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Title: Claiming for head injury sustained in motorcycle accident

Date: 03 October 2012

Question

My niece had an awful accident a year and a half ago. She hit her head very hard – her skull was fractured (she was wearing a helmet) and she had a massive bleed on the brain. She is now out of the neuro-trauma unit of the hospital but she can’t look after herself, so my sister looks after her at her house. It was the police officer’s belief that a car driver was to blame but so far we have been more concerned about helping Beth recover, rather than making a claim for compensation.

However, my sister is not coping financially and I was wondering if my niece can claim despite now being mentally like a four year old.

Ric Needham, Cheltenham

Beth is what we call a protected person under the Mental Health Act. This does not prevent her from pursuing a claim but she will need a Litigation Friend to make legal decisions on her behalf. This should be someone that can be trusted and relied upon such as her mother or father. The first port of call is to instruct a solicitor to obtain the police report. There may also be a more detailed collision investigator’s report (they usually exist in cases of fatal or near fatal accidents). This will give the solicitor an excellent idea of the prospects of a successful claim.

It is essential that you instruct a solicitor with experience of severe head injury cases and mental incapacity as well as liability issues in motorcycle accident cases. You must realise that (as with all road traffic accident claims) you don’t need to use a firm appointed by your insurer. In cases of mental incapacity the usual 3 year time limit for bringing the claim does not apply.

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