Overview of the Personal Injury Claims Process

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Personal Injury Claims Process

Have you been injured as a consequence of negligence by a third party? Perhaps you have developed a medical condition as a consequence of your previous working environment?

There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding the personal injury claims process.

In this article, we will attempt to address many of these misconceptions, plotting a clear path to justice.

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Do I Have to Prove Negligence?

In order to pursue compensation, you have to prove that one or more third parties were negligent, resulting in your injuries. Negligence is the foundation of tort law and revolves around a “duty of care” to the claimant.

This relates to a case back in 1932 in which a judge defined negligence and duty of care. It has become the bedrock of personal injury compensation claims since then - even in cases where the claimant has been partially responsible for the injuries.

How Do I Prove Negligence?

 

You will need to provide as much evidence as possible to prove negligence. While the type of evidence will vary from case to case, some of the more common elements of evidence include:-

  • Medical records
  • Witness statements
  • Medical assessment on the day
  • Photographic evidence
  • Timeline of events
  • Details of post-incident pain and suffering
  • Evidence of negligence
  • Details of inadequate training
  • A pattern of similar incidents in the past
  • Evidence of inappropriate/lack of safety equipment

This list is by no means exclusively but does give you an idea of the type of evidence required to prove negligence. It is obviously important to gather this information as quickly as possible, while everything is fresh in your mind, but sometimes this may be difficult because of your injuries.

However, once you have gathered as much evidence as possible, it is time to approach a personal injury claims management company.

Do I Have to Use a Personal Injury Claims Management Company?

No. You can pursue a personal injury claim under your own steam although there are a number of issues to consider. The UK legal system is not as straightforward as many people assume.

There is also evidence to suggest that claims management companies have experience in negotiating better rates of compensation with successful cases. There is also the issue of “no win, no fee” to consider which has allowed many negligent third parties to be held to account.

Small Claims Court

The UK government is currently in the midst of making significant changes to the Small Claims Court process in relation to personal injury claims. At this moment in time, you can pursue a personal injury claim valued at a maximum of £1000 through the Small Claims Court.

Ongoing changes have been made in order to address suspect claims where the compensation is often less than the legal expenses. You’re not able to claim legal expenses when pursuing a prosecution by the Small Claims Court. As the vast majority of personal injury compensation claims in the UK are greater than the Small Claims Court maximum, you might wish to consider employing the services of a personal injury claims management company.

How Do I Find a Claims Management Company?

The Internet is a hive of information, both theoretical and practical. The personal injury claims market has grown significantly in recent years. As a consequence, there are many personal injury claims experts you can approach. Some of them will specialise in specific areas, but the vast majority will have experience right across the board.

Will a Claims Management Company Review My Evidence?

Yes.  The first thing any claims management company will do is sit down to discuss your case, and review your evidence. They will give an independent assessment of your chances of success and any action you can take to improve those odds.

If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of a successful prosecution, the chances are they will offer to take on your case. Many will do so under a “no win, no fee” arrangement which effectively indemnifies you from any costs incurred by the claims management company when pursuing your case. In exchange, they will look to negotiate what is termed a “success fee” which is effectively a share of any compensation received.

Is There a Time Limit for Claiming Compensation?

At this point, it is worth noting there is a three-year window of opportunity during which to claim personal injury compensation as a consequence of negligence. This timeframe generally begins on the date of your accident, when most people are diagnosed.

However, if for example, you developed an injury further down the line or some kind of medical condition, the timeframe is different. In these scenarios, the three-year timescale will begin on the date you were officially diagnosed with an injury/medical condition.

Where the injury/accident involves a minor, their parent/legal guardian can pursue compensation on their behalf, or they can wait until they turn 18. If they decide to wait until their 18th birthday, the three-year timeframe will begin on that date.

What Is the Average Success Fee?

While it will vary from case to case, the average success fee tends to be around 25% of the compensation received. Research suggests that claims management companies are often able to negotiate a multiple of the average compensation negotiated by an individual, pursuing the case under their own steam.

So, it could be argued that claims management companies effectively pay for themselves. In the event of a successful prosecution, they may also be able to claim expenses from the defendant.

What Is the Process of Claiming Personal Injury Compensation?

Once you have found a personal injury claims company willing to take on your case, they will lodge your claim for compensation with the defendant. This will also include your evidence of negligence and details of the compensation you are requesting.

As we will cover later in this article, there are two specific types of compensation, general damages and special damages. The defendant must acknowledge receipt of your claim within 21 days and a full response within three months of the acknowledgement. At this point, the defendant will either refute or accept your claims of negligence.

What Happens if Negligence Is Denied?

Many defendants will forward new evidence if they refute allegations of negligence. Upon consideration, the claimant, advised by their claims management company, will either pursue or withdraw their claim. If they pursue the claim, it will likely go to the courts where a judge will make a ruling.

What Happens if Negligence Is Accepted?

If the defendant accepts they were negligent and wholly/partly responsible for your injuries, then it is simply a case of negotiating compensation. There are two scenarios here:-

  • In the majority of cases, there will be an out-of-court settlement which will reduce the defendant’s legal expenses, and see the claimant receive funds relatively quickly.
  • Where the two parties are unable to agree on compensation, this will be decided by the court.

When looking at compensation, there are two elements to consider, general damages and special damages.

What Are General Damages?

General damages are best described as financial compensation for pain and suffering as a consequence of the accident. This type of compensation is based upon Judicial College guidelines which cover the majority of injuries/illnesses experienced. As a consequence, the level of general damages awarded will be limited.

What Are Special Damages?

While this list is by no means exclusive, special damages are financial compensation for expenses to date, future medical expenses, loss of earnings and any special needs, as a consequence of your injuries/illness.

In theory, the level of special damages is unlimited and often significantly greater than general damages.

Summary

The first requirement when pursuing personal injury compensation is to prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties. If you are able to provide evidence of negligence, then this opens the door to claim compensation.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

 

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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