As a solicitor representing clients who have suffered traumatic and life changing injuries, I know all too well how challenging it really is for the individual and their loved ones.
Whilst most people associate bringing an injury claim with monetary compensation, the litigation process can actually provide far more than this. The central objective is to return a claimant so far as possible to the position they would have been in but for the accident. This requires me to proactively consider how my client might benefit from additional rehabilitation which may simply not be available to him or her under the NHS.
The Rehabilitation Code promotes both claimants’ solicitors and insurance representatives to collaboratively engage in the provision of rehabilitation and early intervention in the claims process.
Whilst the Code is not mandatory, many of the larger insurers are willing to facilitate treatment under it when requested and this can ensure the provision of early rehabilitation at a time when a client is most likely to benefit from this.
The process begins with an assessment of rehabilitation needs, which might include the following:
- occupational therapy
- accommodation needs – renting or buying a new home or adapting the current home
- transport – adapting a current vehicle or purchasing a new one
- psychological treatment
- vocational rehabilitation
An advantage of engaging in rehabilitation from the outset is that injured parties have the best chance possible of maximising their recovery. In a case where a claimant has suffered severe injuries and in which proceedings are likely to be long running, this can help to maintain relations between the parties in the long term.
The Code technically operates outside of the claims process. If the insurance company provides funds for such purposes it cannot, if Court proceedings are subsequently commenced, dispute the reasonableness or cost of the treatment. If the claimant commences Court proceedings and subsequently loses or discontinues the claim or if a finding of contributory negligence is made or agreed, the compensator is not entitled to seek to recover any funds paid for this purpose from the claimant.
It is therefore were important that when you are considering instructing a solicitor to represent you, you choose somebody who is likely to be proactive in considering your immediate rehabilitation needs whilst at the same time ensuring that your compensation claim is not undermined.
I currently represent a client who has sustained complex multiple orthopaedic injuries. Whilst liability investigations are still ongoing, the insurers’ representatives have agreed to fund my client’s rehabilitation and immediate needs. An occupational therapist carried out an assessment to determine what environment would be most beneficial to my client in undertaking rehabilitation. My client is undergoing intensive physiotherapy at a clinic, reinforced by a membership at a gym and use of a swimming pool. We have set up a taxi account to ensure my client is able to attend his various appointments. Although my client has a long way to go before he begins to consider returning back to work, he remains focussed and motivated to progress with his rehabilitation