If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the process for making a personal injury claim can seem a little complex and daunting. However, help is at hand. Our expert solicitors are there to assist you through every stage of the claim process so that you’re always prepared and know what to expect next.
With years of experience, the solicitors in our network have dealt with thousands of personal injury claims arising from a wide range of accident types. While no two claims are exactly the same, our consortium of personal injury solicitors have a tried and tested process to maximise the chance of securing compensation for clients.
Here is a step-by-step guide to making a claim for personal injury:
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
‘Personal injury’ describes any injury that either impacts the body, the mind, or emotions. In other words, it can be physical, psychological, or both. If you are impacted in one or more of these ways in an accident that wasn’t your fault and can be attributed to another party, it’s worth initiating a claim to secure compensation from the other party. This is what is known as a personal injury claim. It’s the legal process of recovering funds from those responsible in order to assist with recovery, loss of earnings, and in severe cases, the change in lifestyle the injury has caused.
There are many different types of personal injury claim, including:
- Head injuries and/or brain damage
- Back and spinal injuries
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Sight or hearing loss
The Initial Steps of Making a Personal Injury Claim
In the aftermath of an accident, the severity of the injuries sustained and heightened adrenaline mean it’s easy to forget those all-important first steps in pursuing a claim and getting the treatment you need. Here are the first things to consider:
Any evidence you can provide will help strengthen your case when claiming compensation. Before approaching a solicitor, try writing down the following details:
- When and where the accident occurred.
- Any witnesses to the accident, along with any names and contact details.
- An account of what you were doing before the accident happened.
- How the accident occurred and who you believe is responsible.
- What happened next? Did you seek treatment for injuries?
Along with your written account of the accident, it’s also worth taking photos of the accident scene to better illustrate what happened. We know it’s not always possible, but if you can, do.
If the accident happened on private property such as a shop, or in a public place such as on the road, there may be video evidence from CCTV cameras. Obtaining a copy of the relevant footage will also help your case. And if you have your own footage, such as that recorded on a dashcam, add it to your evidence too.
Notifying the Relevant Parties
After gathering evidence, you’ll need to notify those that are responsible for the accident with a written notice of claim. This can be done by post or by email, and remember to keep a copy of the written notice for your records. Alternatively, your solicitor can help notify the relevant parties. The notice should inform them that they caused you an injury and that you intend to claim for damages as a result of their negligence.
Seeking Medical Treatment
However severe your injury is, it’s worth seeking treatment from a medical professional as soon after the accident as possible. That’s firstly because the sooner you receive an assessment and treatment, the sooner your recovery can begin. Also, it makes it much easier to prove that the accident is the cause of your injury.
If you go to the hospital because the accident caused a fracture or sprain, the hospital will retain medical records that reflect your admission to hospital, as well as X-rays and a plan for your ongoing treatment. This evidence will certainly help your case.
Alternatively, if the injury you sustained is less serious, you can visit a GP, doctor, or other medical professional. They’ll confirm the extent of your injury and give you a summary of the treatment required and a prognosis following the accident. The information they provide will be vital for your solicitor.
If after the accident you choose not to visit a medical professional because you don’t think your injury is that severe, don’t worry. When you speak to InjuryLawyers4U and we think you’re eligible to pursue a personal injury claim, the solicitor we appoint for you can arrange an assessment from an independent medical professional. The report they create will give a breakdown of your injuries, their impact and the treatment required, as well as the appropriate amount of compensation.
Hiring a Personal Injury solicitor
When claiming for personal injury, you aren’t required to instruct a professional solicitor to handle your case. You are free to act on your own behalf. However, for a relatively small fee that will be a percentage of your total compensation, we believe it’s worth having a real expert on your side.
Of course, not many people are experts in personal injury law when they’re in an accident, so it’s difficult to choose a solicitor that best suits your claim. However, at InjuryLawyers4U, we have a network of experienced personal injury lawyers that have handled many thousands of cases. We can help appoint the right solicitor for you.
Benefits of hiring a solicitor
Here’s why you should consider hiring a solicitor to pursue your injury claim:
- It’s what we do: As professional solicitors with years of experience in personal injury, we are familiar with the process, can help identify the injuries you can claim for, and will always strive to secure the maximum level of compensation possible.
- We can negotiate: Along your claim journey, the defendant’s insurer may offer a financial settlement that can be negotiated. Your expert solicitor will be aware of this and will fight for a settlement that you are happy with, acting in your best interests at every stage.
- You know you’re covered: It’s highly likely the other party will have a solicitor representing them. By not having a professional representing you, the chances are you’re giving the defendant an unnecessary advantage.
- We can help secure compensation, faster: Pursuing a personal injury claim is time consuming, and (generally) you only have three years after the accident to begin. A solicitor can document your injuries as you recover and knows what to anticipate along the way, saving time and allowing you to focus on recovering.
- Peace of mind: A good solicitor will familiarise themselves with every facet of your case, allowing them to fight on your behalf. At InjuryLawyers4U, we also operate on a no win no fee basis. That means it won’t cost you a thing if your claim is unsuccessful, and your solicitor’s fees are covered within your compensation.
Filing a claim
The next stage is to notify those you believe are responsible for your injury that you intend to claim for damages. This is done by letter and there are several key pieces of information that should be mentioned. Here’s a rough guide to what a letter of claim should include:
- Say who you are: If you’re writing it yourself, make it clear you are the claimant. If you choose to be represented by a solicitor, they will write the letter and be clear that they’re acting on your behalf.
