It is estimated that there are over three million people that are injured in an accident each year. This can be at home, in their own car, at work or even outdoors. Most of the time, these accident are someone else’s fault. This leaves the accident victims with the right to claim for compensation. But how should you do you this? What is the process of a personal injury claim? Read on to find out.
Filing for a personal injury claim is something that, naturally, you will want expert help with.
Regarding the process of a personal injury claim, clients often wonder what the main steps are.
The claim process, in England and Wales, can be found below:
- Claimant endures an injury and consults a solicitor.
- Claimant and solicitor will then agree on a Letter of Engagement thus setting out the terms which the solicitor can act on.
- Solicitor will identify the defendant(s), compile important information relating to the claim, as well as make the necessary preparation for a Letter of Claim (in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claim)
- Letter of Claim will be sent to the defendant who is obliged to acknowledge it within 3 weeks. Following that, the defendant will then have just 3 months to investigate the claim.
- If the defendant admits all liability, the parties will discuss the damage etc and work towards settling the case.
- In the event of the defendant denying liability, or admits to only partial liability (possibly alleging contributory negligence), both parties will review the damage(s) and liability in an attempt to settle the case – however, ordinarily the claimant is to only discuss settlement following a disclosure of evidence from the defendant.
- It should be noted that either party is allowed to make a Part 36 Offer under Civil Procedure Rules: i) if the Part 36 Offer is accepted, or the parties settle the amount of damage that has been caused, the case will end and the defendant will have to pay the claimant in the manner agreed in the settlement, ii) however, if the Part 36 Offer is not accepted or the parties are otherwise unable to agree on liability as well as the damage,t he claimant will likely notify the solicitor to go ahead and issue court proceedings.
- The claimant’s solicitor would issue the proceedings (often with a medical report and special damages calculations)
- The claimant’s solicitor or court serves proceedings on the defendant (this has to be within 4 months of the issuance of proceedings)
- The case will proceed in accordance with the court’s case management procedures
- If the case happens to be settled before the trial, the dispute will cease and the defendant will need to pay the claimant in the manner agreed in the settlement
- In the outcome that the parties do not settle the dispute, the case will proceed to trial in order to determine liability and the damage(s)
- The court will then issue a judgement on the liability and the damages
- If the defendant is found liable, they are obliged to pay the claimant damages following the court’s order
Both claimant and defendant work can be covered in personal injury claims by Chartlands Chambers.
In order to make a personal injury claim, a variety of documents will be needed.
However, the documents needed generally vary on the circumstances for the individual case.
Evidence requirements for an accident claim
Once you have decided on your solicitor, at the outset of your claim, they will explain the documents you will need to produce to support your claim. You will be known as the Claimant (the party that is bringing the claim) meaning you will need to prove it with a sufficient amount of evidence showing who is to be held liable.
Below we will discuss the required documents at the outset of a compensation claim.
Evidence and documents required at the outset
The documents needed will relate to identification and funding issues. With regards to money laundering regulations, your solicitor may request identification documents at the outset of your claim thus enabling your solicitor to comply with certain regulations and open up your file correctly.
The initial matter that will be discussed between you and your solicitor will be how you, as the Claimant, intend to fund your claim. Following this, you may be asked to provide copies of insurance policies you have which may include, motor or household insurance – these will be checked in order to see if you’ve acquired pre-existing legal expense insurance which may be able to assist with the funding of your claim.
Prior to deciding whether you’d like to proceed with your claim, your solicitor will assess your chances of success. To do this, your solicitor will require:
– Any written reports covering any details and/or specifics about the accident i.e. where the accident happened; if any police attended etc.
– Documentation you have from any witnesses
– Photos from the location of the accident
– Photos of your injuries
These types of documents may also be required a little later on through your claim if liability becomes an issue. Under these particular circumstances you will be asked to provide the other party’s insurance company with further documentation and evidence. Varying on the type of accident, this may involve:
– Accident in the workplace – specifications of damaged machinery that is responsible for the accident
– Industrial disease – any medical evidence that presents the cause of the industrial disease and how it links to the company responsible
– Road traffic accident – sketch plan of position of vehicles and any photos of the road markings
– Trip or slip – Photos that capture a raised paving slab or any other tripping hazard that is responsible for your fall
It will be useful for you to take photos of your injuries as these will help with the value of your claim. This is a crucial step if you have come out on an accident with scarring.
