We discuss frequently asked questions regarding personal injury claims.
As the saying goes, accidents can happen, and sadly there are times when there is little you can do to avoid getting caught up in an accident. However, if you are involved in an accident that causes you to be injured as a result of another party’s negligence, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim is the legal process of recovering compensation for physical damage, psychological damage or illness that has been caused by somebody else. Injuries can be caused by just about anything; however, for a claim to be made, the accident must have been caused by someone else through an act of negligence or breach of duty.
If your injury was caused through no fault of your own, then you have a right to make a claim. A personal injury claim is designed to put you back in the position you would have been in, were it not for the accident. It is made up of two types of financial compensation, known as “damages”. These are:
General damages - compensation for the pain and suffering caused
Special damages - reimbursement of costs accrued as a result of your injury
Can I make a claim?
If you have been injured, and this was caused as a result of another person’s negligence, or by a third party breaching their duty of care to you, then you are entitled to make a personal injury claim.
How long will my claim take to settle?
We will strive to ensure that your case is handled quickly and efficiently by providing you with comprehensive advice throughout proceedings. However, it is very difficult to give an exact timescale for when a claim will be settled, as there are many factors that can influence the length of time it can take.
Fundamentally, a solicitors goal is to ensure that your settlement award adequately reflects the impact your injury has had on your life, ensuring you are able to meet medical expenses and other financial outlays caused as a result of your accident. Assessing the full impact an injury has had on you, as well as dealing with the defendant may take time, but it is time well spent. Whilst working to settle your claim, our solicitors will do their best to keep you informed at every stage of the process.
How much could I claim?
Compensation is calculated by taking into consideration two components: the pain and suffering caused by the injury (general damages) and the financial impact the injury has had on your life (special damages). Each case is worked out on an individual basis because an injury can have different effects on different people. Medical evidence, similar cases, judicial guidelines and other evidence is also taken into account when calculating damages.
What can I claim for?
The repercussions of an accident or injury can have a profound effect on your life and the lives of your family members; that’s why it is possible to claim accident compensation. The purpose of a personal injury claim is to put you back in the position you would have been in, were it not for the accident. If your career has been affected or you face costly or extensive medical treatment as a result of your injuries, for example, a compensation claim can ensure you are able to meet these costs.
When prospective clients come to our personal injury team, one of the first questions they have is what they are able to make a claim for.
Listed below are the major reasons the victims of accidents claim financial compensation; remember, even if your situation does not exactly match any of the categories below it’s still worth contacting our team for an initial consultation.
Loss of earnings: If the injury for which you are claiming accident compensation leads to an extended period out of work, and you lose earnings as a result, it is possible to claim these earnings back in the form of financial compensation.
Rehabilitation costs and medical fees: If you have incurred expensive medical fees as a result of another person’s negligence, it is possible to make an accident compensation claim to cover them.
Bills and household costs: If your injury has prevented you from helping around the house or a resultant loss of earnings means you can’t pay the bills, financial compensation can be claimed.
Damage to personal property: If you have been involved in an accident that was not your fault, and your property has been damaged as a result, you may be able to claim accident compensation to cover the cost of repairs.
Pain and suffering: If you and your family have been caused undue pain and suffering as a result of your accident then you may be able to claim financial compensation.
Is there a time limit on starting a claim?
Generally speaking, personal injury claims caused by somebody else’s negligence can be started up to three years after the accident. However, there are some notable exceptions to this; many asbestos-related and industrial diseases do not become apparent until some time after exposure. Meaning a claim for these illnesses can be done up to three years after the date of knowledge of the illness developing.
For injuries and illnesses you have experienced whilst abroad, such as food poisoning or road traffic accidents, the time limit you have to make a claim varies depending on the country your incident occurred in.
For injuries caused by a criminal offence and where you have to claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), the time limit is two years after the incident.
Children who suffer injuries can have a claim made on their behalf by a parent or guardian immediately after the accident and up to the age of 18. Once a child reaches 18 years old, they then have three years to make a claim for an injury if a parent or guardian has not already done so.
Ultimately, if you know you would like to make a claim, it is best to contact us as soon as possible after your injury or illness as this enables us to get to work on your case quickly and minimises the chances of any time limit issues we may encounter.
Can I make a claim for a child?
When someone under the age of 18 has been involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault, a responsible person aged 18 or over can make a claim on their behalf. This person, known as a ‘litigation friend’ in legal terms, is usually one of the child’s parents; however, grandparents and other relatives are also able to act on behalf of the child.
Can I make a claim for multiple injuries?
If you have suffered multiple injuries following any kind of accident, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation. When it comes to dealing with claims where someone has suffered multiple injuries, we tackle the injuries together, looking at the pain, suffering and financial losses endured as a whole. As with any other injury claim, the goal is to ensure that you are put back in the position you would have been in, but for the accident. We have handled successful claims for the following types of injuries in many different combinations:
Damage to internal organs
Catastrophic injuries such as brain or spinal damage, generally involve a lengthy recovery process and severe physical and psychological trauma. Multiple injuries can mean this process is lengthier than it would be when you have just one injury to recover from. They can also have a detrimental effect on your everyday life because you may be unable to work, need to rely on others to care for you or lose certain functions in your body. We understand how tough they can be to deal with, but rest assured, our team will do everything we can to help you if you find that you or a loved one has been put in this position by someone else’s negligence.
You can also make a claim if your situation has included an element of medical negligence in addition to any injuries you have suffered. Our top rated Clinincal Negligence Solicitors will deal with these claims.
Can I make a claim for someone who has died?
If an accident has resulted in the death of a loved one and it was caused by another person, then a family member can make a claim on their behalf. A compensation award will take into consideration pain and suffering caused, funeral expenses and whether anyone was financially dependent on the deceased. A bereavement award will also be included in final settlements.
Do I have to take the defendant's first offer?
Absolutely not! Remember, a personal injury claim is intended to put you back in the position you would have been, were it not for your injury. If the first offer that a defendant makes does not enable you to meet the needs you had before the accident, you are not obliged to take it.
Once your claim has been resolved and a final compensation sum agreed, you cannot revisit or reopen your claim, meaning that you need to think very carefully about any offer you accept and make sure it is in line with what you expect to receive. This is also why it is very important you give us as much information as possible about how the accident has affected your day-to-day life, as it enables us to build up a picture of your needs and how much compensation we need to fight for on your behalf.
Can I make a claim for an accident in Scotland?
If you are a Scottish national and have been injured as a result of an accident that was not your fault, contact us about making a claim for financial compensation. We will pass your claim to our trusted Scottish partner firm, guaranteeing your legal team possesses an in-depth understanding of Scottish personal injury law and the ability to claim the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Our solicitors have the jurisdiction to deal with claims lodged by residents of England and Wales, but not Scotland. This legal barrier, coupled with our desire to offer our Scottish clients the best possible service and highest probability of success, inspired us to partner with a firm of solicitors based in Scotland with extensive experience and expertise in Scottish law. We wanted to be confident that our Scottish clients would receive the highest standards of service, even if we did not handle their claim ourselves.
Contact Number: 01215170301