In order to fully investigate the value of a client’s claim, once the merits have been resolved, it is critical that the services of an occupational therapist be used. By way of example, we often act for clients who have suffered severe or serious orthopaedic injuries. These injuries could be in the form of fractured bones, of either the upper limbs or lower limbs.
An orthopaedic surgeon will assess the injury and advise of the diagnosis as well as the prognosis. In other words, the orthopaedic surgeon will indicate precisely what the nature and type of the injury is and then also indicate whether our client will require treatment in the future and if so what form that treatment will take.
The orthopaedic surgeon may also comment on the duration of a hospital stay if any, and use of medication into the future. However, it is the occupational therapist who will assess the patient and consider our client’s residual functional ability and/or disability and translate this into the patient’s day to day life. An occupational therapist is specially trained to interpret how and in what way the injury will affect our clients in their day to day living and workplace. Will a shoulder injury prevent our client from continuing to work in a warehouse because he cannot lift his arms above shoulder length or will it prevent a young woman from being employed in a sedentary position where there is no provision for changing of position or posture during the course of the day.
The occupational therapist will also comment on what assistance our clients would require at home, in the garden or at work. They would recommend certain assistive devices like for instance a shower stool or a long-handed loover or comment on mobility. The occupational therapist has the benefit of assessing the clients in their rooms and if necessary at our clients’ homes to determine precisely what their needs would be.
Occupational therapists form an integral link in the medico-legal process and their report together with the report of an orthopaedic surgeon (or neurosurgeon as the case may be if it is a spinal injury) would then be relied on assessing our clients’ loss of earnings and earning capacity which often forms the largest cash component of any claim.
Malcolm Lyons & Brivik Incorporated work closely with various occupational therapists to ensure the success of our client’s claims.