Injury Claims FAQs

Personal injuries include; a physical injury to your body, or an illness, condition or disease.  A personal injury might also be psychological in nature.  Examples include an injury or illness caused by your work, an injury caused while driving, psychological stress caused by someone else, an injury caused by a faulty product, an injury or condition caused by a medical error, or an injury caused by someone breaking the law.

The important consideration when making any of the above injury claims is that they must have occurred as a result of someone else’s action or inaction.  Even if a person or an organisation was only partly responsible for your illness or injury then you may still seek to make a compensation claim.

However the normal time limit for making a personal injury claim is three years from the date of your accident.

If the accident causes a fatality, the three year time limit does not start running until the date of death rather than the date of the accident. This means that, in effect, if a person dies during a personal injury claim process, then that person’s family have another three years from the date of death to pursue the claim.

In work-related illness claims, or with claims in which it hasn’t been clear at first what caused the injury or illness, the three-year period will start from the date you knew or suspected that your illness was caused by your work.  An example of this would be an asbestos-related illness, which may not cause certain symptoms until years later.

In some circumstances it may be possible to make a claim outside the normal time limits.  For example personal injury claims involving children have different time limits. You can make a claim on behalf of your child up until they are 18 years old, or once they’re 18 they will have an additional three years to decide themselves whether to make a claim.

The time limits relating to a personal injury claim can occasionally be complex, so you should take legal advice to clarify how this might apply to you.

However, if a child under the age of eighteen has been injured as a result of someone else then as a parent you need to know what your options are, quickly.

First of all, although a child is not allowed to make a personal injury claim for themselves, as their parent you can decide if you would like to make a claim on their behalf.

Alternatively you can leave the decision for them to make when they reach eighteen years old. Your child will then have three years in which to make a claim, assuming a claim has not already been made.

It’s normal for a personal injury claim to have a time limit of three years, after which a person is not normally permitted to pursue a claim.  However for children who have suffered a personal injury or accident, the law applies this three-year limit from the date of their eighteenth birthday.

If you decide to pursue a compensation claim on behalf of your child, and a compensation payment is awarded, then that sum is likely to be held in a special investment account that can be accessed when the injured child turns 18.  However the court may release funds before that time if it can be shown that the injured child needs money for matters directly relating to the injury; such as specialist equipment or education.

You can claim compensation if your spouse, civil partner or child (under 18) has a fatal accident. If you were not married, but were living together for more than 2 years, you will be treated as a married partner and can therefore claim. You have three years from the date of death to claim.

As well as compensation for your partner’s pain and suffering, you can claim for any losses that you have suffered. For example, you might claim for the loss of your partner’s future income and help around the house, and also for funeral costs.

In additional you will normally be entitled to a standard bereavement award of £12,980.

You should be able to claim compensation for the financial loss you suffer when you need to take time off because of your accident. You are required to do what you can to minimise any losses, so you should return to work when you are able to.

 Compensation can cover the loss of basic pay, bonuses and overtime. Any sick pay that you receive will reduce the amount of compensation you can claim. If you are self-employed, you will need to provide evidence of the losses you have suffered: for example, records of past earnings and current contracts.

In severe cases, your injury may reduce your expected future earnings. If so, you should be able to claim compensation for this as well.

Your compensation claim can also include medical costs you have incurred following your accident. These might include the costs of medications and treatments such as physiotherapy. You should keep all receipts as evidence of your expenses.

 

You can still make a personal injury claim even if you are partly responsible for the accident or for the extent of your injuries.  

If the defendant can prove that your injuries were more serious as a result of your ‘contributory negligence’, then you will have a percentage of your compensation deducted. The reduction is not based on your responsibility for the accident, but on the extent to which your injuries were made worse as a result of your actions.

 

You will need to get a medical report to assess your injuries and confirm how they were caused. For more serious injuries, it may take some time before it is clear how severe the effects will be.

In simple cases, negotiating an agreement often takes between three and nine months. Negotiations can be more complicated if you have serious injuries, or if they argue that someone else was to blame or that your injuries are partly your own fault.

