Brain injury news

 

Santa's little bikers need safety advice under the tree to go with their new wheels

Children are cycling on our busy roads at a younger and younger age, many from the age of five, according to new research from local child cyclist’s safety charity Cycle-Smart

With the Christmas peak in bike and helmet sales now upon us, the charity - as part of its #FiveSs campaign - is visiting schools across the Thames Valley to increase parent's and children's awareness of the need for properly fitted helmets and safer cycling practice - to mitigate risk of serious injury or death if new bikes and helmets are not accompanied by more effective, simple guidance on head protection and road safety. 

The national research from Cycle-Smart surveyed over 1,700 children in England aged 5-9, and found:

More than one in seven (15%) of 5-6 year olds now cycle on roads where there are cars;

The figure rises to 37% of 7-9 year olds;

Amongst boys in the 7-9 year old  44% were more likely to cycle on the road compared to 23% of girls;

Only 70% even own a helmet, and only 47% wear them every time they use their bike.

The last 6 months of road data (January- June 2017) shows a 24% increase in serious child cycling casualties compared to same 6 months last year.

Boyes Turner is proud to have sponsored a video for Cycle-Smart, released today, which gives simple to follow tips on helmet fitting and cycle safety.   

A snap-survey conducted last month by Cycle-Smart volunteers of 350 children, including 120 in the Reading, Newbury, Slough and wider Berkshire area, has revealed a worrying failure of children to wear properly fitted helmets:

Over 60% of under six-year-olds did not have straps secured properly under the chin or with the Y-shaped straps fitted correctly around the ears;

Over a quarter of under six-year-olds did not have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

For 6-14 year olds, over 40% didn’t have straps positioned and secured correctly, and 18% didn’t have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

Angela Lee, Founder and Chief Executive of Cycle-Smart, says:
"A lifetime of happy, healthy cycling is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their child. But a bike without a well-fitted helmet and the common-sense advice and training necessary to share the road with cars, vans and trucks could lead to unnecessary anguish. We're urging parents, bike shops and those responsible for educating our children to use the roads safely to come together to make sure this Christmas's bike bonanza leaves a safe and happy legacy in the New Year."

Claire Roantree, Trustee of Cycle-Smart and Partner at Boyes Turner LLP, says:
"Thousands of new bikes will be under the tree this Christmas. They're gifts that will create happier, healthier, more independent kids. However, it is an unavoidable fact that some of these bikes will lead to accidents. The risks shouldn't stop kids getting freer and fitter on their bikes. But it would be reckless if a major part of the gift wasn't parents, bike shops and schools coming together to ensure helmets are always well-fitted and advice is provided to the ever-younger kids sharing the roads with cars. We urge all parents of child cyclists to watch the Cycle-Smart video."

Oakland's Junior School win prizes for road safety project

Children from Oaklands Junior School in Crowthorne worked hard and had fun learning about road safety during this year’s Road Safety Week campaign (November 20-26, 2017).

Their challenge was to think about how to make the roads around their school safer, and to create a poster promoting road safety. 

The national awareness week is the flagship event of Brake, the road safety charity, and has been running for 20 years. The theme, Speed Down Save Lives, was chosen because speeding remains a huge problem in the UK; the risk of injury increases massively with impact speed, and speeding is a factor in nearly a quarter of fatal road crashes in the UK. 

Local Brain Injury Group member firm Boyes Turner supported the school’s activity and got involved in judging the poster entries and awarding prizes.

“We work with families badly affected by avoidable accidents all the time, and campaigns like this are a great way to get the message out there that we can all do a bit more to make our streets safer and reduce accidents,” said Claire Roantree, Partner at Boyes Turner. “The creativity of the children never fails to impress, and demonstrates that they’ve had fun learning about a very serious message.”

The winning entries each received WHSmith vouchers, and all children taking part received a fluorescent pencil.

“Road Safety Week is about raising awareness that will keep everyone alert and safe on the roads. If we can make the message fun, we can make it last”, said Sally Alexander, teacher at Oaklands.

The Brain Injury Group is a national network of specialist brain injury lawyers and support services. If you have been affected by brain injury visit braininjurygroup.co.uk for help and signposting to services.

Speed down - Save lives

The simple fact is that the faster you are driving, the more chance you have of being involved in an accident and the more chance that the accident will be serious or could result in a fatality.

Facts

  1. Did you know that approximately two-thirds of crashes in which people are killed or injured occur on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less.
     
  2. At 30 mph vehicles are travelling at 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) per second. All it would take is one blink and a driver may fail to see the early warning of another vehicles brake lights. A short glance away and the movement of a child from behind a parked car in to the road will be missed.
     
