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Hypoxic brain injury

For anyone who suffers a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, the impact on their life – and the lives of their family and friends too – can be profound. When there’s a total or partial loss of oxygen to the brain, the effects can be wide-ranging. Sometimes, these effects can be life changing.

A different kind of law firm

Your brain is a complex organ, but it’s fundamental to how your body functions both physically and emotionally. While a brain is around 2% of an adult’s total body weight, it uses 20% of the body’s oxygen supply. What happens when your brain loses oxygen can range from short-term symptoms to severe issues that can leave a person completely dependent on others for care.

If you or a loved one suffers a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or actions, you could claim compensation. At Shoosmiths, we’re here to help. Not only can our skilled solicitors offer legal assistance, but we also provide practical and emotional support too.

Hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries explained

While the terms can often be interchanged and both relate to the deprivation of oxygen to the brain in some capacity, hypoxic brain injuries are slightly different to anoxic brain injuries. It’s not uncommon, as brain injury association Headway describes, for both to be referred to as an anoxic brain injury or cerebral anoxia – unless a clear distinction is needed.

Shoosmiths the hypoxic brain injury experts

  • How can Shoosmiths help me make a claim?

    When making a claim, you must be able to prove that a hypoxic/anoxic brain injury is the result of someone else’s actions. This can be the toughest part of any claim. So, that’s why it’s crucial to enlist the help of solicitors with the skills, understanding and experience of dealing with brain injury claims. With more than 165 years of supporting our clients, Shoosmiths is here for you.

    Our team is committed to providing you with the best possible advice to support your claim. We know how difficult and upsetting it can be to cope with the life-changing impact of hypoxic brain damage – whether it’s you or a loved one who has suffered that injury.

    At Shoosmiths, we’re here to fight your corner and our team of solicitors are always sensitive to your needs. You don’t even need to worry about getting to one of our offices. We’ll come to you at home or in hospital, taking you through the process one step at a time at your own pace.

    We don’t just offer the legal assistance you need to build a strong, successful claim either. We’ll also provide you with emotional and practical support to help your family rebuild. If you find the impact of hypoxic brain damage is causing financial strain, we can help you with this too.

  • Why should I make a hypoxic brain injury claim?

    It’s understandable to think claiming for compensation could be a long, drawn-out and draining experience for you and your family. The first priority is, of course, making as full and as speedy a recovery as possible from a hypoxic and anoxic brain injury.

    But it’s often the case that claiming the compensation that you’re entitled to when that hypoxic brain injury isn’t your fault can provide a great deal of financial and emotional relief. It can help you access the specialist rehabilitation and therapy you need to enjoy the best quality of life.

    It can be especially helpful if the long-term impact of a brain injury isn’t known straight away.

Why should you choose Shoosmiths?

We have been helping our clients get the expert legal advice they need for more than 165 years. And we’re committed to giving you that same quality of service too.

We’re also recognised as leading legal experts in supporting brain injury claims:

How can Shoosmiths help you?

Not only does our team appreciate the full impact of a brain injury, it also offers comprehensive legal expertise to help your claim for head injury compensation. We’ll be with you from start to end and beyond – securing the medical, financial and practical help you need.

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Hypoxic brain injury experts

Our skilled team of specialist lawyers want to speak to you today for free

Chris  McKinney

Chris McKinney

Partner - Personal injury

Brain injury

Chris will come to your home or hospital. He specialises in brain injury and has won several multi-million pound claims for clients. Call Chris today.

Denise Stephens

Denise Stephens

Partner - Medical negligence

Cerebral palsy

Denise is a passionate, highly skilled medical negligence lawyer with a heart of gold. She cares genuinely about getting you justice so tell Denise your story.

