You’ve had an accident, you suffered an injury, and it was someone else’s fault. Here are some of the questions you might want answers to:
1. Should I make a compensation claim?
Yes, you should. When someone does you wrong, they should make it right. If people aren’t held accountable for their actions, they won’t change their behaviour and could well end up causing an accident again.
2. What is the aim of a personal injury claim?
By making a personal injury claim, you are asking to be put back into the position you were in just before the accident happened.
3. What type of personal injury accident claims are there?
The most common types of accident claims come from:
- Road traffic accidents
- Accidents at work
- Accidents in a public place (in shopping malls, parks, funfairs, slip, trips or falls on the pavement etc)
- Clinical negligence – also referred to as ‘medical negligence’
- Criminal injury
- Exposure to Asbestos or other harmful substances at work
4. What should I do straight after an accident in which I suffer injury?
Get treated for your injuries. Your health is the only thing that should be your immediate priority at that point.
Depending on how badly injured you are, you may need an ambulance to take you to hospital.
If you don’t need immediate emergency treatment, you may be able to make your own way to A&E. Sometimes, making an appointment with your GP will be sufficient. Whatever the type or severity of the injury you have suffered – get it checked out by a medical professional.
5. How do I start the personal injury claims process?
i) Find a specialist personal injury solicitor.
You might be wondering whether to do the claim yourself. Our advice would be to find an experienced personal injury solicitor to deal with your claim instead. Accident compensation claims can be challenging to deal with without legal knowledge and expertise.
ii) Make use of some free advice from a solicitor
Most reputable firms of accident injury solicitors will always provide an initial amount of advice by phone free of charge. Make use of this opportunity to ask questions, the answers to which will be valuable to you in deciding how your claim will progress
iii) Enter into a No Win No Fee agreement
Most people who make personal injury claims enter into No Win No Fee arrangements with their solicitors. The benefit of this type of legal funding arrangement is popular because if your claim isn’t successful and you have the protection of a No Win No Fee agreement, you’ll have nothing to pay in legal fees.
iii) Guiding you through the claims process
Your solicitor will let you know what he needs from you at each step of the claim to help him present your best case. The stages of the claim
- a) Initial consultation with your solicitor
- b) Working out who was at fault (liable) for the accident. The other party may accept liability for the accident early on, or it may remain in dispute. In many cases, liability is accepted very early on in the case. The case will purely be about deciding how much compensation you will get when that happens.
- c) Calculating what your claim is worth
After gathering all the information, he needs, including assessing the medical evidence, your solicitor will use all his experience to estimate the value of your claim.
- d) Your claim will be presented to the insurers of the person at fault for the accident
iv) What are the stages leading to my compensation claim getting settled?
- a) Negotiation – many claims are settled by negotiation, and you will have the final say on whether any settlement offer is accepted.
- b) Court proceedings issued – If the claim is not settled by negotiation, your solicitor will issue court proceedings.
- e) Further negotiation – just because a court summons is issued doesn’t mean the case will go to court. Quite often, commencing court proceedings brings the parties to the negotiating table again. Most personal injury cases settle before they get to a court hearing.
- f) Court – if the case doesn’t get settled beforehand, it will end up in court. A judge will listen to the evidence of both parties and then decide whether you win your case and how much you receive or whether the other party (the defendant) is successful.
Finally, it is always important to note that you have three years from the date of the accident, in most cases, within which to start a personal injury claim.