An Immediate Needs Assessment is a vital tool which, in the early stages of a claim, assists a personal injury solicitor in identifying the medical, domestic and occupational needs of a seriously injured client.
The assessment will be carried out by a medical or rehabilitation professional, who often has a background in nursing, physiotherapy or occupational therapy. They are usually referred to as a Case Manager. The choice of Case Manager will depend upon the nature of a client’s injuries.
The Case Manager will usually visit the client’s home to carry out an assessment, even if the client is still in hospital. They will, where possible, speak to the client, their family and the treating medical professionals. A report will be then prepared detailing the client’s medical, care and equipment requirements, with detailed costings. This should enable the solicitor to arrange appropriate interim funding to provide for these requirements.
There will usually be a requirement for case management, often by the Case Manager. They will speak to and/or visit the client and their family and the treating professionals on a regular basis to assess the client’s progress and their need for any further treatment, care or equipment.
Solicitors, insurance companies and case managers usually follow the Rehabilitation Code 2007, the introduction to which states:
“The aim of this code is to promote the use of rehabilitation and early intervention in the compensation process so that the injured person makes the best and quickest possible medical, social and psychological recovery. This objective applies whatever the severity of the injuries sustained by the claimant. The Code is designed to ensure that the claimant’s need for rehabilitation is assessed and addressed as a priority, and that the process of so doing is pursued on a collaborative basis by the claimant’s lawyer and the compensator.
Therefore, in every case, where rehabilitation is likely to be of benefit, the earliest possible notification to the compensator of the claim and of the need for rehabilitation will be expected.”
In most cases, seriously injured clients will be unable to return immediately to paid employment. As their rehabilitation progresses, the Case Manager will form part of the process of assessing a client’s ability to return to their pre-accident employment. If that is a possibility, they will often liaise with the employer over such requirements as working hours, equipment requirements, adaptations and training/re-training.
The need for a Case Manager and the length of their involvement in a case depends entirely upon the extent of the injuries sustained by a client, the speed and extent of their rehabilitation and, of course, whether the client wishes to have the continued involvement of such a third party. No one is going to impose a Case Manager on a client and occasionally they decide that whatever the best intentions of the Case Manager, they would rather not have such an intrusion in their life.