Hypoxic brain injury FAQs

  • Can I claim compensation for a hypoxic brain injury
    It can be hard to come to terms with the life-changing impact of a hypoxic/anoxic brain injury, whether it happens to you or a loved one. It can be especially distressing if the injury was the fault of someone else’s negligence, lack of attention or even deliberate actions. There is hope, however. If you can prove that someone else was at fault for your – or your loved one’s – hypoxic brain injury, you can make a claim for compensation. And Shoosmiths is here to help, offering the specialist brain injury lawyers and the legal expertise you need to make a successful claim. The claim process can be complicated and will need to determine the full, long-term effect of a hypoxic brain injury on you and your family. But we’re committed to providing you with expert care and guidance throughout that process – and help you rebuild for the best possible future.
  • How are hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries diagnosed
    It can be relatively straightforward to diagnose a hypoxic and anoxic brain injury if the cause is clear and obvious. But there are some cases, like with traumatic brain injuries, where you can’t make an easy diagnosis. If someone is exhibiting hypoxia symptoms, tests and neurological scans can help to confirm if there’s a hypoxic brain injury – particularly in instances of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in newborn infants. Tests can include CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds. It’s essential that medical staff act quickly if a baby has suffered a lack of oxygen during birth for whatever reason or if a baby is showing symptoms of a hypoxic brain injury.
  • How does cerebral hypoxia or anoxia affect the brain
    The effects of cerebral hypoxia or anoxia on a person’s brain can be felt in many different ways. The extent and duration of the oxygen deprivation are key factors in this, along with the age of the person. According to Headway, “people under the age of 50 years tend to do better in terms of long-term recovery”, but older people can still benefit from recovery programmes too. While the body does try and react to cerebral hypoxia or anoxia by increasing blood flow to the brain, it can only do this to about twice the normal level. If this reaction doesn’t restore oxygen levels to a high enough level, the brain will start to be affected. This can range from mild, short-term conditions lasting a few hours to severe, long-term issues impacting mobility and senses. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and the blood that carries it. If it doesn’t get it, a few minutes is all it takes before hypoxic brain damage starts to occur.
  • What are the signs and symptoms of hypoxia
    In a lot of cases, cerebral hypoxia symptoms start to show almost straight away. This is most likely to be when the cause is something obvious like an accident or a medical emergency. Early signs of hypoxia can include symptoms such as increased heart rate, tingling in hands or feet due to reduced circulation or feeling light-headed. Mild cerebral hypoxia can also cause: − Confusion or dizziness − Sight issues − Sweating − Difficulties concentrating − Lack of attention Symptoms of a lack of oxygen to the brain where the brain hypoxia is more severe can include: − Drowsiness/inability to stay awake − The skin, lips or fingers/toes turning blue, also known as cyanosis − Seizures/involuntary twitches In the most serious instances of cerebral hypoxia, a person can lose consciousness. The length of time a person is unconscious for can indicate the scale of hypoxic brain damage suffered.
  • What are the long-term effects of cerebral hypoxia or anoxia
    The long-term impact of cerebral hypoxia/anoxia depends on the amount of permanent damage to the brain. The amount of damage to certain parts of the brain is also a factor. This is because some are more sensitive to the effects of oxygen deprivation than others. − Cerebellum: Hypoxic/anoxic brain damage to this part of the brain can impact balance, co-ordination and movement. − Frontal lobe(s): Injuries to this part of the brain can affect behaviour, personality and mood. − Occipital lobe(s): This part is responsible for sight and can be especially vulnerable to the effects of cerebral hypoxia/anoxia. − Hippocampus: Part of the limbic lobe, hypoxic/anoxic brain damage to this part of the brain can cause memory loss/difficulties or learning difficulties. If the supply of oxygen to the brain is disrupted, it can also lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. A hypoxic brain injury suffered as the result of birth asphyxia can also be a possible cause of cerebral palsy in babies. In the worst cases, hypoxia can lead to brain death.
  • Who can I claim against

    If you or a loved one has suffered a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury and you can show that another person or organisation was partly or fully responsible, you can make a claim against them. That could be the result of negligence, lack of attention or even a malicious act.

    • Workplace accident: If the hypoxic brain injury is the result of an accident at work, it’s likely the claim will be made against your employer or maybe an independent contractor.
    • Car accident: Should you or a loved one sustain a hypoxic brain injury as the result of a car accident, you can make a claim against the driver of the car that injured you.
    • Public liability: You can claim against local authorities or property owners/occupiers if a hypoxic/anoxic brain injury is caused by an accident on the street or private premises.
    • Criminal act: In the event that a hypoxic brain injury has been caused by an assault (or other criminal act), claims can be made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.


    It’s an unfortunate reality that some hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries are the result of medical negligence too. Such injuries can occur if a newborn child is deprived of oxygen during birth or if a person of any age is undergoing surgery/a medical procedure and something goes wrong.

    In such cases, a claim can be made against the NHS Trust or other organisation responsible for running the hospital – provided it can be proven that medical staff were negligent.

What to do next

We can advise you where you stand and what your options are so that you can make informed choices based on expert legal advice. We have many years’ experience of dealing with different types of brain injury claims so understand and can explain both the law and the practicalities that you may be facing for the first time. Getting in touch for an initial discussion will not cost you a penny.

Call us on 0370 086 8687 or message us.

The choice is yours.

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Who we work with

  • Brain Injury Group
  • Child Brain Injury Trust
  • Headway
  • SIA
  • Back Up
  • Macmillan
  • Danielles Flutterbyes
  • Forces
  • Bens Heroes Trust

Our accreditations

  • Accredited Personal Injury
  • Apil
  • Ama
  • Clinical Negligence
  • Legal 500
  • UK Chambers
  • The Society Of Clinical Injury Lawyers