Personal injury claims can be made when a person is injured as a result of another party’s negligence or breach in duty of care and seeks to claim compensation. There are many different types of personal injury claim, and these can be made for any injury that occurs in a public place or on private property, such as at work in the office, on the road, or in the supermarket. If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s worth checking with someone experienced to see if you’re eligible to make a personal injury claim.
What is a personal injury?
Personal injury is a legal term that refers to an injury that is physical or psychological. Such injuries can result in time off work leading to loss of earnings, extensive medical treatment, cancelled plans such as holidays, and modifications to the home to accommodate changes to lifestyle and physical ability in the most extreme cases of personal injury.
When opening a personal injury claim, these factors are taken into consideration when calculating the appropriate amount of compensation.
What are the most common personal injury claims?
Personal injury claims take many forms, but the most common are:
- Injuries at work: This could be an accident due to malfunctioning equipment, an obstruction that wasn’t properly signposted, or possibly your employer hasn’t done enough to offset a dangerous working environment, leading to personal health problems.
- Cycling accidents: This is where cyclists are injured on the road in accidents that were not their fault. Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users, with over 4,000 cyclists seriously injured in road accidents in the UK in 2020.
- Motorcycle accidents: Motorcyclists make up around one percent of road users but account for one in five serious injuries or deaths on UK roads.
- Slips, trips and falls: This could be while at work, while shopping, attending a public event, at school or college, or in another person’s home.
- Product liability: This is any injury caused by a faulty or defective product, such as electrical goods, sports equipment or a vehicle.
- Gym injuries: Whether it’s a slip on a wet floor that wasn’t signposted, a fall caused by free weights blocking a walkway, or an injury caused by faulty gym machinery, gym injuries are surprisingly common.
Of course, while these are the most common types of personal injury claim, it isn’t limited to these categories. If you’ve been involved in an accident that doesn’t fit any of these descriptions, it’s still worth getting in touch with InjuryLawyers4U to see if you have a case.
What can you claim for personal injury?
When claiming compensation for personal injury, there are a number of factors that contribute to the total value of your claim:
Loss of earnings claim/future loss of earnings
In cases where you have to take time off work due to an accident, the income lost over this period can be recovered. This is usually calculated by working out average monthly take-home pay in the three months leading up to the accident.
While it’s only fair that you are compensated for the impact an injury has on your life, you are also obligated to minimise your losses as much as possible. If, for example, your injury causes long-term limited range of motion or mobility and means you cannot return to your role, you must take steps to find an alternative role that is suitable. If the injury sustained is so severe that you’re no longer able to work, this could affect your pension entitlement. At InjuryLawyers4U, our expert solicitors will also include this in your claim if applicable.
Damage to clothing or personal effects
In some accidents, it’s possible that personal items and/or clothing is damaged. For example, if a motorcyclist collides with a negligent driver of a car, their clothes may be torn and their crash helmet damaged. Alternatively, if the accident in question was a slip, trip or fall, the injured person may have broken their glasses, or even dentures, upon impact. These are items that can also be claimed for, and retaining the receipts for the damaged items or their replacements could prove beneficial.
Equipment, adaptations to home living, nursing care costs
Along with the cost of treatment and rehabilitation, you can also claim for any equipment and adaptations that are needed both immediately following the injury and in the future. This could be a wheelchair, a stairlift or support rail, or a ramp to access the entrance of your home step free.
Should the injuries in question be life changing and nursing care is required, the cost of this can also be included in a personal injury claim.
Making a claim and time limits
When it comes to making a personal injury claim, there is a time limit of 3 years from the date of the accident to open a claim in most cases. So, in order to give yourself the best chance of securing compensation, it’s important to seek treatment, gather evidence and appoint a solicitor to pursue your claim as soon as possible.
Depending on the complexities of a particular claim, personal injury claims can take anywhere from 4 months to 3 years to be settled. Here’s a rough guide to each stage:
- Establish responsibility: The first stage of any personal injury claim is working out who the negligent party is. It could be another road user, an employer, restaurant owner, local authority or product manufacturer, depending on the accident scenario.