- Explain the accident: Talk about when and where the accident occurred.
- Allege negligence: This is where you explain why the person you’re writing to is responsible for your accident.
- Describe your injuries and the financial impact: Mention the injuries you’ve sustained from the accident, both physical and physiological, along with the financial losses incurred as a result. This could be due to time out of work, cost of treatment, personal items damaged in the accident etc. Be clear whether these losses are still ongoing.
- Request relevant documentation: There are certain documents you would expect the person at fault to be in possession of. Ask for a disclosure of documentation, then request to inspect the relevant documents once you receive the list.
- Appoint a medical expert: You’ll need to prove that you’ve sustained injuries, and that these injuries were a direct result of the accident you were involved in. This requires an independent medical expert, and you should nominate them in your letter of claim and give the defendant time to object (usually 42 days).
- Request that the defendant’s insurer is made aware: Send two copies of the letter of claim to the defendant and remind them within the letter that the copy should be sent to their insurance company.
- Warn that you will instigate court proceedings: It’s worth reminding the defendant towards the end of the claim letter that if liability isn’t admitted within a certain time frame, the claim will be escalated and proceedings will be issued at court.
Once you’ve exchanged evidence and documentation with the other party, an offer to settle the claim can be made at any time. The defendant may admit liability and submit an offer to settle, however the amount offered at the first stage of negotiation is rarely close to the true level of compensation you could be entitled to. This is why it’s important to have an expert in personal injury law on your side.
Accepting an offer
When you have an expert personal injury lawyer on their side, they will factor in everything from the severity of your pain and impact on daily life to loss of income and cost of ongoing treatment to work out an appropriate amount of compensation. In certain situations, you may be advised to make the first offer of a settlement figure. This will encourage the other party to negotiate, and they are free to accept your initial offer or make a counteroffer.
With the disclosure of your evidence, the defendant may admit liability early into the process. Should this be the case, and your expert lawyer has the evidence to calculate the total figure of appropriate compensation, it is likely that they would recommend you settle the case. Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject an offer is yours.
If you accept an offer, that means your claim is fully settled and can’t be reopened. With that in mind, it’s only worth settling once you’re confident that medical symptoms have improved or resolved, and you’re at a stage in recovery where pain and symptoms won’t worsen. Once you accept, your expert lawyer will advise the other party and let you know when to expect your compensation cheque.
Rejecting an offer
If your solicitor receives an offer from the defendant and doesn’t think the suggested figure is suitable, they will advise you to reject the offer. Once again, the decision is yours, but it’s important that the compensation you receive is significant enough to cover the full financial impact of the accident.
If you are unable to reach a settlement figure that satisfies both parties, or the defendant rejects liability for the accident, the next step is to issue court proceedings.
Going to Court
We know – the thought of going to court is scary, and probably puts many people off commencing a claim in the first place. However, with InjuryLawyers4U, only around 1 in 20 cases we handle go to court. In most cases, both parties will try to ensure the case doesn’t go to court as this can draw out the process and be quite costly. Should your personal injury claim be a complex, particularly those where the amount your claiming for is £25,000 or over, you will be required to attend court, but your lawyer will prepare you and make sure you know what to expect before arriving.
There are a number of reasons why a personal injury claim goes to court, but the most common are the defendant’s denial of liability, a lack of response from the other party, and general complexity of the case.
When court proceedings are issued, the court will provide details on when they need all the relevant information around your claim, which your solicitor will provide. A trial date will be set, and your case will be listened to by a judge. Bear in mind, however, that the judge’s decision could go either way. They may find that the defendant is not the responsible party, in which case you would not be awarded any compensation. This is why we like to know as much as possible about your case from the outset. We want to make sure you have the best possible chance of a successful claim.
If they decide that the defendant is responsible, the judge will determine the appropriate level of compensation. This may be paid as a lump sum, or in cases where long-term care is required, it could be paid in monthly or yearly instalments.
How can InjuryLawyers4U help?
Nobody expects to be involved in an accident that impacts day to day life until it happens. Of those people, only a tiny fraction are familiar with the ins and outs of the personal injury claim process. InjuryLawyers4U can make a stressful situation less so by putting you in contact with an expert solicitor. They can take care of the litigation process, collating evidence, connecting you with an independent medical professional and building a case against the defendant, so you can fully focus on your recovery and getting back to an acceptable ‘normal’.
It’s our policy to be completely honest with you, right from the very first moment you get in touch. Our experienced advisors will assess your story and let you know whether they think you have a strong case straight away, and that transparency remains paramount throughout the whole process should you wish to go ahead.
Another reason to seek legal representation is that whoever the defendant in your case is, be it a fellow road user, employer or land owner; there’s a high chance they will have professional legal representation. Not having that expertise in your corner is likely to put you at quite a disadvantage, even if the case doesn’t progress to court. We operate a no win no fee policy, so you only pay fees in the event that your claim is successful. Our clients typically pay around 25% of the recovered amount, meaning you won’t need to pay for legal help from your own finances.
Once you get in touch with us to inform us of your injury and inquire about compensation, our experienced lawyers can give you professional, bespoke advice to help secure the compensation you deserve.We’re ready to fight your case. Get in touch with us by calling 0800 221 8888 or filling in an Enquiry Form online and you’ll receive genuine guidance from one of our specialist solicitors on a No Win No Fee basis.