Personal injury and relationships: Caught in the crossfire
Posted by: Jonathan Bamforth, Minster Law.
As specialist Claimant personal injury lawyers we are always absolutely committed to ensuring that the needs of our clients are our main priority but we must never forget that others are often affected as a result of the accident that our client has been involved in.
At the most extreme level, it is well known that many relationships break down after a person has suffered a serious brain injury. In those types of cases our client may not remember their life before the accident and/or may be suffering from significant personality change or extreme variation of mood.
In the above circumstances, it is easy to see why holding a relationship together could be very difficult but it is also true that a breakdown of a relationship coming after already having suffered life changing injuries can be a huge further blow to anyone.
In this specific example we can play a very significant part in keeping a faltering relationship together.
It is important that our client’s partner doesn’t become his or her carer thus changing the relationship radically. The early involvement of a good case manager who can arrange treatment and carers/support workers to assist our client can minimise the changes that the partner has to make to his or her life. For instance, he or she can return to work and should not have to worry about what is happening at home. Our client’s partner maintaining as much of a ‘normal’ life as possible is often the key to a relationship surviving.
As stated, this is an extreme example but the same principle applies to many cases involving even quite modest injuries.
The sort of questions that will always arise when someone has an accident are things like:
- How are we going to pay the rent/mortgage?
- Who’s going to take the kids to school/football/ballet etc.?
- Is work going to keep me on?
- Am I going to be able to do the things that I did before the accident?
Whilst we can’t answer all these questions, providing sympathetic, sensible advice is often very helpful in itself.
An early interim payment to solve short term financial issues can be incredibly helpful as can ensuring that private treatment is arranged to enable a quicker return to fitness and work.
The effect on the client’s children in cases of moderate to serious injury is also something that we must be aware of.
It can be a particularly confusing time for young children who do not understand why mum or dad is in so much pain and/or is more grumpy/emotional/sad than before or why they can no longer do the things that they did together before the accident.
Whilst this is an area that we may not be able to help with directly it is important that we try to understand the myriad of effects that being involved in a serious accident can have on a client and his/her family.
In summary, we must not lose sight of some of the wider issues affecting our clients if we truly want to do the best we possibly can for them.