Savvy Library

Are brain injuries covered by disability discrimination laws?

Disability discrimination in the UK is illegal under the Equality Act 2010. This Act sets out a list of ‘protected characteristics’ including disability and makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of those characteristics in situations such as employment, education and transport.

A brain injury may qualify as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, depending on the impact it has on the life of the person with the brain injury. A brain injury can be sustained in a variety of different ways, all of which can affect someone’s day to day life. Those looking for justice after suffering an injury at another’s hand or due to another’s negligence may wish to get in touch with a brain injury lawyer to look at ways in which they, the victim, can be assisted, legally speaking.

Under the Act, someone is considered to have a disability if they have “a physical or mental impairment” that “has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [their] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

Whether a brain injury qualifies as a disability therefore depends on the extent to which the injury is affecting your daily life.

When might a brain injury be considered a disability?

For your brain injury to be classed as a disability, it does not necessarily need to stop you carrying out normal daily tasks, it merely has to make those tasks significantly more difficult.

Examples of the types of day-to-day tasks a disability might make more challenging include:

  • Walking
  • Driving
  • Washing
  • Dressing yourself
  • Cooking & eating
  • Communication (including talking, hearing & writing)

Every day tasks can be incredibly difficult. Things like going shopping can often be exhausting when you are having to deal with a brain injury as well. For starters, if your brain injury means that you cannot walk, then you will find that unless a shop has Handicap Door Openers, it might be impossible to go shopping.

These are all just things that can make your life a lot harder with a brain injury. So if you know someone who is struggling with a brain injury then it’s not something that can be taken lightly. Make sure you are there for them if needs be.

The effects of your brain injury will need to last for a year or more to be covered by the Equality Act.

If there is a dispute over whether someone can be considered disabled, it may be necessary to go to court to receive a decision.

How does the Equalities Act protect people with disabilities?

The Equalities Act makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people (except under certain exceptional circumstances) in relation to work, education and access to various other services. This means that, for example, an employer could not refuse to hire or promote someone solely due to them having a disability.

There are three main types of discrimination from which the Act protects disabled people:

Direct discrimination – Where you are treated worse than someone else due to your disability e.g. not being offered a job because of your disability.

Indirect discrimination – Where requirements that apply equally to disabled and non-disabled people put you at a disadvantage e.g. an employer not allowing flexibility around breaks, which could be a disadvantage for someone with a brain injury who needs to take regular short breaks to manage their potential to become fatigued.

Discrimination arising from disability – Where you are treated worse due to something connected to your disability e.g. being disciplined due to an emotional outburst which is connected to issues controlling your emotions following a brain injury.

Employers, educational establishments and service providers are required to make reasonable adjustments where necessary to avoid placing disabled people at a disadvantage. Examples of making reasonable adjustments might include installing a ramp, widening doors or fitting automatic door openers to help make a building accessible.

Get the support you need for living with a brain injury

If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury, claiming compensation is often critical to ensure you have all the help and support necessary to deal with any challenges resulting from the injury.

Where your brain injury was caused or made worse by another person’s fault or deliberate action, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. This can pay for rehabilitation support and care workers, replace lost income and cover other essential costs.

Furthermore, disability insurance protects you financially if injury or illness limits your ability to work. Also known as disability income insurance and disability income protection, this coverage can pay a portion of your income while you are disabled.

These types of claims can be complicated and intimidating, so it is essential to get legal advice from a lawyer specialising in head injury claims to ensure you have the best chance of securing fair compensation.