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Personal Injury 101

What is a Personal Injury Claim?

A personal injury claim is the process an individual goes through to claim compensation for an accident which caused an injury through no fault of their own.

There are two main forms of personal injury including negligence (where the defendant is legally liable for the injury caused), and contributory negligence (where the defendant accepts some responsibility for the injuries but also claims the injured party was also responsible).

Personal injuries cover any form of incidence when the injury was caused but not your fault; for example: road accidents, medical negligence, defective product claims and accidents at work.

Who can make a Personal Injury claim?

  • Anyone is able to make a personal injury claim if they were injured or suffered an accident which wasn’t their fault.
  • If the injured party is under the age of 18, incapacitated the court may appoint a litigation friend to act on their behalf.
  • If an individual has died a claim may be made on their behalf by their dependents or a personal representative

What type of injuries can be claimed for?

  • Road/Traffic Accidents
  • Slips,Trips and Falls
  • Accident/Injury at Work- Including work related deafness
  • Medical Negligence
  • Defective Product Claims
  • Head Injuries
  • Accidents Abroad/Whilst on Holiday
  • Criminal Injuries
  • Spinal Injury

A personal injury can be classed as physical injury including disease or illness, or a psychological injury, and can result in death.

How to Claim for a Personal Injury

  1. Ensure you have as much evidence as possible that you have a claim; any doctors notes, medical evaluations, accident reports you have will be valuable to your claim.
  2. Contact a solicitor to assess if you have a viable claim.
  3. The solicitor will then evaluate your claim based on the circumstances of your accident.
  4. If you have a claim, then the persons responsible will be made aware that you are seeking compensation.
  5. An expert assessment will take place possibly bringing in medical experts to help substantiate your case.
  6. The personal injury compensation you are looking for will then be calculated based on the past and future costs related to your injury.
  7. Compensation will then be negotiated, first with the insurer or legal representative of the defendant and if that isn’t successful the proceedings will go to court.
  8. If the case is operated on a no win no fee basis, then if compensation is successfully claimed you will be awarded it in full, if unsuccessful then there will be no cost for legal services.

How long after an incident can I make a claim?

You can make a claim anytime within 3 years of the date of your accident, however, we recommend you put in a claim ASAP as this can make evidence gathering much easier and the incident is fresher in people’s minds.

For things such as occupational illness whereby no accident specifically took place then a claim is to be brought forward within 3 years of your first knowledge of the illness.

How long will a case take to settle?

The length of a case depends upon a variety of factors including whether your injury has settled or is likely to get worse, your opponents admission of liability or whether they deny it.

What kind of compensation can I get?

There are two main types of compensation you may be able to claim/be rewarded as part of a personal injury claim. These include:

  • General Damages: a lump sum paid to cover compensation for any pain or suffering as a result of the accident.
  • Special Damages: any costs/damages which were incurred as a direct result of the injury such as loss of earnings, rehabilitation or therapy costs, care and medical treatments etc.

How much compensation will I receive?

Each claim is judged on the individual case. There are brackets for compensation amounts for specific types of injury, however, the unique facts of each case are taken into account before valuation.

Factors considered in the valuation of the claim include financial losses, the severity of illness/injury, impact upon life inc. employment and additional support or care which will be needed in the future as a result of the injury.

If my injury worsens can I reopen a claim?

Once a case is settled in cannot be reopened which is why it is essential to get medical evidence as to how the injury may progress or alternatively waiting until the injury has settled.

What are the legal costs?

If your claim is won then your opponent will pay any basic legal costs in addition to costs such as medical reports and court fees. Things such as medical reports may be expenses incurred in preparation of your claim.

Here at Ward and Rider, we offer No Win No Fee Agreements which mean that if your claim isn’t won, we do not get paid for legal services.