  3. Even in good conditions, the difference in the stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than 2 car lengths.
     
  4. If average speeds were reduced by just 1 mph, the national annual accident rate would fall by approximately 5%.
     
  5. If an individual drives more than 10 - 15% above the average speed of the traffic around them, they are much more likely to be involved in an accident.
  6. On average, in front impact collisions, seat belt wearing drivers have a 17% risk of being fatally injured in impacts at 40 mph and a 60% risk at 50 mph, though half of drivers who were fatally injured were in an impact of 34 mph or less.
     
  7. In side impact collisions, drivers are at a much greater risk of being fatally injured:
    In a collision at 40 mph the risk of a seat belt wearing driver being killed is 85%.
     
  8. Studies involving pedestrians have shown that pedestrians are more likely to be severely or fatally injured when hit by cars at higher speeds, and particularly when the car is travelling more than 30 mph.
     
  9. An analysis of vehicle speed in pedestrian fatalities in Great Britain found that 85% of pedestrians killed when struck by cars died in a collision that occurred at impact speeds below 40mph, 45% at less than 30 mph and 5% at speeds below 20 mph.

    The risk of a pedestrian who is hit by a car being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph. Above this speed, the risk increases rapidly so that a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at between 30 mph and 40 mph is between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling at below 30 mph. However, about half of pedestrian fatalities occur at impact speeds of 30 mph or below.

As can be seen from above speeding is highly dangerous and even going just a few miles per hour over the speed limit can mean the difference between life and death.

But what can be done to change the general public’s opinion that speeding is ok, as long as you are not speeding excessively?

Education

Perhaps the best way to stop people from speeding is by the use of education.

Education is absolutely vital in trying to change attitudes towards speeding.  As an example, those who drink and drive are seen as behaving in a dangerous, anti-social, immoral and selfish manner with little regard for the safety of other people.  However, those who speed are often not regarded in this way unless they grossly exceed the speed limit.  It is essential that the dangers caused by driving at inappropriate speeds are clearly explained and demonstrated (in the way that has been done for drink-driving) to work towards a general acceptance and ownership of the problem of illegal and inappropriate speed.

It will be far easier to persuade people to drive at safer speeds if they understand and accept that driving too fast significantly increases the chances of being involved in an accident, and significantly increases the chances of that accident being serious or fatal.  

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) strongly support road safety publicity campaigns such as the Department for Transports “Think Country Roads” campaign which highlights the dangers of inappropriate speed.

Speed cameras

Speed cameras are placed in known accident hot-spots to force drivers to slow down in those areas.  These cameras play a vital role in slowing drivers down though many drivers will simply slow down when they see a speed camera and then speed up again after they have passed it.

Drivers should remind themselves that speed limits and speed cameras are in place for a reason and keep at or below the speed limit at all times.

Vehicle speed restriction devices

Many modern vehicles are now fitted with speed restriction devices which the driver can set to stop them self accidentally going over the speed limit.

On many commercial vehicles such as lorries these devices are fitted by the company/vehicle owner and cannot be removed by the driver.

Vehicle speed restriction devices are a great way to slow drivers down, though even if your vehicle is not fitted with a speed restriction device by simply checking your speedometer on a regular basis you can ensure you do not accidentally go over the speed limit.

Leaving on time

Many accidents are caused by people rushing due to the fact that they are running late. Always ensure that you leave plenty of time for your journeys so that there is no need to speed.

Our message

We have sadly dealt with many road traffic collision claims where people have been severely or fatally injured. 

The effect of a high speed accident will be devastating to the injured victim, often resulting in a serious spinal injury, an amputation or a brain injury. 

In the case of a fatal accident the victim’s family will be markedly impacted by the loss of a loved one.

We fully support Road Safety Week and recommend that all drivers ensure they drive within the speed limits. If you would like more information on Road Safety Week click here.

Cycle Safety and the Highway Code

Are you aware that it is a mandatory requirement of the Highway Code for all cycles to be fitted with reflectors and lights if being ridden at night?

Rule 60 of the Highway Code states that:

·       At night your cycle MUST have illuminated white front and red rear lights.

·       Your cycle MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 01 October 1985).

The above requirements within Rule 60 are mandatory. (The Highway Code emphasises this by highlighting the word “MUST” in bold capitals).

Rule 60 also states that:

·       While front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.

