How we helped Anna
When Anna sustained a serious head injury as a result of an accident at work, she decided to claim for compensation. Anna’s team at JCP Solicitors worked relentlessly towards a fair outcome, and four and a half years later, a full settlement was reached. Anna received significant compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, with expenses paid for private care, treatment and past and future loss of earnings.
Anna continues to receive support from the Deputy Legal team and her Professional Deputy at JCP Solicitors.
Ongoing Medical Treatment
In the years since the settlement was reached, Anna has had to adjust to the physical and emotional restrictions that have resulted from her injuries. The journey has been challenging, with its share of highs and lows.
After her accident, tiredness and a lack of concentration made paid employment extremely difficult for Anna, and it soon became apparent that voluntary work, with fewer pressures and a more flexible routine would be a more suitable option. Anna’s employment as a volunteer was a positive step forward, but she wasn’t well suited to the role. Becoming increasingly frustrated, she decided to give it up.
This change in circumstances set Anna on a downwards spiral. Her Deputy saw that things were taking a turn for the worse and arranged an assessment and a subsequent course of treatment with a new neuropsychologist.
Anna had had previous treatment from a neuropsychologist following her injury, but the relationship had run its course. At this point in her recovery, a different approach was needed. Over five months, Anna worked through her problems, emerging at the end of the therapy with a more positive outlook.
Anna at Work
Over the course of her treatment Anna came to realise that although a salary would have been useful, what she really needed from a job was the self worth that comes with doing something meaningful.
Anna returned to voluntary work with a Charity, working three mornings a week. The routine and a sociable environment was good for her and Anna felt well qualified to do the work, which was similar to the admin roles she’d had before her accident.
Anna is a sociable person, and it’s important for her to be surrounded by people; without her voluntary work, Anna would have been at risk of becoming isolated. Her role is vital in giving her life a focus.
Anna’s life at work isn’t without its challenges. As a result of her head injury, there are times when she’s too tired to work. Another symptom of her head injury is a tendency to overdo things. Anna finds it difficult to recognise her limitations and to learn from past experiences, when doing too much has led to a break down. Her voluntary role gives her the flexibility and support she needs to cope with the situation. There’s always someone in the office to provide cover should she need it.
Anna’s head injury left her vulnerable, and her ability to make independent decisions regarding her finances was severely compromised. As a result, an order was made from the Court of Protection appointing a Professional Deputy to manage her finances.
As a supplement to her benefit entitlement, Anna receives a regular living allowance from her compensation payment and her living costs are carefully managed by her Professional Deputy. Carefully managing Anna’s finances in this way ensures that her funds will last her lifetime.
Over the years, Anna and her team have learnt that small, regular twice weekly payments are the best way to control her finances. JCP Solicitors employ Deputy Assistants who work closely with the Professional Deputy to manage the day-to-day finances, setting up direct debits and settling bills.
When she’s going through a rough patch, Anna has a tendency to overspend. Whilst these episodes are becoming less frequent, Anna and her team accept that as a consequence of her head injury, they are likely to happen from time-to-time. The ability to accept this and move on is central to the success of the team.
“I live on a tight budget. It is restrictive, but I also know what would happen if I did look after my own money.”
Finances – The Bigger Picture
Anna’s budget is tight, but she owns her own house, which she bought from her settlement money. The decision to buy a house she liked in a good area to ensure a good quality of life was balanced against restrictions that would have to be applied to her day-to-day spending.
As well as managing her assets, Anna’s Professional Deputy works with the help of an independent financial advisor to ensure the best possible return on her investments. When unexpected costs arise, Anna’s team works behind the scenes to access funds with the least impact to her investments.
As time goes on, Anna and her team are better able to predict what will be spent within a given year, and managing her finances becomes more efficient.
Anna & Her Team
Anna has a strong relationship with her Professional Deputy, who she’s known since she filed her compensation claim. They’re regularly in touch, and Anna knows she can make contact whenever she feels in need of advice or support. Anna sees that her continued success is at least in part down to her support network; “we all have to pull together to make it work,” she says.
Official review meetings take place every few months to take stock of recent expenditure and plan for any additional support that might be required. Anna’s Professional Deputy also meets with an Independent Financial Advisor on Anna’s behalf at least twice a year.
Anna’s case manager also drops in for regular reviews to keep track of progress, and occasionally, extra support is drafted in. Anna recognises the importance of getting help from the right people at the right time:
“ It’s good to have people who drop in and out, so you don’t become dependent on them. We’ve learnt over the years that a fresh perspective is always good.”
What if Anna Hadn’t Made a Claim?
Without compensation, Anna would almost certainly have entered into a destructive cycle of hopping from job to job. Alcohol and drug dependency are common problems for people who have suffered head injury and they come to rely on the wrong people.
Victims of serious head injury can be extremely vulnerable. Receiving what can be a large sum of money without an accompanying support network can be dangerous. Anna recalls the reactions of some of her friends following the settlement of her case:
“ Friends thought that as I’d had a claim I’d got tons of money; everyone wanted to be my friend. It was tempting to live a fantasy life - to go along with their expectations. If it wasn’t tied up, it would have been gone.”
Support from a professional network ensures that Anna’s settlement will last throughout her life.
A Positive Outlook
Anna’s role at the Charity has been a major factor in her happiness. She’s also been involved in setting up a social group; a weekly meeting for people new to the area, or who have experienced challenges in their personal lives.
Anna’s made real friends within the group, who meet at weekends for long walks or a coffee. The social group is an extended and mutual support network, and Anna admits she doesn’t know where she’d be without it.
Crucially, these friends take her for who she is now, rather than comparing her to how she was before the accident:
“ For years the head injury defined who I was; defined my life. I used to feel like I was Anna with a head injury. Now I feel like I’m just Anna.”
Growing in confidence, Anna continues to attend monthly meetings of a local head injury charity, where she has the opportunity to offer support, sharing her experiences with others facing similar challenges. Anna and her team accept there will always be “blips”, but as a result of all the support she’s received, Anna feels positive, happy, and confident that she can cope with any challenges that lie ahead.