I have just returned from a very informative and enjoyable two days at the APIL advanced brain and spinal cord injury conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. It was great to catch up with many other solicitors handling complex high value claims. There were some fantastic speakers, covering a wide range of highly interesting and absorbing topics.
On the medical side, Munchi Choksey, gave a hugely interesting talk on the current developments in neurological scanning. This talk highlighted the important role neuro-radiologists will play in advising on what damage to the brain is revealed by scans.
This was followed by a similarly interesting talk from Dr Richard Sylvester, Consultant Neurologist, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Dr Sylvester explained exciting developments in tests to identify bio-markers, which evidence the presence of injury to the brain. There was a topical discussion about the impact of repeated concussions, especially as it relates to certain sports. The discussion on causation and the long term effects of mild traumatic brain injuries was particularly interesting. It will be interesting to see how these the approaches taken by sports club and the club doctors.
In the afternoon on day one, there was a quick fire update from a number of solicitors covering: assisted capacity, interim payment applications, court of protection, personal injury trusts, medical and technological advances, and effective case management. Some very stimulating and informative discussions. The day end with a panel session, which included Grahame Aldous QC, 9 Gough Square, who gave an excellent summary of ensuring you get your evidence right.
Day two of the conference began with some excellent talks. Professor Victoria Wass, a labour economist from Cardiff Business School. Professor Wass highlighted the dangers to individuals claiming compensation in high value cases in not achieving full compensation due to changes in the discount rate. The talk also touched on disability reduction factors and how this impacted on damages.
Next was a most helpful talk from James Rowley QC, Byrom Street Chambers, who provided a summary of the approaches taken by judges when determining awards in high value cases. The summaries covered approaches for damages relating to: accommodation needs; the provision of aids and equipment; care requirements, including day and night time provision; the benefits of swimming pools and hydrotherapy; motor vehicles; and holidays.
Dr Ivan Pitman, Clinical Lead and Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist then delivered a very thought provoking talk on the vulnerabilities and adverse lifestyle factors in the head injured community. This was followed by talk from Mark Holt from Frenkel Topping on the impact of the impact assessments and periodical payment orders.
A very interesting and extremely useful conference. Well worth the two days away from the office!