·       Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp

These two recommendations are not mandatory, but are good advice to cyclists to ensure that they are safe and visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are instructed by many cycle users who have been injured whilst cycling in circumstances where the correct use of cycle lights might have helped avoid the accident, such as falling from the bike owing to unseen defects in the road surface or collisions with another vehicle whose driver didn't see them.

Boyes Turner recommend that all cyclists comply with the Highway Code, both for their own safety and to increase their prospects of recovering compensation in the event of an accident.

Additionally, other items such as reflective strips, reflectors that can be attached to cycle helmets and specially designed, bright clothing can make you more visible to other road users.

Boyes Turner are trustees of “Cycle-Smart”, a local cycle charity in Reading and share their aims to promote cycle safety.

Colour the world Orange 2017 - International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Day

To mark today’s International Complex Regional Pain Syndrome awareness day – Colour the World Orange – we have produced an infographic detailing the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).

Buildings across the world are set to turn orange to mark the occasion, the UK buildings are:

·       TRAFALGAR SQUARE FOUNTAINS IN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       EMIRATES SPINNAKER TOWER IN PORTSMOUTH, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       FRESH DIRECT ARENA IN LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       SWINDON CENTRAL LIBRARY IN SWINDON, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       GATESHEAD MILLENNIUM BRIDGE IN GATESHEAD, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 6

·       MANCHESTER TOWN HALL IN MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 2

·       BLACKPOOL TOWER IN BLACKPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 8

As personal injury claim specialists we see a number of chronic pain cases, including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, one of the most painful types of pain. In our experience, clients develop CRPS after fractures, soft tissue injuries or burns which usually involve extensive swelling and lead to an abnormal neurological pain response that magnifies the effect of their original injury.

If you have been involved in an accident and suffer from chronic pain as a result then get in touch with our expert personal injury claim lawyers on 0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The use of technology in rehabilitation following an injury

As claimant brain injury specialists, Boyes Turner are keen advocates of the use of rehabilitation to expedite a person’s recovery following an accident.

At the same time defendants in personal injury claims are encouraged to provide suitable rehabilitative treatment to claimants to assist them in their recovery. To read our article on the Rehabilitation Code 2015 click here.

What rehabilitative options are available to injured persons?

Traditionally, rehabilitation involved adopting physical methods to assist in recovery, for example, physiotherapy or hydrotherapy treatment to aid muscle/strength recovery. One-to-one sessions with a counsellor or neuro-rehabilitation specialist were also used to assist with cognitive behavior therapy. Whilst these forms of rehabilitative therapy are still valid and in many cases the most suitable therapy available, they can take time,  be expensive and not always convenient to the injured person.

In the modern era there is a wealth of technology available to assist rehabilitation specialists when providing rehabilitative therapy and also to allow patients to attend therapy at a time which is convenient to them and often in the comfort of their own home.  This article discusses some of the technological aided rehabilitative therapies available to injured people.

Online exercise programmes and training diaries

Physical therapy

Online applications (apps) can now be used for providing patients with exercise programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  These apps provide the following benefits:

·       Physical exercises can be easily demonstrated to the patient using helpful videos.

·       Easy-to-understand information can be provided to teach patients about their posture, body mechanics and how the body repairs itself via physical therapy.

·       The videos and information can be replayed or re-read a number of times by the patient to ensure they fully understand information. This avoids the problem of patients forgetting the instruction that they received during a time-limited in person

·       Some apps have video recording facilities enabling the patient to record their training so that the treatment provider can analyse normal versus abnormal movement patterns in activities such as walking and running.

·       The videos can also be used for research purposes to help evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Many apps have a therapy diary which can be updated as the patient trains. This helps the patient to keep a track of their training and also allows their therapist to ensure they are complying with training requirements. Additionally, if the patient is making good progress, the therapist can upgrade the treatment program electronically without the need for an in-person appointment.

·       Some apps use video games as part of the physical therapy training. The use of games makes training fun and motivates patients to take part.

·       The use of these apps also provides a time and cost saving benefit to both the treatment provider and the patient, making rehabilitation more accessible, cheaper and less time consuming.

Neurological therapy

Apps can also be used for providing patients with neurological rehabilitation programmes to follow at home to assist in their recovery.  Examples of online neurological rehabilitation therapy include:

·       Apps that are used to provide physical, visual and audible stimulation to patients requiring neural rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Again these apps can be monitored by neuro-therapists to monitor a patient’s progress and, if necessary, treatment programmes can be upgraded remotely.

·       Apps that are designed to assist brain-injured people in living their day-to-day lives, such as apps that allow patients to follow checklists when using public transport or doing chores such as shopping. Family members or friends can also log in to these apps to provide ideas or support to the patient remotely.

