Personal Injury refers to physical or psychological injury or illness that is caused by the negligence of another. It may be inflicted by means of large number of very different torts. A successful personal injury claim will result in financial compensation for the injured party. There are different ways in which an individual may suffer a personal injury and for which a Solicitor can help you pursue your claim. Some of the different types of personal injuries are:
- Road traffic accidents - whether you’re a driver, pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist or passenger
- Work place injuries- These include work-related illnesses
- Faulty goods or services
- Medical negligence - Errors in hospital or errors in medical treatment
- A slip, trip or fall in a public place
- Holiday accidents
- Accidents in the home
- Accidents involving animals - Such as dog bites or horse riding accidents
- Injuries resulting from criminal offences, like assault
It is important to consider the plan of actions in Personal Injury cases be it may a person who has suffered personal injury himself / herself or be it a person who is acting on behalf of someone who has died because of a personal injury. For this purpose it is important to consider the following :
- Whether you would want to make a complaint to the person or organisation you believe was responsible for the injuries?
- Whether you would want to raise a claim for compensation to cover losses you have suffered because of the injury?
There are several ways of getting compensation for a personal injury:
- By way of claim assessors
- By taking legal action in a civil court
- By making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
- By way of a criminal compensation order
- By special Government compensation schemes for some injuries and losses such as vaccine damage or asbestos-related disease
- By using the NHS Redress Arrangements in Wales
Personal injury claims are subject to time limitations. In the UK you are able to make a claim within 3 years of the accident. Criminal Injuries Compensation have a 2 year limitation period. In rare cases claim can be sought beyond the relevant period where the person misjudged and thus in those cases the limitation period is waived off and that the claim can be bought many years later, however it depends solely on the discretion of the court .
Amount of Compensation
There are 2 types of compensation that can be claimed for: General damages and Special damages. General damages are based upon medical evidence: normally a medical expert’s report on the injuries suffered needs to be obtained. The amount of compensation encompasses how the injuries affect you now and in the future. Special damages are designed to put you back in the financial position you were in as if the accident had never occurred. Any receipts and invoices should be kept wherever possible to prove these losses.
Procedure that shall be followed :
1. The team Member/ Solicitor/Advisor shall obtain the following information which is of great significance while dealing with Personal Injury cases and thus a record of it should be maintained.
The list is enumerated herein below:
- the date of the accident, where and how it happened
- the contact details for any witnesses
- the details of your injuries, medical diagnosis and treatment received
- whether you are a member of a trade union or you have legal expenses insurance policies, as this may entitle you to free or reduced-cost legal representation.
- proof of your loss of earnings and other financial expenses that are due to your injury
- documents relating to any insurance policies you have (such as household or motor insurance) to check whether these will cover the legal costs of your claim
- any evidence that can be used to support your claim, including documents from before your accident or previous accidents in similar circumstances.
2. Then the necessary documentation shall be worked upon and created. Thereafter the evidence to support your claim, including writing to witnesses, medical records, obtaining more information from you and contacting your employer about any financial losses etc shall be gathered.
3. Once the information gathered is found to be adequate the party you believe are responsible for causing your accident shall be informed that a claim is being made against them. This will either be the person responsible for your accident directly, a company, public body or insurer. They are known as the Defendant. The response from the Defendants then stands awaited . When an insurer has to respond, can depend on the type of accident, or when or where your accident occurred.
4. All Personal Injury claims are initially governed by the ‘pre-action protocol.’ This encourages exchange of information and is designed to help Claimants and Defendants settle cases fairly quickly and without the need to issue court proceedings. The pre-action protocol sets time limits with which both parties must acknowledge and respond to correspondence. If we feel it is inappropriate we will issue court proceedings.
5. Once we have a response from the Defendant or their insurer, if liability is admitted then the next step is for us to negotiate settlement on your behalf, if your medical evidence is finalised and it is appropriate to do so. If liability is denied the Defendant must give reasons and provide documentation to support this decision and we will conduct any necessary investigation to dispute these reasons and to try and secure an admission of liability.
6. Where liability is admitted we would consider disclosing your medical evidence to the Defendant so they can make a settlement offer. This must be done before we can issue court proceedings. Your medical report will set out the expert’s opinion on the severity of your injuries and how long they will last. This will give both sides an idea as to the value of your injuries. Thereafter a draft document is prepared which is known as a ‘schedule of special damages’ which is a list of your financial losses. These will also form part of your compensation.
7. The Defendant can make an offer of compensation for settlement at any time. The Solicitor further shall assist you negotiate with the Defendant and their insurers to secure the best compensation for the clients.
8. If the matter is not settled , you decide to pursue with litigation then , the matter will be taken up by the Court and shall be heard by the judge.