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How to Make Personal Injury Claims

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault you may be entitled to claim compensation. A good first step in understanding the options available to you in a personal injury claim is booking an appointment with a specialist personal injury solicitor. In a consultation, a solicitor will be able to advise on the prospects of success for a claim as well as the next steps if a claim for compensation is made following an injury.

Depending on the nature of the accident, the process of a personal injury claim will vary. For example, in a road traffic accident, a claim can be brought directly against an insurer. Another factor that will impact the process of a claim is if the claim is disputed. An initial step in a personal injury claim is a letter before claim, drafted by a legal representative, which is sent to the proposed defendant. This includes core information about the basis of the claim, the facts relating to how the injury occurred and information relating to the amount and calculation of compensation.

Following this, a party may either accept or deny liability. There are also instances where a party accepts liability but disputes the manner in which compensation is calculated. In many cases, where liability is accepted there will be a negotiated settlement. This avoids going to court and resolves a claim more quickly. If a claim is disputed, proceedings will typically take longer to conclude. Another factor which can impact the timeframe of legal proceedings is the severity of the injury.

Read more for some further information on the steps involved in making a personal injury claim.

Initial Steps in Making a Personal Injury Claim

The initial steps in making a personal injury claim are ensuring that you have information recorded and booking a consultation with a specialist personal injury solicitor. If a personal injury solicitor can take on your case they will typically proceed on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis meaning that a personal injury claim can be made without taking on financial risk.

There are some limits on the timeframe in which a personal injury claim must be made following an accident. If the claim is being made for negligence resulting in injury then court proceedings must be issued within three years of the date the claimant was aware of the injury. If you were a child when you suffered the injury then the time limit is three years from the date you turned 18. Considering these time limits, if you want to make a claim following an injury you have suffered it is important to seek legal advice urgently.

Keeping a Record

It is important that you record information from the accident that resulted in injury. Following an accident, it is important to see a doctor. In addition to receiving information on any necessary steps to take for your health, this also ensures that there is a clear record of the injury. As part of a personal injury claim, a medical expert can perform an assessment to establish the severity of the injuries and any needs for long term care. Both these factors will have a bearing on the calculation of compensation for a personal injury claim.

Finding a Solicitor

In order to understand the legal options available if you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, it is important to seek professional legal advice from a solicitor. Using a database can be helpful in finding a solicitor to assist with your case. The Law Society have a search engine which can be used to find local solicitors with expertise in the required area of law. There is also a more advanced search engine which can be used to verify a solicitor’s SRA ID. When choosing a solicitor for legal advice on a personal injury case it is a good idea to opt for a local law firm with experience in cases similar to yours.

Booking a Consultation

Once you have found a specialist personal injury solicitor the next step is to book a consultation to discuss your case. Many personal injury solicitors will offer free consultations to establish whether they can take your case.

What is a ‘no win, no fee’ basis?

A personal injury lawyer will typically work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA). This means that you will only have to pay legal fees if your claim is successful and allows you to make a personal injury claim without it representing a financial risk. In the event of an unsuccessful claim, an adverse costs order can sometimes be made against the claimant. As a result of this many solicitors will obtain After the Event to protect against an adverse costs order in the event that a claim is unsuccessful.

The Process of a Personal Injury Claims

Depending on a number of factors, a personal injury claim can typically take around 6 months to a year if the claim is not disputed. Claims that are disputed will typically take longer than this. If injuries are severe or there are particularly complex or unusual substantive factors involved in a claim then it is also likely that the claim can take significantly longer. One of the first steps in a personal injury claim is seeking a personal injury medical assessment to clearly establish the nature and severity of any injuries. In some cases, it may be necessary for more than one expert to make an assessment where there are multiple injuries.

The Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury (PPP PI) claims provides a framework for the conduct of all parties in personal injury claims. This protocol is designed to help claims proceed fairly and efficiently. This ensures that parties have the relevant information required to understand the claim that is being made. The protocol also outlines a suggested framework for medical treatment and rehabilitation where it is required. The PPP PI also clearly outlines the information which is required to be included in various documents throughout a claim including the letter before claim.

How Are Damages Calculated

For a personal injury case, compensatory damages will be calculated in terms of general damages and special damages. General damages, or non-pecuniary losses, are damages which cannot be calculated mathematically at the date of the trial. These include pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Special damages are damages which can be mathematically assessed at the date of the trial. These relate to factors such as loss of earnings at the date of the trial, medical expenses and transportation costs.

Ogden tables are used to help determine compensatory damages in personal injury claims. By using multipliers to account for factors such as inflation and life expectancy, these actuarial tables can provide a lump sum figure in personal injury claims. There are other ways of calculating compensatory damages in personal injury cases, but Ogden tables are often used.

Do Personal Injury Claims Usually Go to Court?

Whilst there is significant variation depending on the nature of the accident, the vast majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court. If a claim is disputed then it is likely that it will go to court. A claim will also likely go to court if no response is received from a proposed defendant to the claim.

Book a Free Assessment With Trent Law

At Trent Law, we offer appointments to assess your incident with you free of charge in order to decide if we can take your case. If we can take your case we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so if your claim is unsuccessful you will not have to pay. We also obtain After the Event (ATE) insurance protecting against an adverse costs order if the claim is unsuccessful.

In order to book an appointment with one of our experienced solicitors in Nottingham, Derby or Sheffield call us today on 0333 3444 397 or fill out the form on our contact page and one of our team will get back to you.

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