Log the events
It is advised to log the events that occurred, recalling everything from the circumstances that lead up to the accident (regarding a road traffic accident, the4 weather conditions, visibility levels and the speed/flow of the traffic) to the events that immediately followed the accident (conversations with witnesses, calls made to and from your GP and/or insurance companies, conversation with the other party/employers).
Make note of family and friends who had helped you if you were in the hospital; who visited and what assistance you needed from them etc.
Each year sees over three million people injured in accidents, at home, work, while driving, or outdoors.
A majority of cases include the fault from someone else, this would give the victim of the accident the right to compensation.
With the help of personal injury solicitor, the process of making a claim can be much more simple. They will remain by your side during the deals made with insurance companies to make sure your individual circumstances are fully taken into account.
Making the claim
The initial step will cover sending a claim letter to the person/people or company that you are individually holding responsible for your accident (the defendant). This letter will entail a detailed account of your injury and the events.
The defendant must then reply to that letter within a fixed period of time (approximately between three months, however in many cases the time will be much shorter.)
Their letter should state whether they accept or deny liability for your injury.
If the case is accepted, your solicitor will aid in settling the matter in court.
Making the offer
Your solicitor should be able to quote to your the value of your claim and may ask you the amount of compensation that you would be willing to accept, also whether you would be willing to make an ‘offer to settle’ (Part 36 offer.)
You should be advised by your solicitor about a Part 36 offer and how it will affect you
Settling matters in court
If matters cannot be settled in court, there should be a discussion between yourself and your solicitor involving legal action and if it would be best to take it.
What your solicitor will need
In order for the details of your case to established, your solicitor will need to be given the following information:
– the date of the accident
– the contact details for any possible witnesses
– a detailed account of your injuries, medical diagnosis and the treatment you received
-evidence whether you are a member of the trade union or have any legal expenses insurance policies, as this may entitle you to a free legal representation or one with a significantly reduced cost
Your solicitor may also need access to:
– proof of the earnings you lost and/or any other financial expenses that are due to the injury
– any documents that relate to any insurance policies you have aka household insurance or motor insurance, to check if these could cover any costs of your claim
– any evidence that could be used to support your claim, this could include documents prior to the accident or previous accidents with similar circumstances
Further information about our personal injury law service can be found on our website.
A personal injury claim is usually put through when an individual has suffered injury in any accident which wasn’t their fault, this process can sometimes be very lengthy depending upon the situation, but the first step would be to contact a local solicitor who will specialise in these claims.
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What happens in a Personal Injury Claim?
When an injury has an injury usually at work or even road traffic incidents then the first step would be to contact a solicitor so that the situation/claim can be discussed, once the solicitor has got as much information as possible they can then see the best form of action for the claim.
The next step is paperwork, fortunately if it was a road traffic accident worth £10k or less then this will be done via an electronic system ‘MOJ Portal’, this portal will send the request/information to the insurers to see if they accept liability.
If accepted the next stage involves looking at details for medical evidence and loses/expenses, before then a letter of claim will be sent out to the other party in which they’ll have up to 3 months to investigate and act.
If the case is to proceed further this may go to a court proceeding in which the other party will then have to obtain a Defence, between the court proceedings and the case going to trail there are many other steps which must be taken to ensure the information is correct and the evidence is collected to use.
Most of the time cases are settled without a court proceeding or even trail and can be settled at the procedural steps leading up. If it was to go to court then they’ll decide whether the defendants can be liable for the accident/value of the clam.
How long can this process take?
This process from when the claim was made can take usually up to 3/4 months however, this all depends on how serious the claim or sustained injuries are, in this case it could take many months.
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