A serious injury has both an immediate and long-term impact on your life in many different ways. Read nine tips from our experts to help you adjust to the short-term changes and plan for the future.
In the early days of your injury and beyond, it’s common to feel frightened or directionless. You’ve just been through an unexpected and difficult change. It can be overwhelming to think of what you need to do next, and who you can turn to for support while also dealing with your pain and symptoms.
When someone suffers a serious injury, they need a lot of support from many different experts across many different fields. We offer more than just legal advice because we know just how seismic the impact of an injury can be. In this article, we’ve compiled some practical information that can offer you insight and direction as you begin getting your life back on track.
Simple Advice to Consider in the Early Days
Your situation is as unique as you are, but there are some things that are helpful for anyone, no matter the injury.
Knowing You’re Not Alone
It’s important to remember that many others have also gone through a life-changing injury, and you aren’t alone. There are many organisations out there to support people during a time in their life when they need it most.
You can get medical support through your rehabilitation and therapy teams, and legal support can help you answer questions about your future and how to get back on track.
There are also lots of charities that can support you through every stage, with things like information, advice or mental health support. There are charities to support with your injury just a phone call or an email away, and many have online resources to help you and your family.
You’re not alone in this, there will always be people there to support you. Read our charity directory to find out which charities you can reach out to.
Keeping Good Records
If you’ve suffered several injuries, an injury that seems less significant at the outset could develop into something that impacts you long term. It could even end up being the most significant injury you sustain.
That’s why, we recommend keeping records of your symptoms and pain for each injury that you can refer back to. Memories can fade or become unreliable over time, so knowing that you have it all recorded means you can focus on the more important things – like your recovery.
To make this easier for you, we’ve created a resource you can print off and fill in yourself, or fill in on your computer. Download our record-keeping resource (PDF).
The Importance of Early Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation aims to restore as much independence to your life as possible through medical treatment and therapies. It’s well known that the earlier you start rehabilitation, the greater your opportunity of maximising improvement or recovery. Early rehabilitation will also help you understand the long-term impact of your injury.
Everyone’s journey to getting their lives back on track is different, especially with serious injuries, so the nature of rehabilitation can also vary. No matter what the approach, having an experienced and specialist team supporting you is crucial.
Speak to your doctor or medical practitioner about rehabilitation centres near you, and what you can do at home to aid your recovery. During your legal claim, your solicitor will talk to you about how they can help you fund your rehabilitation.
The Benefits of Choosing an APIL-Accredited Solicitor
APIL stands for Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. This is an organisation that continually campaigns for the rights of injured people by protecting and improving their access to justice. By becoming APIL-accredited, a solicitor or firm is committing themselves to always acting in your best interests, and promoting improvement of personal injury law and public safety.
If you think you need to make a compensation claim after a serious injury, then it’s crucial to pick the right solicitor. You need someone who will think about everything from your rehabilitation to your accommodation. We’re an APIL-accredited firm, so whether it’s your finances, your family or your future, we pride ourselves on being able to offer everything you need to protect what matters most.
Find APIL-accredited solicitors on our serious injury page
An APIL-Accredited Solicitor’s Thoughts
One of our APIL-accredited solicitors, Ruth Johnson, has supported people through serious injuries for over 15 years. She’s helped of hundreds of clients as they’ve progressed through their journey from the early days to beyond. Ruth has shared a few valuable thoughts from her vast experience, on what you should focus on first.
Ruth said: “Always allow yourself plenty of time to process what’s happened. You will have been through a lot, both physically and emotionally. If you think you have a claim, instruct a specialist solicitor as soon as you’re ready to. Bear in mind though, the sooner you pursue this, the better. Steps can be taken before you’ve even been discharged from the hospital that can help you and add to what statutory services can provide.”
For a range of injuries, early access to personalised specialist treatment and rehabilitation can reduce the long-term effects when compared with those who started later.
Ruth continued: “Getting in touch with a solicitor early on can make a big difference to your journey. It’s especially important for dealing with early concerns such as how you’ll meet financial commitments, where you’ll live if your property isn’t suitable anymore, and when and how treatment will happen. Building a team around you legally and medically as soon as possible means these worries will be taken off your shoulders. This allows you to concentrate on yourself and your rehabilitation.”
Rehabilitation and treatment aren’t the only things Ruth encourages you to think about. Being open about your worries and concerns with your loved ones, legal team and medical team, and sharing what matters to you, will help them support you best. She said: “Keep talking so people can help you – every injury, person and journey is different.”
Focusing on the Able in Disabled
Adapting to life after an injury is never easy. If you’re disabled because of your injury, it can be even more challenging. Here are some specific things you can do to help maintain or improve your independence.
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of living with a long-term health condition or disability. It’s available for anyone aged 16 or over. It’s not a means-tested benefit, so you’ll still get the payment however much you earn or have in savings.
You can get PIP if you need help with everyday tasks or mobility. You must have needed this help for at least three months and expect to still need it for at least another nine months.
The rules are slightly different if you’ve reached the state pension age. Find out more information about PIP and how to claim it on the Money Advice Service website
Council Tax Reduction
The amount of council tax you pay normally depends on the value of your home. Larger homes are often worth more money, and can mean higher council tax bills.
People living with a disability need extra space in their home to make it easier to move around and do everyday tasks. But it’s not fair for a disabled person to pay more council tax because they need more space than a non-disabled person.
You can apply to your local council for a tax reduction if you need an extra room for carers, or because you need more space for using a wheelchair.
Find out how to be eligible for a council tax reduction on the government website
VAT is a tax you have to pay when buying goods and services. VAT is currently 20%, and applies to many things you can buy in the UK.
If you’re disabled or have a long-term condition, you won’t pay VAT on products that are designed or adapted for your personal use. You also won’t pay VAT for the installation, repairs and maintenance.
This VAT relief applies to products like:
- Adjustable beds
- Stair lifts
- Medical appliances to help with severe injuries
- Adapted vehicles
- Construction work to adapt your home.
Find out more about VAT relief on the government website
The Life-Changing Impact of a Serious Injury
Over the next few months, we’ll continue to look at the life-changing impact that serious injuries can have. We’ll talk about how important it is to have the support you need during a phase of your life like no other. Our legal experts will be joined by medical practitioners, rehabilitation specialists and charities as we share podcasts, webinars, articles and more to support you with your injury – follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook for our updates.
Read more about our upcoming resources
Learn more about how our serious injury solicitors can help you claim compensation