I’ve Suffered an Injury, What Are My Legal Rights & How Do I Claim Compensation?

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Comprehensive Guide to Personal Injury and Compensation

An injury is never pleasant, but it’s even worse when somebody else is to blame. You’ll likely be feeling frustrated, angry, or annoyed. If you recover quickly, very little harm is done, but sometimes an injury that wasn’t your fault can have a long-term impact on your life.

If an injury has caused you a lasting problem, you might deserve compensation. This money can help to make amends for the physical and emotional impact.

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What Are the Personal Injury Compensation Levels?

For a minor injury, you’re unlikely to get much compensation. If your injury is minor but affects you for a while, you might be able to claim. More severe injuries, including life-changing injuries, can result in much larger sums of money.

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Severe Injury Compensation Levels

Severe injuries can vary dramatically, and what counts as severe can range from an amputated leg to brain damage that leaves somebody in a vegetative state.

The highest compensation payments are usually for severe brain damage or complete paralysis. Here, there’s the potential for compensation of up to £350,000.

An injury causing permanent loss of speech could lead to compensation of £120,000. Permanent blindness might mean a compensation pay-out of around £220,000. Meanwhile, damage to the face, even if it changes someone’s look, might get less than £50,000.

Limb amputations can be compensated by around £100,000 to £250,000—damage to internal organs, up to £150,000.

Minor Injury Compensation Levels

You may be entitled to compensation even for a minor injury or one that resolves relatively quickly. For these types of injuries, compensation pay-outs are small but may still be worth chasing.

Mild tinnitus might result in a pay-out of more than £5,000. Damage to a tooth could lead to compensation of more than £1,000, whilst you could get up to £3,000 for small injuries that you recover from in less than three months. Even if you recover within seven days, you might still be entitled to compensation of more than £500.

What Do I Need To Do if I’ve Suffered a Personal Injury?

Your first steps to compensation will depend on where the accident happens. It’s important to know your legal rights and how to go about claiming compensation in different scenarios.

I’ve Suffered an Injury at Work, What Should I Do?

If you’re injured at work, it’s important that an accident record is kept. If you’re well enough, you can see that this gets filled out whilst you’re there. The record should state exactly what happened, so it can be used as evidence when claiming compensation.

If you’re severely injured, a colleague can submit an accident form on your behalf. This should ideally be someone that witnessed the accident.

After your accident, make sure that a manager has been informed about what happened. Filling in the accident book means nobody can deny what happened. Try and photograph your injuries, or ask someone else to do this for you. Photographic evidence is more effective than the written word alone.

If you can, make a note of any witnesses that might be willing to give a witness statement. These might include your colleagues at work but could also include your customers or on-site contractors.

I’ve Suffered an Injury at Work, What Are My Legal Rights?

As you claim compensation, decision-makers will seek to determine who was at fault. If you were doing something you shouldn’t have been, you might be found to be at fault. If your injury was caused by poor training, policy, or damaged equipment at work, then you might be entitled to financial recompense.

Your employer should have insurance to cover the cost of any compensation payments. This money should not come out of your employer’s own pocket.

If an injury wasn’t your fault, you’re entitled to compensation for the injury itself and any resulting loss of earnings or additional costs. You may also be entitled to compensation for effects on your mental health if the pain had an impact or you’re left with some lasting trauma. Mental health payments can also be made if your injury forced you to give up some aspect of your usual lifestyle or a hobby.

I’ve Suffered an Injury From a Car Accident, What Should I Do?

Proving fault in a car accident is particularly tricky. If you have a dash-cam, this is a great form of video evidence. Otherwise (and, in fact, even with video footage), your highest priority after a crash should be finding any nearby witnesses.

If you’re not too badly injured, try to make a note of witness contact details. Take photographs of your injuries and any damage to your car. Make sure you have the details (including insurance details) of anyone else that was involved.

If you were injured in a car when nobody else was involved (for example, if you crashed as a result of poorly maintained roads), then you might be able to claim compensation through the council. If possible, photograph the cause of your accident like a pothole that sent you off-course.

I’ve Suffered an Injury From a Car Accident, What Are My Legal Rights?

Gathering evidence after a car accident is stressful. Even if the incident seems relatively minor, you have a right to contact the police and ask them to attend the scene. The police can help to record what happened, find witnesses and take your statement.

If an accident’s more severe and you’re not able to collect your own evidence, then it’s likely that police and paramedics will be in attendance very quickly. They should automatically take over the role of finding out how the accident occurred, as your top priority is having your injuries managed.

After you’ve recovered from the accident, you can request a copy of any related police report. This can provide important evidence when you’re claiming compensation.

You could be compensated for medical costs, psychological harm, and additional costs that occurred as a result of the accident.

I’ve Suffered an Injury on a Public Walkway, What Should I Do?

You would think that you’re safe just walking down the street, but accidents can happen anyway. From tripping on loose paving to being knocked by an errant cyclist, there are many ways to get injured on a public walkway.

