Think you need to make a claim for a personal injury?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it can feel a little daunting to know which way to turn. The purpose of making a claim is to get the financial support you need to get back into the place you were in before your accident.
Seek medical attention straight away:
If you have been injured, the first thing you should do is to get medical attention. Most importantly to help with your recovery, but also to ensure your injury is recorded independently. Failing to seek medical attention after an accident can sometimes damage your claim and the amount you are able to recover.
Make your claim immediately:
Don’t wait until you are back at work to make your claim as this can lead to financial problems down the line when costs start mounting up. If you progress it straight away the details will be fresh in your mind and you can get things sorted as quickly as possible.
Ask for an interim payment:
With complex injuries and treatment, it can sometimes take some time for the doctors to be able to predict your recovery. In turn this can delay settlement of your claim. But don’t panic, because you may be entitled to apply for what is called an ‘interim payment’. This essentially means you will be given a lump sum early on in the proceedings, to help you with any immediate costs such as paying your mortgage if you are unable to work. This is something the specialist advice of your solicitor may be able to help you secure.
Record your expenses:
whether it is a taxi home, medical bills or extra phone calls, keep a log of all your expenses and the receipts as you may be able to claim these back. You should also maintain records of lost wages if the injury has caused you miss work and lose pay or overtime or a bonus.
Be careful what you say:
Whether talking to a doctor or to friends on Facebook, it is important you are accurate and consistent about how the accident occurred and the pain and inconvenience you have suffered. You should also be very careful what you put on social media, as insurers can take anything that is in the public domain into account when assessing your claim.
Don’t sign anything without fully understanding it:
Make sure you have read all forms and documents thoroughly and that you completely understand the terms. This includes Accident Books, medical treatment summaries and insurance forms. It’s best to get a solicitor to review anything before you sign or fill anything out to make sure.
Don’t accept the first offer your get from the insurer:
Many people are made a pre-medical assessment offer by insurers. Whilst a lump sum can be appealing to accept straight away, be very wary of doing so. Until a full medical evaluation is done and your solicitor has looked at your case in detail, it is impossible to calculate the real cost to you. In particular you may be entitled to compensation for future losses (such as lost income or medical treatment). Also before your medical examination you will not know when you will make a full recovery or if it is predicted you will suffer longer term consequences from the injury. It’s always best to seek legal advice before liaising with insurance companies and discussing settling your claim.
Be aware of deadlines:
Make sure that you take note of the deadlines for your claim and ideally complete documentation ahead of time. For most personal injury claims, you have 3 years to settle your claim or issue court proceedings. But this can be reduced to one or two years in certain situations. If the accident was abroad, different rules may apply. It is also more complicated if you did not realise someone else was to blame. Your solicitor can advise what deadline applies to your particular situation so you’re not left unable to pursue your claim.
Document your progress:
Keep track of all the relevant paperwork and documentation you receive as this will help speed up your claim and ensure your get the help you need more quickly. It’s helpful to get a box or folder dedicated to your claim, and then drop all your documents in there to keep things together.
Don’t listen to what others say:
Don’t be put off by what others may say and by not wanting to give in to the so-called ‘compensation culture.’ Making a claim for personal injury is the same as if you were to claim after having a car accident or losing your luggage. Insurance is there for a reason and we are here to help you through what can be a difficult time.
Visit www.qualitysolicitors.com for more information and to find your nearest firm.