Estimating how long a personal injury compensation claim will take to settle is very difficult, as naturally each incident is different.  But if you wanted a rough estimate then, once the other party has agreed that they’re responsible, a driving accident claim might settle within 8 months, a workplace accident claim may settle within 9 months, an industrial disease claim may take up to 18 months, and a medical negligence claim can take up to 36 months to settle.

In some cases, the other party may accept that they are at least partly to blame, but it may take some time to agree how much compensation would be fair. If so, it may be possible to negotiate an interim payment to help you cope with any financial difficulties.

There’s one important factor to take into account if you’re thinking about trying to obtain a quick settlement, for whatever reason.  In personal injury claims, when a settlement is paid, it is almost always paid on the assumption that it is a ‘full and final’ payment.  That means you can’t subsequently make another compensation claim in future for that incident. 

So, just imagine you rushed a personal injury compensation claim through before you’d fully recovered, then received a full and final payment from the other party, and then your injury had developed into something much worse that required or deserved a higher settlement.  In this instance, you’d have no grounds for pursuing a further claim.  If you subsequently suffered from loss of earnings or accrued additional expenses as a result of a worsening condition then you’d have to bear these without any further recompense.

Personal injury claims are made up of a number of different components.

You are entitled to claim for compensation for the injuries you had from the accident. The amount of compensation you are awarded will depend on how serious your injury is. For example, if your knee was dislocated in an accident, you might expect around £10,000. However, severe damage to your knee, causing considerable pain and requiring lengthy treatment, might justify a claim of £50,000.

In addition you can claim for any lost earnings, bonuses, overtime or pension contributions. If you are self-employed, you can claim for any earnings or contracts you may have lost.

If you have specific medical treatment needs such as rehabilitation or physiotherapy this will be included in your claim, as will any prescription costs or over the counter medication.

If your injuries are life-changing, you will be awarded compensation to help pay for any future care needs such as nursing, specialist equipment, and adaptations needed to your vehicle or house.

The amount of compensation you receive can be decided in court. Normally, your lawyer will be able to negotiate a settlement without the need for this.

At QualitySolicitors we can usually manage a personal injury claim on a no-win, no-fee basis, provided your case is strong enough. These are also referred to as ‘Conditional Fee Agreements’ or CFAs. By using a no win, no fee agreement to bring your personal injury claim, you are protected from paying your solicitor’s legal costs if you lose.

Most people who approach us in make use of our Free Initial Assessment, which is a quick free five-minute chat that enables you to tell us what’s happened, and then allows us to tell you how we can help you and what to do next. 

After that we’ll lead you through the entire process, step-by-step, so you’ll always know what’s happening with your case from start to finish.

If you win your claim, your legal costs will usually be paid for by the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. You’ll pay a success fee to your lawyers but this is capped at a maximum of 25% of the compensation you recover.

There are other options available such as legal expenses insurance, which you may already have as part of your motor or home insurance. You could also have legal cover if you are part of a trade union.

Your first step is to make a free initial enquiry. This will help you understand how strong your case is and what the best way forward is.

Work accidents are often the result of poor health and safety practices. If so, you are likely to be entitled to compensation from your employer.

It will be a concern for you to make a personal injury claim against your employer. However, they are not allowed to treat you differently as a result of your claim. You cannot be demoted, sacked or over-looked for promotion because you are making a work accident claim.

In reality, most compensation claims for accidents at work are simply dealt with by your employer’s insurance company without any consequences for how you are treated. If you do find that you are being victimised, you should take legal advice.

 

This type of compensation is known as Criminal Injuries Compensation, and it is designed to be an available source of funds for people who haven’t been able to secure a compensation settlement through other means.

Assuming you’ve already tried and failed to seek a compensation settlement, you only have two years from the date of the crime in which to bring the claim, and the incident must have been reported to the Police within a reasonable amount of time after the incident.

To reiterate, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority only provides criminal injuries compensation as a last resort. You will first need to see whether there are other ways in which you can be compensated: for example, by making a claim against whoever attacked you or by claiming under an insurance policy.

If you have any doubts then an initial enquiry to a solicitor will help you decide what your best option is.

If you are still suffering (emotionally or physically) as a result of a violent crime, then please consider contacting the Victim Support service, as they are a free service who have much experience in helping people deal with violent crime. 

Have a question or need some help? Call us today on 08082747557

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