·       App users can talk to other patients with similar problems in online chat room sessions. This helps the patient to avoid feeling alone in their rehabilitation journey, reducing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.  A patient with a healthier outlook on life will be more receptive to treatment.

·       As with the physical therapy apps, these apps provide time and cost saving benefits to both the treatment provider and the patient.

Technology assisted physical training

There have been developments in technology assisted physical training, for example:

·       Anti-gravity treadmills are now available to assist with physical rehabilitation therapy and ambulation.
The benefit of these types of treadmills is that they greatly reduce the amount of weight placed on the patient’s lower body.  This reduces pain and pressure on bones and joints whilst exercising and working on their gait.

·       Underwater treadmills reduce pressure on bones and joints whilst also providing measured resistance which assists in recovery.
Many of these treadmills are fitted with underwater cameras which can help the treatment provider monitor gait and recovery and can also help to evaluate and treat people with movement impairments.

·       Exoskeleton suits are available now to assist people with walking disabilities.

Boyes Turner work closely with a network of healthcare professionals and specialist rehabilitation organisations, which enables us to ensure our clients receive early support and rehabilitative intervention, to assist them in rebuilding their lives after serious injury.  Our aim is to help our clients have the best chance of maximising their recovery and returning to a life that allows them to bring closure to what has happened to them and move on.

If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury due to no fault of their own and would like to discuss pursuing a possible claim for compensation and funding for rehabilitative treatment please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

The Rehabilitation Code 2015

When an individual suffers a personal injury one of their key concerns is how long it will take and what assistance they may need to achieve a full recovery. A slow recovery from a personal injury not only prolongs the pain but can also lead to psychological problems.

In many cases the injured person’s GP and hospital will provide advice and treatment to aid their recovery. However, NHS treatment may take a long time to receive, there may be cost restrictions on what assistance can be provided and the available NHS treatment may not fully provide for the injured person’s needs.

Recognising the need for injured persons to receive the correct rehabilitation advice, assistance and treatment, a number of specialist private organisations* formed a working party to find a solution to this problem. As a result of the working party’s efforts a Rehabilitation Code was published in 2007 and was revised in 2015.

The Rehabilitation Code states that its role:

“… is to restore the individual as much as possible to the position they were in before the accident.  The Code provides a framework for the claimant solicitor and compensator to work together to ensure that the claimant’s health, quality of life, independence and ability to work are restored …”

Description: The Rehabilitation Code 2015

The Rehabilitation Code is relied upon by Boyes Turner to ensure that defendants’ insurance companies do all they can to assist the injured claimant with their recovery as early as possible following an accident.

Our solicitors work with national rehabilitation providers, therapists and clinicians whose common goal is to ensure that clients receive the treatment, care and support they need to give them the best chance of regaining their independence and maximising their recovery to its fullest potential.

Rehabilitation can be far reaching and may not just involve medical treatment or therapy.

Many clients find that as a result of their injuries they can no longer do the job they used to do.  With the assistance of a vocational rehabilitation specialist, our clients have been able to identify new avenues of employment to help regain their sense of purpose. This might involve retraining or going back to further education according to the client’s needs.

Rehabilitation can include the provision of care, aids and equipment, mobility aids such as wheelchairs, adaptations to their home and vehicle. With the right help and support, an injured person can also return to the activities or sports they enjoyed before their accident.

Our network of specialist organisations and services enables us to ensure our clients receive the best possible treatment available to them, to increase their prospects of a making full recovery or returning to their pre-accident lifestyle, bringing closure and allowing them to move on.

Claire Roantree, Partner in the personal injury team at Boyes Turner, is dedicated to ensuring that rehabilitation plays a key part in the recovery of all of her clients who suffer serious or life changing injuries and says that,

“The severity of an injury should not necessarily determine an injured person’s long term outcome. With the right rehabilitation and support at the right time, an individual who has suffered a life changing injury has the potential to achieve new goals and live an independent life.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a personal injury and would like a free no obligation advice please call us on  0800 015 4613 or email PIClaims@boyesturner.com.

* The working party included representatives from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS).  Boyes Turner are members of both of these organisations as well as a number of other specialist organisations dedicated to assisting injured persons.

Neuro Rehabilitation training and networking day

On 6 October join Boyes Turner’s Claire Roantree and the Claims team for a free training day which will focus on improving the recovery and independence of brain injury survivors through effective rehabilitation. 

