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How to make a personal injury claim

View profile for Molly Puntis
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If you’ve had an accident that has left you with an injury, you may be wondering how to make a personal injury claim for compensation. It is important that you know your rights and the information you need to gather to ensure you see the best result to enable you to rebuild your life. Molly Puntis, Personal Injury Claims Handler, here takes you through the basics of how to make a personal injury claim, and explains how we can help you in more ways than claiming compensation.

Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim?

There are three main criteria that must be met in order to bring a personal injury claim. The first is that the accident must have been caused by someone else’s negligence, i.e. someone else’s fault. This could be another person, for example in a road traffic accident, or an organisation, for example your employer, another company or a local authority. 

The second criterion is that your injuries must have required some form of medical treatment. In most cases, the injuries will be apparent immediately following the accident. Industrial diseases, such as asbestosis or mesothelioma, are slightly different as symptoms can take decades to manifest after the exposure to asbestos.

What are the time limits to bring a personal injury claim?

The final point is the time limitation period.  For the majority of claims, this must be brought within three years of the accident or within knowledge of the injury. There are exceptions to this, which includes if you were under 18 years of age when the accident happened and if the accident took place in an airport or on a plane, or an accident at sea, for example on a cruise ship.

If you are in any doubt about the time frame, do contact us as we will be able to advise as to whether you can still bring a claim. It may be that the Court agrees to hear your claim, even if you are out of time, depending on the severity of your injuries.

What happens during the personal injury claim?

The first step is that we will contact the person at fault and ascertain whether they admit liability or not. To do this, we will discuss with you all of the details of your claim, the impact it has had on your life and the prospect of future care or rehabilitation that may be needed. In order to do this, we will need from you:

  • Details of the accident and injury, including:
    • The circumstances leading up to the accident
    • The date and time
    • The location
    • The injuries you sustained
    • Anyone else involved
    • The impact it has had on your day to day life
  • Medical evidence from your doctor.  We will also refer to you to an independent doctor for examination.
  • Accident reports, which will be particularly pertinent if the accident happened at work, or in an organisation’s premises, such as a shop.
  • Police reports, if these were collected.
  • Witness statements.
  • Financial information detailing any loss of earnings or expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
  • Any other evidence, for example photos, videos or measurements showing a defect.  These can be extremely useful in supporting your claim, particularly if this was caused due to a defect such as a pothole or loose pavement slab.  Wherever possible you should provide these to show the scene of the accident, the cause and any damage. 

Once this information has been collected, we will write to the other party detailing the nature of the claim. If they accept liability we will then negotiate an appropriate settlement figure. If they do not accept liability, or they do not agree a settlement figure, we will then make preparations to go to Court.  Some people can become quite nervous at this stage; however we will manage all of the negotiations and arrangements with barristers, taking all of the stress and worry off of your shoulders so you can focus on your recovery.

How long will my personal injury claim take and how much could I claim?

The amount of time will very much depend on your individual case, the accident you were involved in and your sustained injuries. For injuries such as whiplash, your claim could be resolved in six months. For more serious injuries, such as a brain injury or occupational disease, it could take between 18 to 24 months, if not longer. 

Depending on your individual needs, we can apply for an interim payment to cover immediate costs, for example if there are costs that need covering for medical appointments, travel, prosthetics or making amendments to your home. 

Determining how much compensation you could be entitled to will again depend on your case. All compensation claims are made up of two separate areas:

  • General damages, which would be assessed by the pain and suffering you have endured, and the impact the accident and subsequent injuries have had on your life.
  • Special damages, which would include your financial losses, such as loss of earnings.

Can I bring a claim against my employer?

If your accident occurred at work, you may be concerned about bringing a claim against your employer for fear of being dismissed or being treated detrimentally. Your employer is legally not allowed to do this, and all employers have a legal obligation to obtain the relevant insurance to cover eventualities such as this. You can find out more about your rights following an accident at work here.

“Claiming compensation is just one piece of the puzzle after having an accident,” explains Molly. “You will not only have physical injuries, but you and your loved ones may also have been affected emotionally and you may need to adjust to a new way of living.  That’s why coming to us can help you put the pieces together, as we can offer you access to our network of professionals, including medical experts, rehabilitation and counselling experts. We appreciate that contacting a solicitor to discuss an accident can be a daunting prospect, but we will explain each step to you with compassion and respect, leaving you with an understanding as to your rights and the process involved.”

To discuss your personal injury claim with Molly and the team, call us today on 0800 91 92 30 or email injuryteam@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.