There are many situations where a claim can be made. As long as the accident was at least partly the fault of someone else you may be able to make a claim.
This simple guide gives you basic information regarding making a Personal Injury Claim.
We believe that the majority of people are still in the dark about how to go about making a claim for a personal injury. We set out to make sure that all our clients get access to justice. To help you we have put together a list of simple and easy to remember pointers that should help you if you ever need to claim compensation.
- Record as much information as you can at the scene of your accident.
- Take the details of any witnesses to your accident.
- Take photographs of your injuries and the scene of your accident.
- If the police attend the scene, make sure you take full details of the attending officer and the specific crime reference number.
- Was your accident on commercial property? If so you will need to find out if they have an accident book. Make sure your accident is recorded if possible.
- Make a note of the insurance details for the other parties involved in the accident if it was a car accident.
- Visit the hospital or your local GP as soon as possible following an accident.
- Keep a full record of any expenses you incur as a result of your accident and always obtain and keep all receipts.
- Always tell the truth. Do not be tempted to exaggerate your injuries or the seriousness of your accident. We will investigate your accident and your claim thoroughly.
Legal expenses insurance
Look at the terms of all of your insurance policies, whether on your home, its contents or any motor policy to see if you paid a premium for Legal Expenses Insurance. This type of Insurance might cover you for your legal costs. If you are not sure we can check this for you.
Comply fully with all your doctors’ instructions, especially those for rehabilitation therapy. Never miss a doctor’s appointment if you can help it as your medical records will chart the progress of your symptoms and will be available as part of your compensation claim.
Existing injuries and conditions
The defendant “takes the claimant as he finds him.” This means that you are entitled to recover damages for aggravation of a pre-existing condition and it does not matter that you may have been particularly susceptible to injury. For example, the defendant can not avoid responsibility for the full extent of your injury by contending that the impact that put you in the hospital wouldn’t have hurt a professional stuntman. But you cannot recover damages for injuries not caused or aggravated by the fault of the Defendant.
Surgery and future medical expense
If you will need surgery for treatment of the injury, it’s important, wherever possible to have it before you settle your case, not after. You will receive the beneficial effects of the surgery, and the settlement value of the claim will include the cost of medical treatment. If the surgery is not successful, your case is still open to claim for the added symptoms due to failure of surgery.
Inadvertent remarks, for example: “I never saw the other car before it hit me” can be used against you e.g. as evidence that you failed to keep a proper lookout. Be careful in the shock of having had an accident to say things that you are not sure of. If you do give statements request a copy for yourself if they are written down.
Even if you were partly at fault you can still recover damages so long as it was not all your fault. For example, assume that the Court determines that the defendant was 80% at fault, that you were 20% at fault, and that your claim totalled £100,000. The court will award you judgement of £80,000.
Elements of damages
An accident victim may claim damages for medical expenses, lost earnings and lost earning capacity, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement, all in the past and in the future.
In cases where a death has occurred, damages may be recovered for bereavement as well as monetary losses relating to the loss of any financial dependency on the person who has died.
Children and people with mental disabilities
Minors (persons under 18 years of age) and those under a disability lack the legal capacity to bring proceedings themselves. Such persons may be represented by a Litigation Friend in hiring a lawyer, bringing Court action and settling the claim.
The Litigation Friend is normally a parent or other relative. Settlement of these cases requires Court approval to ensure that the interests of the child or person under disability are protected.
After settlement or trial the defendant and his insurer will have no obligation to pay for your continuing medical expenses, so it’s important that your settlement is adequate.Once your case has been settled you will not be asked to refund any of the money if you make a sudden miraculous recovery. Conversely, the case can not be reopened no matter how much worse your condition later becomes.
The settlement in a personal injury case is not normally taxable.
The following types of accidents are those most commonly resulting in a claim for compensation:
Road Traffic Accidents
If you were involved in a road traffic accident, whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian you could be entitled to compensation.
It is compulsory for drivers of motor vehicles to have insurance to meet claims from people who have been injured by the insured person – including their own passengers. Even if you were a hit and run victim you can still claim compensation.
If you were injured in a road accident whilst a passenger you should always be entitled to compensation whoever was at fault e.g. the person driving or another motorist. A passenger may claim damages against the driver of the vehicle he or she was in, (even if a spouse or family member), or the driver of another vehicle or both, depending upon who was at fault.
Accidents at work
If you were injured at work you may be able to claim compensation, not just for your pain and suffering but also any financial losses such as loss of earnings.
The majority of people are unaware of the many Regulations employers have to comply with to ensure workers’ safety. These Regulations cover the safety of work equipment, correct training and safe working environments.
Breach of such Regulations can help prove your employer was negligent which is necessary for you to be entitled to compensation. Our specialist Lawyers will be able to advise you on these.
It is also compulsory that employers have adequate insurance in place to protect their workers for such accidents that may arise.
People are not always aware that claims can be made for disease caused by their work which can include asthma, deafness, asbestosis as well as many others. Some people come to us and the first question they ask is “But I may lose my job if I claim against my employer”. A reasonable employer should not dismiss you for making a claim for compensation. Even if this does occur you should be able to bring a separate claim in respect of unfair or wrongful dismissal. We have specialists in Employment Law who can advise in these cases.
Slip or trip
Slippery surfaces, loose or uneven flooring and potholes all have the potential to cause serious injuries, whether in the street, shop, office, workplace or in a private house.
You could be entitled to receive compensation from the person or body responsible for the place where you slipped or tripped. This might be the local Council if it was outside on the highway but it might be a private business or individual. Often the first problem is identifying those responsible for the area where you fell. Our specialist solicitors are used to getting to the answer quickly.
See a specialist personal injury lawyer
If you think that you may have a claim, contact our team of personal injury specialists for a completely free initial meeting, which can take place at one of our offices based in Leicester, Hinckley and Market Harborough; in the comfort of your home or even the hospital.