After your accident, if you’re able, get the names of any nearby witnesses. Do your best to note what happened, including the location and time. If you can, take photographs of injuries and anything nearby that led to them. Poorly maintained pavements or loose drain covers are common causes of accidents.

Keep records of any medical attention you received for your injury. If an accident was caused by poorly maintained roads or pavements, you should make a written complaint to your local authority. Send written complaints with recorded delivery, so you can prove they reached their destination.

When deciding if compensation is due, it will be determined whether or not the other party was to blame. A council won’t be held responsible if there’s a loose paving slab that they didn’t know about but will be held responsible if it’s found that they knew and made no efforts to repair it. They’re also expected to check busy areas, like town centers, more frequently. If you were injured somewhere with high footfall, then you can argue that the area should have been monitored more often.

I’ve Suffered an Injury on a Public Walkway, What Are My Legal Rights?

If your accident occurred as a result of damage to a footpath or road, your claim is only likely to be successful if you tripped on an area at least 1 inch higher or lower than its surroundings. This 1-inch difference is considered enough to be a cause that wasn’t your fault, whilst smaller cracks or potholes might be considered to be less of a risk to the public.

Most people don’t carry a ruler, so if you tripped on a pothole or a loose slab, you might need clear photographic evidence. If you have another item like a coin or credit card, use this to indicate height. Any item will work, as long as you can present it at a later date so it can be measured again.

The more evidence you can collect, the better your chance of a successful compensation claim. You have a right to ask local businesses for CCTV footage that’s recorded, so do consider asking for this if you want to boost your chances of success.

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I’ve Suffered an Injury What Processes Do I Need To Follow?

Knowing who you need to inform and what processes you need to follow will ensure that there’s appropriate evidence if you need to make a claim.

I’ve Suffered an Injury at Work, What Processes Do I Need To Follow?

After an accident at work, make sure that the incident’s recorded in the accident book. It should be recorded with as much detail as possible. If you’re not in a good state to record this yourself, ask a colleague to make sure that the details are written down. Ideally, this should be checked for accuracy at the soonest opportunity.

Your accident should have been reported to the manager on duty. Making someone aware is essential, and the manager’s responsible for making sure that your injuries are properly dealt with. They should also make sure that any faulty equipment is properly managed straight away, so it doesn’t lead to further injuries at work.

I’ve Suffered an Injury From a Car Accident, What Processes Do I Need To Follow?

If you’re in a car accident, stop straight away. Exchange your details with anyone else that was involved. Take photographic evidence of any damage, and check that you’ve collected the details of any witnesses. If nobody’s around and the accident happened without another vehicle involved, photographic evidence becomes even more important. If something on the road caused you to lose control, take photographs of where it happened.

The police should be informed of any road incident and will likely want to be in attendance. They can help to gather the relevant evidence that you’ll need to later make a claim.

I’ve Suffered an Injury on a Public Walkway, What Processes Do I Need To Follow?

If you’re injured on a public walkway, it’s important to gather any evidence. If you’re able to do this yourself, take photographs of any damage to the path that caused you to stumble or fall. Ideally, use an item to show how far a loose paving slab has been raised or lowered. The more significant the height difference, the more likely it is that your compensation claim will be successful.

Look around for witnesses. Make a note of any nearby businesses and, if you can visit these as soon as possible to ask about CCTV. If you’re fortunate, a shop or office might have a recording of the incident.

As soon as possible, contact the council to let them know about any maintenance problems. This gives them a chance to resolve the issue and provide some compensation. All communication should be kept in writing and sent by recorded delivery, so nobody can argue that they’ve not been made aware of what happened.

I’ve Suffered, What Information Do I Need To Keep From a Medical Perspective?

If you want to claim compensation for an injury, it’s best to gather as much evidence as you can. Keep hold of medical notes, copies of prescriptions, and photographs of your injuries at various stages. Wherever possible, add dates to photographs so it can be seen how your injuries develop over time.

If you can’t prove the extent of your injuries, you’re likely to be offered a much lower compensation amount than you actually deserve.

If you’re claiming compensation through a solicitor, they should support you to gather the necessary medical documentation. They might ask you to attend a medical assessment if you haven’t already. You might discover that the injuries you’ve suffered are more significant than first thought, and it’s important to know this before you make your compensation claim.

You might be asked to sign a Medical Agreement Form. This shows that you agree with the details on a medical report and that your injuries have been accurately represented.

You should be compensated for medical costs relating to your accident and injury. If you’re referred for treatment or asked to take medication, make sure that you have the proper receipts for any financial transaction. As part of your compensation claim, you should be able to claim your money back.

I’ve Suffered at Work, Do I Qualify for Sick Pay?

If you’ve been injured at work and claim compensation, you should receive sick pay for any time that you can’t work. At the very least, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) should be paid if you’re entitled to it. You should also check your contract to see if your employer has agreed to pay anything additional.

Statutory Sick Pay is a relatively small weekly payment, so alone; it might not be enough to support your lifestyle. This may, however, be all you’re legally entitled to. Some people aren’t entitled to SSP. Those people include the self-employed, some members of the armed forces, and some people who’ve recently been paid SSP for a different illness or injury.