- Collect evidence: Write an account of the accident, who witnessed it, what you were doing before and who you believe is responsible. If you can take photos at the accident scene, these will be helpful, but of course not essential given the circumstances. If police were involved, your solicitor will be able to obtain a copy of the police report. CCTV footage may also be available too, or, if you were injured in a road traffic accident, dash cam footage may prove instrumental in a successful claim.
- Medical assessment: If you’ve already seen your GP or gone to hospital, your solicitor will need to access your medical records. If not, your lawyer can put you in touch with a medical professional for examination. As part of this, your solicitor will ask for photos of any visible injuries, speak to specialists to find out the length of the recovery period, as well as ascertain the long-term impact the injuries will cause.
- Medical treatment: We want you to have brilliant, effective treatment as soon as possible, and sometimes that means the need to access private care instead of NHS. Depending on the severity of your injuries, having a recovery plan with attainable goals is the fastest way back to relative normality. Your lawyer can put you in contact with the best medical professionals to help you work towards those goals. Then, we’ll review your recovery to check your progress and reassess the extent to which recovery is likely, if necessary.
Slow recovery can often delay the injury claim process, and it can often take time to build a full picture of the implications of a severe injury. Our solicitors will document your treatment and progress to ensure your evidence is always up to date and fully accurate.
- Calculate compensation amount: The level of compensation we’ll pursue will factor in your injuries and the pain they have caused, items damaged in the accident including clothing and vehicle driven (if applicable), cost of treatment, therapy and recovery, travel costs to and from medical appointments, loss of earnings, adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthetics, and care costs.
- Negotiation and settlement: Both you and the party you’re claiming against are allowed to suggest appropriate settlement amounts in the negotiation stage. While your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to accept an offer. If both parties can’t reach a settlement, the claim will go to a court hearing where a judge will decide how much compensation is appropriate. However, you can still receive offers for settlement even after a court date has been designated.
- Compensation: At this stage, you will have accepted an offer, or the court will have decided on compensation. Now, you can choose how you’d like to receive compensation. This can be as a lump sum (the most common choice), or as monthly or yearly payments, which are particularly useful if you require long term care and treatment.
Common Personal Injury Claims Misconceptions
There are several misconceptions around the personal injury claim process that can discourage victims of personal injury from submitting a claim, even when they are likely to be successful. Here are the most common of them:
- You’ll need to go to court: You’d be surprised how few personal injury claims go as far as court. The vast majority are settled out of court, with only around 2% to 3% of cases going to trial.
- Compensation will be taxed anyway: This is simply not true! You are entitled to 100% of any compensation you receive, and it’s completely exempt from tax.
- Appointing a solicitor will cost too much: Here at InjuryLawyers4U, we operate a no win no fee policy. That means it won’t cost you a penny if your claim is unsuccessful, and if it is successful, any legal fees will be deducted from your compensation anyway.
- I’ll lose my job if I claim against my employer: This is an understandable concern, however these claims are handled by the employer’s insurance company. Your employer is required by law to have this type of insurance, and they can’t discriminate or dismiss you for making a personal injury claim against them. Not only that, but your claim will help make your workplace safer by preventing the same situation from happening again.
- It’s too complicated: As expert solicitors, it’s our job to make the personal injury claim process as simple as possible for you. We’ll keep you informed on progress at every stage, and are always willing to explain anything that sounds complex.
Suffering an injury in an accident that wasn’t your responsibility can be a traumatic experience. While the injury itself can be painful and cause a dramatic change in lifestyle and work prospects in the worst cases, the impact is also financial. Treatment, rehabilitation, time off work, equipment to continue living as independently as possible – each of these factors cost money, and it’s a burden you shouldn’t have to have on your shoulders. After all, these are the knock-on effects of an incident that wasn’t your fault. That’s why it’s always important to seek compensation for personal injury.
At InjuryLawywers4U, we can help right from the start. Our experienced advisors can tell you from the outset whether they think you have grounds to make a personal injury claim, and if you wish to proceed, they’ll find an expert solicitor to handle your case. We operate a no win no fee policy, which means you won’t have to pay any upfront costs, and should your claim be successful, any legal fees will be deducted from your compensation.
Contact us by phone on 0800 221 8888, or if you’d prefer, fill in the contact form and our expert solicitors will arrange a call at a time that suits you.