Talks will be

  • Head injury and disability; The clock starts ticking here…
    Dr Syed Masud, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Pre Hospital Emergency Medicine, Clinical Lead for Thames Valley Air Ambulance
  • The immediate care of critically injured head injury patients
    Dr Richard Stacey, Consultant Neuro Surgeon John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Rehabilitation – why, when and where
    Dr Hamid Sultan, Consultant Neurological Rehabilitation, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Circle Reading Hospital
  • Post traumatic growth after TBI (inc. a personal story from Headway Thames Valley)
    Dr Trevor Powell, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Timely interventions: getting it right and reducing stress and strain
    Monica Collings, Independent Social Worker, Decision Tree
  • Role of a Neuro Case Manager
    Debbie Eaton, Brain Injury Case Manager, Debbie Eaton Case Management
  • Treatment of vestibular problems after brain injury
    Sally de la Fontaine, Physiotherapist Milestones
  • SMART rehabilitation
    Doreen Tighe, Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist
  • Educational rehabilitation for brain injury survivors up to the age of 25
    Janata Ali, Special Educational Needs Specialist, Boyes Turner
  • The role of a Deputy
    Ruth Meyer, Partner, Head of Court of Protection, Boyes Turner

Lunch & refreshments provided

Be Head Aware with Cerebra this July!

What is Head Awareness Week?

This year Cerebra are holding a fundraising week, Head Awareness Week, to help support the charity being able to listen, work with and learn from families and children with neurological conditions, both genetic and acquired.

What is Cerebra?

Cerebra is a charity that works to improve the lives of children and young people with neurological conditions, through research, information and direct on-going support.

They offer:

  • Information and advice on a number of topics
  • Regional officers who can help with form filling and letters, meetings, specific local information and activities
  • Sleep service – giving advice and support to families on a wide range of sleep issues
  • Free postal lending library for books and sensory equipment
  • Innovation centre- which designs bespoke equipment to meet family’s needs
  • Workshops and events across the UK

Cerebra sponsor six world leading university research departments which:

  • Aim to understand the causes of cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems experienced by children with rare genetic disorders
  • Help families access their legal rights and entitlements to health and social care
  • Help allow doctors to define measures for early interventions that would improve babies life chances
  • Aim to be able to predict mums at risk of early delivery and prevent it from happening so that fewer babies need neonatal ICU care and do not suffer the complications of prematurity
  • Focus on the wellbeing of the child and their families
  • Involve families affected by childhood disability in their research to ensure topics are relevant and important to families

Why are Boyes Turner supporting Head Awareness Week?

As specialists in complex, high value, personal injury and medical negligence claims arising from birth injury and neonatal negligencebrain and spinal injuries, we have seen for ourselves the difficulties that families face when caring for a severely disabled child. It takes time, energy and dedication to support a child with neurological disability. The work involved is a labour of love that inevitably takes its toll on family life, work and leisure activities. 

Boyes Turner’s clinical negligence and personal injury solicitors have over 20 years experience of handling cases of the utmost severity and complexity. Our expert legal team is one of the highest rated in the country. We are specialists at recovering maximum value damages awards which make a genuine difference to our clients’ lives. Our uniquely integrated, multi-disciplinary legal team supports our client families far beyond the process of making a claim. We handle the paperwork and administration associated with Court of Protection deputyship, protecting and enhancing the benefit of our clients’ compensation, maximising access to grants and benefits and securing essential special educational needs support at the right school for the child.

Many families caring for neurologically disabled children are not entitled to compensation. Only a few will have cause for a claim. Cerebral palsy can occur without negligent medical treatment. Neurological injury can follow infection, congenital and genetic disorders, brain tumours, strokes and traumatic accidents. Whether or not the circumstances of the injury give rise to compensation, disabled families need to know that they can turn to someone for ongoing support, information and counselling.

Boyes Turner are proud to be panel members of Cerebra and increase our knowledge of such conditions by sponsoring meaningful, targeted research. At Boyes Turner we support Cerebra’s aims wholeheartedly and are proud to raise awareness of the charity’s invaluable work.

Follow Cerebra Here

Brain Injury Group


Brain Injury Group
The Court of Protection Team are now members of the Brain Injury Group. This is a national network of specialist brain injury lawyers and other experts that provide access to a complete package of care and support for people affected by brain injury.

Our Court of Protection Team represents clients affected by brain injury through both deputyship and trusts and our partnership with the brain injury group enhances the support we can give.

We are now on a panel of experts that can assist with many types of Court of Protection applications.  By being part of the Brain Injury Group we now also have access to the UK’s leading provider of independent mental capacity assessments as well as to a specialist independent financial adviser.

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