Millions of people are injured each year through accidents that were not their fault. Find out whether you could claim for personal injury, how a personal injury claim works, and what you can expect to achieve.
What is personal injury?
A personal injury could be either a physical or psychological injury that is caused by someone else. As long as your injury was not your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation. Even if this injury is not somebody’s direct responsibility, it’s possible to make a claim if there has been negligence, either on the part of an individual or a company.
The repercussions of an injury can be financial difficulty, a need for rehabilitation, trauma and other significant life changes. This is why a personal injury claim may be pursued, and is something that solicitors can proceed with to ensure fair compensation.
Two common misconceptions about personal injury claims:
- Some think that if an injury has resolved, they are no longer able to claim. This is not the case. If you have suffered for 3 – 4 weeks, this could justify an award.
- Some think that personal injury claims are simply about financial gain. For many, making a personal injury claim is their only way of continuing day-to-day life. You may be out of pocket because of sick leave, or struggling to get access to continuing care.
What types of injuries fall under personal injury?
An injury can occur at any time and in any location. It could be at work, in a public place, or even at home. Common cases of personal injury include:
- Accidents at work
- Accidents in public places
- Road traffic accidents
- Beauty and cosmetic procedure injuries
- Brain injuries
- Personal injury through defective products
- Injuries under the military
- Accidents on holiday
Injuries resulting from accidents on the road are one of the most common types of personal injury claims. Road traffic accident claims are often for minor injuries such as whiplash, but can also be far more serious.
Accidents at work are also a frequent cause of personal injury, with figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stating that nearly 80,000 reportable injuries occur at work each year. Work-related injuries could range from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and back problems, to falls from height or incidents involving dangerous machinery.
How would a personal injury claim work?
To begin with, you will need to explain what has happened to you to a legal expert. Once you have discussed your case and collected all the relevant evidence that you have, your solicitor will formally notify the person or company that is being held responsible for your injury.
The responsible party will then need to respond. If they accept liability (fault), medical evidence will be obtained in respect of the injuries you have suffered so that your solicitor may advise you on the value of your case. Your settlement will then be negotiated with the responsible party. In circumstances whereby agreement cannot be reached, court proceedings may considered.
To ensure that the solicitor can put your case forward effectively, there will be some information that you must provide. This will vary depending on your circumstances, but generally, they will need to know:
- The date and time of the accident
- Details of the person or company considered responsible
- Where the incident occurred
- What injuries you suffered
- Any medical advice or treatment that you have had since
- Whether or not it has already been reported to the party at fault
- Any documentation held in support of the claim e.g. photographs, correspondence, receipts, reports
This evidence will all help to build your case with the purpose of a successful compensation claim.
What are the costs of making a claim?
We operate on a ‘No win, No fee’ basis and there are no upfront costs for making a claim. If you are unsuccessful there will be no cost to you and if you are successful you will receive at least 75% of the compensation awarded.
How long do I have to make a claim?
If you’re looking to make a claim, you have three years from the date of the injury, or from the date of knowledge that your injury was potentially caused by another party’s negligence. However, if you were under 18 years of age at the time, you have three years from your 18th birthday.
An exception to the rule is where the claimant is a ‘protected party’. This is a person who lacks the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. Where the capacity never returns, there is no time limit for bringing a claim. However, if at some point the claimant regains capacity, there will be a time limit of three years from that date.
What are the benefits of a successful claim?
If you have a successful personal injury claim, the compensation will take into account a number of factors:
- Your loss of earnings, this could include overtime and bonus payments
- Spending that has been directly incurred because of your injury
- Treatment costs
- Costs of external help, such as carers, as a result of your injury
- The cost of holidays or other expenditures that you have been unable to enjoy because of your injury
- Products that have purchased to assist in your recovery