Personal Injuries are not fun so make sure you explore compensation options.
This post was written by a London personal injury solicitor that I know. The advice can be applied for most countries where personal injury law is in effect.
Accidents happen, unfortunately, sometimes they might happen to you. When you are in an accident, or if you are injured by something or someone, that in itself is stressful enough. Worrying about how to get your bills paid while you recover from something that is not your fault just adds to that. Do you have legal options for your injuries?
Welcome to the world of personal injury claims. When you are hurt and it is not your fault, you do have options, and that is in the form of a personal injury claim. If you are hurt due to the negligence of others, you have a valid personal injury claim and can employ the services of a solicitor to assist you in the legal process.
What is Personal Injury?
A personal injury is any injury that you receive due to the negligence of another. Death due to the negligence of another also falls under personal injury claims, so you can file a personal injury claim on behalf of another, if their death was due to the negligence of somebody else. A personal injury can be something physical such and an injury, an illness or a disease or it can be something psychological.
Psychological injury or illness can be due to stress, harassment, discrimination, abuse or injury by another, or due to being the victim of a crime. These are just a few examples, if you think you have been psychologically damaged by another, you very likely have a claim and should seek counsel from a London expert personal injury solicitor (I recommend this one).
Physical injuries could happen in any matter of ways: tripping over a cracked sidewalk, to being hurt during a crime that another committed, to being injured by a faulty product, or sickened by bad food, being injured at work or any other injury that was caused by something or somebody else.
Personal injury claims can fall under a few different categories including:
- Road traffic accidents
- Criminal injury
- Trip/Slip/Fall accidents
- Work accidents
- Public liability
- All other, including an injury sustained during medical treatment
What to Do When You Are Injured
First of all, if you have been hurt by another person, such as if you have been in a road accident of if you are the victim of a crime and have been hurt, you should notify the police. Police reports are very helpful for personal injury claims. If you have been in an auto accident, you need to also inform your insurance company, even though you are not at fault, you still need to notify them right away.
You need to document the injury fully. Take notes if you need to, what led up to it, what happened, who was involved, etc. The more information you can document, the better your personal injury claim will be. You need evidence that proves that you were not at fault; if there are any witnesses to the incident that injured you make sure that you get their name, address and contact information. Take photos of the situation as well, you cannot document an injury too much.
You should see a doctor about your injury, even if it is minor. You will need your medical records to document and prove that you were injured and if you never went to the doctor, then you will have no medical proof of the injury.
If you are injured at work, or sick due to your job, then you need to notify your employer so that they can document the incident or injury in their accident book. If your employer does not have an accident book, you need to write out a written notice that fully explains the incident details and what your injuries and give the original to your employer and keep a copy for yourself.
And finally, in order to give you the best chance possible of winning compensation you should employ the services of a personal injury solicitor.
Personal Injury Claims Compensation
There are two types of compensation for personal injury claims; special damaged and general damages. General damages are what are paid to compensate you for your injury and do not include costs that you have already incurred. Loss of future earnings and pain and suffering are two types of general damage compensation types. Your compensation amount is determined by the court.
Special damages include compensation for all of the actual financial losses that you incurred because of the accident or incident. This includes your medical bills, cost of repairing your property, travel costs to receive medical help, etc.
Getting Legal Help
Do not delay in obtaining a personal injury solicitor because you do not have an indefinite amount of time to file your claim. There are time limits on when you can file; for example, for a personal injury claim for negligence, the claim needs to be filed within three years of the incident. Here’s a video from that solicitor I recommended earlier in the blog post.
It is advised that you contact a solicitor shortly after being injured instead of delaying. You will need to provide copies of all of your documentation to the solicitor, including copies of all pictures. They will be able to explain to you what their costs are, what your likely compensation is and any other relevant details for your claim.
Your solicitor will send the defendant a claim letter, which details out the injury and the incident details. The defendant has a set amount of time in which to reply to this letter, three months or less in most cases.
If they reply that they accept liability, then the next step is to negotiate a settlement offer. Most personal injury claims are settled out of court. Your solicitor will find out from you what amount of compensation you are seeking and will request that as a settlement, which is referred to as a Part 36 offer. The defendant can accept it, or they can reply with their own Part 36 offer.
If the defendant denies all liability or will not settle, then you can choose to take legal action them by taking the defendant to court. If you go to court, keep in mind that you can be responsible for paying the defendant’s legal costs if you lose and since there is no legal aid for personal injury cases in the UK, which this can be a big amount, especially since you have your personal injury solicitor to pay as well. If costs are an issue, ask your solicitor about using a “no win no fee” agreement and if you win the case, you will need to pay a “success fee” out of your court awarded compensation.