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A personal injury claim is a claim for compensation for injuries caused to you by the negligence of someone else. That could be an individual such as a car driver, cyclist, dog owner or a company, council or firm such as your employer or the owner or firm responsible for the location where you suffered an injury.
Personal injury solicitors act on behalf of the injured person, who is often known as the Claimant, to recover damages which is financial compensation for the injury and financial losses incurred because of the accident.
There are two main parts to the claim which are known as liability and quantum.
Documentary evidence will be requested to support out of pocket expenses. The value of the injury is worked out by instructing independent medical experts to examine you and review your medical records to provide a report detailing the injuries suffered and provide a prognosis, which is an estimate as to when it is expected you will make a full recovery or how you will continue to be affected by the injury if a full recovery is not possible. Depending on the nature of the injuries there may be several experts with different specialisms involved.
Many clients come to us following an accident worried because they do not want to cause trouble for the person responsible or fall out with them if they make a claim.
The good news is for most personal injury claims the person responsible is often insured through motor, public liability or employer liability insurance and the claim is usually dealt with directly with the insurers. We as your injury lawyers will make initial investigations to check whether or not any potential Defendant is insured and discuss our findings with you before we submit your claim.
The claim for compensation will include compensation for the injury known as general damages and financial losses known as special damages which can include loss of earnings, loss of pension, loss of bonus and/or loss of chance at promotion. It will also include other out of pocket expenses you may have incurred such as travel costs, medication, prescriptions, wasted gym and club memberships, paid services such as cleaners and gardeners and the time of family and friends who may be assisting you in doing tasks you could not carry out due to your injury such as shopping, cleaning and childcare.
If there is a real risk of redundancy and you being placed on the open labour market and being disadvantaged due to your injury there can also be a claim made for this disadvantage which is usually equivalent to around 6 months earnings which can then be saved. Anticipated losses known as future losses for example where it is expected you may need an operation and time off work can also be claimed.
Bringing a claim can help you access treatment, counselling and diagnostic tools such as x-rays or CT scans much more quickly resulting in a quicker prognosis and treatment and perhaps quicker return to work If appropriate.
Where there have been more serious injuries we usually find that the other side’s insurers are keen to work with us using rehabilitation providers at no cost to the injured person to help our clients with recovery and any assistance needed whether that be adaptions to their house or simply help with dealing with medical appointments and assessments.
If you are not being fully paid whilst absent once liability is admitted we can also assist you in obtaining an interim payment.
Understandably clients are worried about losing their job if it is an accident at work claim against their employer or if they are going to be absent as a result of their injuries for a long time. We have not found this to be an issue when claims are made. Generally the claim is submitted to the insurers who then deal with the claim. If someone is unfairly dismissed or have to leave because their employer makes it impossible for them to stay (constructive dismissal) there are employment claims that can be made in addition to a personal injury claim and we have a specialist team of employment lawyers who can advise you regarding this should that be necessary.
We are often asked how long a injury claim will take. This will very much depend on how quickly the other side admit liability and the nature of the injuries sustained. Generally it would be expected to know the liability decision within 3 months of the claim being formally submitted to the other side. If only one medical report is needed and a full recover has been made the claim could be settled within 6-9 months, however if there is a liability dispute or there are additional medical reports it may take closer to a year or more in the case of significant injuries.
If you have been injured as a result of accident which was not your fault you have 3 years from the date of the accident to bring your claim against the responsible person which either means settling it in full before that date or issuing court proceedings against the responsible party before the 3 year anniversary of your accident otherwise you will be out of time to bring the claim. If you were under 18 at the time of the accident you usually have until your 21 st birthday to bring the claim. This is known as the limitation date. We would always advise a claim is started as soon as possible even if the full extent of the injuries may not yet be known.
If you have been injured in an accident which was not your fault and would like to discuss making a claim then please contact or call our friendly team of personal injury lawyers for a free confidential no obligation chat to discuss your options.
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