Across the UK, millions of people are injured in accidents every year. In 2015/16, 621,000 people were injured at work and when you add this to the number of injuries sustained outside the workplace, the figures are quite alarming. Even minor and subtle injuries can gravely impact the quality of life and ability to make a living for the injured person.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, it’s simply not fair for you to bear the cost of that. Mentioned below is the process to make your personal injury claim.
1. Prepare Your Mind to Claim
Whether you have suffered injuries on the road, at work or outdoors, if someone else was to blame for the injuries, you could make a claim for personal injury. Even if you are partially responsible (although that could affect the compensation amount to be awarded), you can still make a compensation claim no matter how minor your injury is.
2. Contact a Solicitor
The next move is to contact a personal injury solicitor who is well-versed with this area of law. They are also experts in negotiating with insurance companies. In fact, many attorneys (but not all) offer an initial consultation for your personal injury claim free of cost, making it clear whether you have a rightful claim or not. If you’re looking to get a free assessment first, look for personal injury specialists such as WrightHassall who explicitly offer this. A personal injury specialist can make the claim process easier and increase your chances of securing maximum compensation.
3. Share Details
Your personal injury attorney will ask you several questions relating to the accident. The following information is often required to establish a personal injury compensation claim case:
- The date, location and nature of the accident
- How it happened
- Contact details of any witness
- The details of the injuries suffered and medical check-up, and treatment received
Your solicitor may take some pictures of the accident site. It’s also good to keep a diary to record any discomfort or disturbance caused by your injuries, such as difficulty in performing daily tasks and trouble sleeping. The legal practitioner may also require:
- The evidence of your loss of earnings and any other expense due to the injuries
- insurance policy documents if you have any to see whether they would cover your claim’s legal costs
- any other proof supporting your claim
4. Case Evaluation
Based on the information provided, your lawyer will make a detailed assessment to determine the case strength and the compensation amount you could claim. The lawyer will quantify the damages for your suffering and loss of amenity, pain and care costs. Also, the expert will explain the legal processes and how it can be funded.
5. Letter of Claim
Your attorney will dispatch a letter detailing your accident and injury sustained to ‘the defendant’, the person responsible for your injuries. The letter will also explain how the defendant acted negligently and is thereby responsible for the claim. The defendant is typically required to respond within 21 days of the letter issuance.
6. Out-of-Court Settlement
The majority of personal injury claims are usually settled out of court. Insurance companies often opt to settle at an early stage when there isn’t any dispute concerning the liability and severity of injuries. Your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyers will negotiate appropriate compensation; usually by having an informal meeting where the evidence accumulated is presented. Many people find this process advantageous for both parties, preventing the defendant from paying court fees.
7. Going to Court
In very severe cases where out-of-settlement is not possible or there is a dispute, the victim may have to attend court. In such a situation, your attorney will explain the court process and convince you to take legal action. Though it may be intimidating to take your matter to court, the court will pass the case to a judge and then decide the date of hearing. The attorney will have prepared and explained to you everything in detail about your case and specifically what to expect by that stage. Then it’s merely a matter of waiting to know the court order.
8. Getting Your Payout
Once you have agreed to an offer of settlement as declared by your judge, you will typically receive the compensation amount within 14 to 28 days. However, certain factors may affect this timescale. In the case of an out-of-court settlement, your solicitor will ensure that you receive your compensation within the reasonable period of 14 days. A case settlement determined at a court hearing also state when the payment is due, which is usually within 21 days from the date of the order. In case the payment is missed, your solicitor can legally enforce the order with the help of further court proceedings.