Accidents can change clients’ lives

According to the University of Southampton\'s clinical neurosciences division, traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and long-term disability worldwide. In the UK alone, around one million people every year go to hospital with head injuries.

Brain and head injuries can happen to anyone. The main cause are road accidents but they can also be the result of assault, falls, strokes or brain haemorrhages. Many people who suffer a TBI see their lives changed instantly.

There’s no doubt that brain injuries are devastating for the victims but, as with many critical or debilitating illnesses, they can also have a terrible effect on friends and family.

A recent BBC1 drama called Recovery highlighted the plight of a road accident victim who suffered a TBI. According to real-life sufferers, it gave an accurate portrayal of his treatment, rehabilitation and the impact on his social and family life. However, my question is – did it go far enough? We saw a lot about the emotional pain but not enough about the financial impact.

Recovery from TBI can take years of rehabilitation. Even then victims may not be able to work. In many cases people need physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy. In severe cases they might even need permanent care. Often this will be provided by the family.

They often need financial as well as emotional support – especially if the carer has had to give up work to look after a partner or family member.

Who pays for alterations to the family home? For rails or lifts? For new drugs or extra transport costs? Without financial protection, how could they cope?

There are some aspects of health over which clients feel they have some control. If they have a healthy diet and take regular exercise they should be less likely to have heart attacks. But accidents can and do happen.

At the end of Recovery, we saw that the main characters had to move house. As advisers, you have a pivotal role to play in getting the message across that families can protect themselves financially. Wouldn’t it be better to be able to focus on what’s really important – picking up the pieces without worrying about mortgage payments?

It only takes a split second to have a life-changing accident. But clients’ best defence is the split second it takes to take out a protection plan.