Making a Personal Injury Claim – What You Need to Know
Accidents happen – there’s just no way to avoid them sometimes, no matter how hard you try. You can be minding your own business, walking down the street taking in the fresh air, admiring the new stock in the window of that designer store you like so much but could never afford, and BANG, you’ve tripped over a raised paving slab and hurt yourself. As I say, accidents happen, and more than three million people each year are hurt either in their cars, at work or going about their daily lives.
In a lot of these cases, the accident is caused by someone or something else that could – and should – have been avoided, and the person affected may be subjected to severe injury. In this instance the person affected is entitled to compensation for their injuries, particularly if they’re off work because of it or their lives are affected – maybe they can’t drive the kids to school, or maybe they have to stay off their feet for a period of time, or even have a spell in hospital.
A lot of people, particularly in the UK, unfortunately live within the “compensation culture” that has developed in the past few years. Since employment and disposable income took a battering, it’s vital for them to find money wherever they can and they’ve turned to making injury claims that are in fact false, not only wasting the time of the solicitor who took the case on thinking that it was legitimate only for the “victim” to change their story when it got to court, but putting the person or company accused of being at fault through unnecessary stress.
The whole claim process can be quite complicated, especially if you have little or no legal knowledge. To cope with the compensation culture and changing laws associated with personal injury both domestically and in a professional capacity, there are increasing numbers of solicitors now working specifically on personal injury claims. These industry experts can provide the necessary expertise and knowledge to help with the claim process, ensuring that those who have genuinely been affected through no fault of their own get the compensation they deserve.
Before a solicitor will take on your case, however, they need to get a few specific details from you to help them establish whether or not there is a case, saving everyone the time, money and stress associated with legal proceedings. These are:
- The date, location and nature of the accident. Some solicitors won’t take on cases that happened before a certain time; and it’s vital that they get the full circumstances associated with the injury.
- Contact details for any witnesses. To ensure that a claim is legitimate, they will need the details of anyone who might have seen the incident occur to get their account.
- Details on the injury/injuries suffered. A medical report will be required to ensure that you were treated quickly and sufficiently, getting the best possible treatment. If the doctors felt that you were severely injured, this will work in your favour but if the injuries were so minor that you were discharged with a few painkillers, they might take a different view on your injury case.
- Proof of how your life has been affected. The solicitors will require details on how the injury has affected your working life – in terms of loss of earnings and financial expenses such as trips to the hospital for check-ups.
- Any extra information that could help pour claim. If you have any paperwork that could support your injury claim – such as doctors notes or incident reports from your employer, this will help your solicitor with the process.