Making a Personal Injury Claim
If you have suffered an accident due to the actions or omissions of someone else, then you may be able to make a personal injury claim. Our personal injury team have answered the most frequently asked questions about making a claim.
What is a personal injury claim?
The aim of a personal injury claim is to obtain compensation for any injuries you have sustained and to restore you to the position you would be in had the accident not occurred.
How much compensation could I receive?
When you make a personal injury claim, it will be split into two parts: general damages and special damages.
General damages are compensation for the injury itself and are valued using a medical report about your injuries, which will be prepared by a medical expert. The report will detail the injuries and must link the injuries to the act or omission of the defendant. General damages includes both physical injuries, such as whiplash, broken bones, strained muscles, and psychological injuries and conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. General damages will take into consideration pain and suffering, including the loss of the ability to do certain tasks or hobbies.
Special damages are compensation for expenses you have had to incur as a result of the accident; for example, loss of earnings or the cost of private treatment and care.
My injuries seem to be minor, can I still make a claim?
Yes, you might be able to. Injuries that seem minor to begin with may actually have a long term and irreversible impact on your quality of life. However, the value of your claim must be above a certain amount in order to recover costs should you instruct a solicitor.
Low value claims are dealt with through the small claims court, without legal representation. For example, claims of less than £5,000 for road traffic accidents that occurred on or after 31 May 2021 will be dealt with by the small claims court. Contact us for an initial conversation about the nature of your injury and the options for making a claim.
Will I have to be medically examined?
In order to prove that you suffered an injury as a result of the accident, you will have to attend a medical examination by an independent medical expert. Following the examination, a report will be prepared. The report is essential as it describes the injury suffered and confirms when or if your recovery is likely and forms the basis for the award of damages.
There is no need to be concerned about the examination; the doctors that we instruct are friendly and sympathetic.
Is there a time limit for making a personal injury claim?
Yes, there is a time limit to make a personal injury claim. You must begin your claim within three years of sustaining your injury, or, if you weren’t aware that you had an injury, three years from the date you first became aware of it.
There are some exceptions. If you are a child under the age of 18, you have until you are 21 years old to make a claim.
If I receive compensation, will I have to pay tax on it?
No, you don’t have to pay tax on personal injury compensation. It doesn’t matter whether you receive it as a lump sum or as instalments over time.
How long will my claim take?
Every claim is completely different and it will depend on the seriousness of your injuries, and whether the defendant admits liability.
If you recover relatively soon after your accident and we have obtained medical reports to understand the extent of your injury, it can be relatively straightforward to establish the amount of compensation you should receive. These cases may last from several months to a year.
If you have ongoing and more severe injuries, it can be more complicated and take longer. This is because we do not want to settle your claim early, before you have fully recovered, as we need to understand the full extent of your injuries to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
The claim may also take longer where the defendants do not admit liability. This will require further investigation and disclosure of relevant documents. Once liability is admitted and we have an understanding on the extent of your injuries and recovery, we will negotiate the compensation you should receive.
The length of the process may also depend on any offers made, and whether either party wants to accept an offer to settle out of court. If an agreement cannot be reached, court proceedings may have to be issued.
Will I need to go to court?
We have dealt with many cases where our client has won compensation and never needed to go to court. In fact, the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court.
However, there will always be a small number of cases which will have a court hearing. This may be due to a variety of reasons, such as a dispute about liability. If your case goes to court, you will usually be represented by a barrister who will present your claim and you will need to give evidence to the judge. This will usually be based upon a witness statement that we will prepare for you using the information you have given to us throughout your claim.
My insurance company has recommended a solicitor, do I have to instruct them, or can I choose a different solicitor?
You are free to instruct whichever solicitor you like to make a personal injury claim. Insurance companies may recommend solicitors, however you are not bound by this referral. We are not linked to any insurance company therefore we are entirely independent. Choosing an independent solicitor ensures that we’ll act only in your best interests to get the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Can I make a claim on behalf of someone who has died?
Yes, you can make a personal injury claim on behalf of someone who has died. If their accident or death was the result of someone else’s negligence then the family of the deceased can receive the compensation.
The claim can be brought by executors of the will, administrators (if there is no will), beneficiaries of the estate, people entitled to a bereavement award or certain eligible dependants.
If you want to make a personal injury claim, contact us for an initial discussion about your case with a member of our personal injury team. You can email email@example.com or call us on 01392 286774.
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