payment can be used to provide support in the form of personal care, occupational and other therapies, physiotherapy, housing, case management, psychological support and in the case of an injured child, educational support.
All of your support needs will be carefully discussed with you by your specialist solicitor and assessed by Thompsons’ team of independent expert advisors.
DWP Benefits and Help from Voluntary Organisations
Even if the Defendant’s insurers have admitted liability, it may still be appropriate for your Local Authority Social Services Department to be consulted. It will certainly be appropriate for you to apply for benefits from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and possibly to ask for financial support from the DWP through the Independent Living Fund (ILF). The ILF provides financial support to disabled people and is dedicated to advancing standards of independent living.
Contact details for the DWP and ILF are below:
Department for Work and Pensions
0800 243 3355
Independent Living Fund
0845 601 8815
Support, guidance and assistance will be available from voluntary organisations such as: