After reading a published letter from APIL in his local newspaper, a man with life-changing injuries contacted the APIL office to share his story.
The man, Peter, had both his legs crushed in a road crash while he was on duty for the emergency services. A member of the public affairs team went to visit and was told about how the lives of Peter and his wife Christine* had changed forever.
Christine told a heart-rending story about what it was like for her in the days and weeks following her husband’s injury. Peter was in a coma at a specialist unit 30 miles away from their home. He held all the access to couple’s bank accounts and was the household’s main earner. She worked a zero-hours contract. When her pay stopped immediately because she was travelling to be at her husband’s side, she found herself borrowing from friends to pay for her train and bus fares to get to him. She did not understand some of the medical terminology being used, was distressed, confused, and felt very alone.
But not everyone seeks legal help immediately. Not everyone knows that they should. And not everyone has the legal route as an option for helping them get back to some kind of normality. Not all injuries are because of negligence.
The key benefit of advertising personal injury services in hospitals was that it often acted as a signpost for the people who needed help – relatives like Christine. NHS England announced in 2018 that its hospitals will no longer provide office or advertising space for “law firms or claims management companies who encourage patients or their families to take the NHS to court”. Lawyers do not just advise on compensation claims, though. They can help with matters such as benefit entitlement and establishing lasting power of attorney.
This is why we have established the Severe Injury Help Hub. It is an online directory of resources to help with issues such as paying the mortgage, accessing bank accounts, finding support, and finding an experienced, accredited lawyer. In this modern age, more of us turn to Google for answers when we’re stuck. This is an important service for injured people and their families and, to help make this resource as visible as possible to them, I am asking you to share links to the Severe Injury Help Hub on your social media channels. Also, we want to hear from people with experience of serious injuries who can tell us what the page needs. We will keep it under constant review and in circulation so that, hopefully, the right people will find it when they need it.
Find the Severe Injury Help Hub at: https://apil.org.uk/severe-injury-help-hub
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*names have been changed.