Almost half of all adults in the UK have been injured in an accident in the last five years - including workplace accidents, road accidents and slips and trips in places considered public. Injuries sustained as the direct result of an accident can change your quality of life, your ability to earn income and your families financial well being.
We've put together a simple, introductory guide to making a personal injury claim in the UK - the process, the information required and the types of injuries you can claim against.
In legal terms, personal injuries are considered both physical injuries or illnesses and psychological ones. Such injuries can also result in death.
Examples of personal injuries are:
- an injury suffered in the workplace or an illness caused by your job
- a psychological illness caused by stress, anxiety or bullying at work
- an injury caused in an accident involving a car or other vehicle
- an injury caused by faulty products or provided services
- an accident caused by falling over in a public place
- harm caused as a result of medical malpractice
- a physical injury resulting from a criminal act
- a psychological injury resulting from a criminal act
Why Should I Claim?
Personal injury claims are often associated with "ambulance chasers," shady companies who cold call people looking for any excuse to take legal action against another party. We strongly urge our readers to avoid such companies and act responsibly at all times when considering making a compensation claim for personal injury. It is, however, your legal right to pursue a compensation claim when you have genuinely been injured (physically or psychologically) as a direct consequence of the actions of a 3rd party. The compensation is intended to provide financial support for any area of your life that has been affected by the accident, including covering the cost of any required medical services and replacing income lost as a consequence of the accident1.
How Much Could I Claim?
In order to find out what sort of compensation you may be entitled to, you should contact a reputable personal injury solicitor. Beware anyone who promises to gain you thousands of pounds of compensation before they have fully considered the facts of your case. Compensation vary's significantly between cases but payouts can be anywhere from thousands of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds in more serious cases2.
What Do I Need To Prove?
The first thing that must be established is that your injury was a result of an accident that was not your fault or was the direct result of the actions of a 3rd party. Partial or complete blame must be attributed to that 3rd party as they (or their insurance company) will pay the compensation. You must prove that the 3rd party had a duty to prevent your injury and could have taken reasonable steps to prevent the injury. If it is not possible to establish that someone was at fault, it is unlikely that your claim will be successful.
The first step in any personal injury claim is reporting the incident to the relevant parties. You must inform both the police and your insurance company if the injury is the result of a road accident3. A doctor should be informed so that if you end up in court as part of your claim he/she can provide the court with a report about your injuries.
It is also wise to gather any and all pertinent information about the incident and the injury caused by it. This should include;
- When the accident occurred (date and time)
- Where the accident occurred
- How it happened
- The contact details of any witnesses and the other people involved in the incident
- The details of injuries incurred including any medical treatment received
After you have collected the information above it is time to contact a reputable specialist personal injury solicitor and discuss your case with them. A reputable lawyer will consider your case without requiring you to pay any fee's up front4. If they are not prepared to work on a "no win, no fee" basis you should avoid them.
1 Accidentclaimsadvice.org.uk Calculating A Personal Injury Claim
2 Co-oplegalservices.co.uk Personal Injury Compensation Amounts Awarded For Different Types Of Claims
3 RAC.co.uk What To Do After A Car Accident - Should You Say Sorry?
4 Wrighthassall.co.uk Compensation Claims