Occupational Therapy in Life-Changing Injury Compensation Claims
At Anthony Gold, we represent people who have been involved in very serious accidents in which they have often suffered life-changing injuries. The claims we deal with for these clients will invariably run for many years and for us, it is not just about getting our clients compensation for their very serious injuries and associated financial losses. It is also about going on a long and daunting process of rehabilitation with them and trying to help them get their lives back to as close as what they were before their accident occurred.
We place a great amount of emphasis on the rehabilitation process at Anthony Gold. In most cases, we will obtain an Immediate Needs Assessment (INA) very early on in the process, whereby a rehab case manager will go to visit our clients at home or sometimes even whilst they are still in hospital with a view to assessing their most pressing rehabilitation needs. The case manager will then set those needs out in a detailed INA report and we will then ask the insurers to fund rehabilitation to expedite our client’s recovery.
It is in their best interest to do so, as an injured claimant is compensated for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity suffered caused by an accident and for any resulting loss of earnings and/or need for support with daily living activities. As such, if any disability is prolonged due to a lack of rehabilitation input, the overall value of the claim increases. This therefore means that, if an insurer engages in rehabilitation by funding this privately early on, there is a good chance of not only the client making a quicker recovery than they otherwise would have done, but this will also reduce the financial pay-out that insurers face having to make in the longer term. This is therefore a very positive scenario for all concerned and a reasonable insurer will usually engage with rehabilitation at a very early stage of the claim.
A very common component of the rehabilitation process is occupational therapy. When discussing this with clients, there is a common misconception that this has something to do with work, due to the word “occupational”. However, in the context of rehabilitation, this simply means getting an injured client back to doing all the everyday things that they used to do or would like to be able to do in spite of their injuries and physical limitations.
The most common form of therapy after a serious accident is physiotherapy, but rehab case managers will usually recommend occupational therapy in cases whereby the client has suffered life-changing injuries. So extensive is the range of therapies that fall under the occupational therapy umbrella, that this is usually overseen and facilitated by a rehab case manager. We engage some of the best occupational therapists who will work with our clients over a prolonged period of time with a view to helping them learn to undertake day to day tasks in a new way to accommodate their physical limitations and we have found that, over time, our clients form a very close bond with their occupational therapist and see them as a vital source of support in their rehabilitation.
And whilst an occupational therapist does not deal only with matters relating to our client’s employment, helping them to get back to work does form a major part of the assistance that they are able to provide our clients with. One of the main goals our clients usually have when we first meet them following an accident is to get back to work as soon as possible, particularly in cases where clients are not paid if they are not working. Occupational therapy can therefore play a huge role in facilitating a return to work.
Whilst we work closely with occupational therapists in a case management capacity, with a view to assisting our clients with their overall recovery, we also have several very experienced occupational therapy medico-legal experts from whom we regularly obtain expert reports as part of the claims process. These specialists cannot be a part of the rehabilitation team, as their main role as a medico-legal expert is to report to the Court and provide unbiased opinion in doing so, but these experts are able to make recommendations which can then be implemented by the therapy providers.
Engagement with the process
In order to achieve maximum results with occupational therapy, it goes without saying that our clients have to fully engage with the process and in our experience, such is the desire on their part to get back to some semblance of normality following a life-changing accident, that this rarely proves to be a barrier.
Whilst the ultimate goal of making a claim for compensation for very serious injuries suffered in an accident is to secure a compensation payment, the claims process is not just about getting from A to Z in the quickest time possible. There is a lot of help that we can get for our clients throughout the process and occupational therapy is often a significant component of this. We have seen some incredible results when our clients have engaged with occupational therapy, and we will continue to champion the involvement of an occupational therapist as early in the claims process as possible as we help our clients get their lives back on track after suffering life-changing injuries.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*