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What are your options if your home is no longer suitable for your needs following a serious injury?

11/01/2021

Author: Sara Westwood

Accidents and Injuries, Clinical Negligence

Sara Westwood, Partner and Medical Negligence Expert at Hatch Brenner Solicitors in Norwich

Sara Westwood, Partner and Medical Negligence Expert at Hatch Brenner Solicitors in Norwich

Fortunately, a life changing injury is not something most of us will experience in our lifetime but if the worst should happen, thought often needs to be given to whether your home is suitable and/or safe for you to continue living in.

Injuries affecting mobility can occur in a number of ways whether by a road traffic accident, industrial accident or medial accident that may cause a spinal injury and/or brain injury or result in an amputation.

If another party was at fault for the injury, it is likely you will want to bring a claim for compensation. Your solicitor will advise on whether that can include an accommodation claim. However, what does this actually mean?

In order to assess your case, your solicitor will engage specialists to assess you and advise on your condition and prognosis and needs in terms of care, equipment and any alterations you may need to make your home fully accessible. Sometimes it is not possible to modify your home and the recommendation may be to buy a different property.

I recently concluded a claim for a girl who sustained a fractured skull when she was delivered by caesarean section. This caused a brain injury resulting in cerebral palsy, which left her with mobility and cognitive difficulties.

Initially the hospital defended the claim but an agreement was eventually reached whereby they agreed to pay 85% of her claim. It had already been identified her property was unsuitable for her needs as she required ground floor accommodation. It was going to take a number of years before her claim could be settled, as the specialists were unable to finalise her long-term needs until she was older. A new property was however essential so we applied to the court for an advance on the payment of compensation (known as an interim payment) which was successful.

A bungalow was purchased for her and an architect engaged to advise on the adaptations and modifications needed in the immediate term to ensure the property was safe for her both inside and out. A builder was then engaged to undertake the works. Since then a new bathroom has been fitted to enable her to be more independent to include a bath with a power-assisted seat.

The claim was settled this time last year and works are due to start imminently to knock down the conservatory and build a therapy room for her so she can continue with the essential physiotherapy and occupational therapy she needs.

No amount of money can restore her life to how it should have been however, a property which is adapted to her needs means she has a much greater independence than would otherwise have been the case.

Sara Westwood is a Partner at Hatch Brenner Solicitors in Norwich and specialises in Medical Negligence legal claims. Contact sarawestwood@hatchrbrenner.co.uk or call 01603 660 811.

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