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Clinical Negligence specialist Paul Sankey on Brain Injury Compensation and aftercare

People may read the story of Christopher Lines and think that to recover around £6.2 million against North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after negligent medical treatment left him with a severe brain injury is a lot of money. And it is. It is tragic that his life has been so ruined by avoidable errors, and that NHS money has had to be diverted to make good the damage made by his poor care - when with better care that money could have been available to treat patients.
Yet in all awards of this kind, the vast majority of the money goes to meet the enormous costs of caring for someone who is dependent on care day and night. 24 hour care is extremely expensive - in the order of £200,000 per year - and the need for a live-in carer often means extra accommodation. Then beside care is the cost of equipment, such as wheelchairs, accessible vehicles and extra IT. Many people also need to move house to bungalow accommodation. Large as these multi million pound awards seem, people are under-compensated for their housing needs and most claimants have to forgo a degree of care or some equipment to find the cost of proper accommodation.
The purpose of Brain Injury Compensation is to put a wrongly-injured victim in the position they would have been in but for their injury. This is of course an impossible aim but awards can at least enable people to purchase what they need to give them maximum independence. That is what these big awards are generally all about.
The media often focuses on the size of awards but rarely highlights quite how difficult it is to live with a severe, disabling brain injury. To find out more, have a look at the story of Iris and Colin Freeman. Colin, a 44-year-old man won substantial damages from the NHS after failings by Frimley Park hospital in Surrey left him paralysed with long term brain damage.