Ideally, your employer will process your sick pay as soon as you need to take time off. Otherwise, this additional financial loss will be covered in your compensation claim.

What is The Personal Injury Compensation Timeframe?

If you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault, you have up to three years to make your claim for compensation. It’s best to start as soon as possible since compensation payments can take a long time to finalize.

Personal Injury Compensation Claim Process

There are several steps to any successful compensation claim. Timely action is essential to maximize your chance of success.

Starting Your Personal Injury Compensation Claim

At the very latest, start your compensation claim within three years of the incident that led to your injury.

After three years have passed, if the claim hasn’t been settled or court proceedings haven’t been issued, then you’ll have no legal right to claim compensation for your injury. Whilst you technically have three years, it’s worth being aware that the early parts of this process can take time. If you wait until the last minute, the compensation claim deadline may have passed by the time action’s taken.

Evidence of the Injury You Have Suffered

You will need to prove that you were injured. You’re likely to need a medical assessment as part of this stage of the process.

Medical professionals must determine the nature and extent of your injuries. They should also give advice about possible recovery times. A qualified professional should be able to determine how long your injury is likely to persist and if it’s a permanent issue.

Before a medical prognosis can be determined, you might be required to attempt some treatments or attend several medical appointments. It’s common for people to be asked to attempt some early physiotherapy before it’s decided how much their injury is likely to affect them long-term.

Settling You Personal Injury Compensation Claim

Claims are settled on a ‘full and final’ basis. Whatever’s decided on the day your claim is settled will stop you from making future claims. For that reason, it’s very important that you’ve got a proper medical prognosis. If your injuries are later found to be more severe, there’s nothing you can do to claim more money.

Taking time to get things right will minimize subsequent regret. You may be given time to make a full recovery before your claim is finalized, as this is the best way to accurately record exactly how long you were injured. Of course, this can’t always happen with long-term injuries.

Personal Injury Compensation Interim Payments

More complex cases take a long time to settle. There’s a lot of evidence to gather, with decisions being harder to make.

Many people can’t wait forever for compensation payments to arrive. You may be suffering from a loss of earnings and could need financial support. If a case is likely to take a long time, you may be entitled to request an interim payment. Interim payments will be deducted from your final compensation claim.

Personal Injury Compensation Claim Length of Claim Process

Once you’ve put forward your claim, the process will be quicker if liability’s admitted. If the other party doesn’t accept your claim, this can add significant delays.

Assuming liability is admitted, most road traffic incident claims can be settled within approximately six months. Workplace accident claims might take a little longer. Some of the hardest cases to settle are medical negligence claims, which can take the full three years for effective evidence reviews.

Who To Use To Claim Compensation for a Personal Injury

If you’ve suffered an injury that wasn’t your fault and you want to claim compensation, you’ll need to find someone that will represent your interests and fight your case on your behalf. Without specialist knowledge, you’re unlikely to get the compensation that you deserve.

Personal Injury Specialist Solicitors

A personal injury claims solicitor can help you get compensation. A solicitor can provide legal advice, preparing evidence, and supporting you through the compensation claim process.

Solicitors are qualified professionals able to represent you in court.

If you’re going down this route, make sure that your chosen solicitor is a regulated professional. Look for solicitors that are members of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. You can check the Solicitors Register.

Personal Injury Specialist Claims Management Company

A claims management company is another option for your compensation claim. Claims management companies act as the middle-man between you and the other party. A claims management company can help you to claim compensation for personal injury, and often you’ll think of these companies because they’re able to cold-call or send you texts.

If you’re going down this route, your chosen company should deal with the claim on your behalf. They should prepare documents, contact the other party and go through the necessary paperwork.

Unlike solicitors, claims management companies aren’t staffed by qualified professionals. They’re not regulated in the same way, either. They may not have suitable insurance in case something goes wrong with your claim.

It can be tricky to tell the difference between solicitors and claims management companies, so check the Solicitors Register if you’re unsure where to turn.

Fees Involved in Claiming Compensation for a Personal Injury

Claiming compensation is one area where you must spend money to make money. If you want to get the money you deserve, you’ll need to hire professionals to help.

If you file a complaint about personal injury, there is a chance that the other party will offer compensation on their own. If this happens, you can take the money, but you’d be waiving your right to any future claim. It’s highly unlikely that you’d get what you deserve if you tried to go it alone.

Solicitor Fees Involved in Claiming Compensation for a Personal Injury

In most cases, solicitors will charge 25% of the final value of your claim. That might seem like a lot, but given that they greatly increase your chance of success, it’s spending that’s usually worth it. You could walk away with 75% of the compensation you deserve, whereas without their help, it’s very likely that you’d be left with nothing.

A solicitor’s fee can include things like payments for the solicitor’s time plus travel expenses, barrister fees, and paperwork costs for accident reports and medical records.

Claims Management Fees Involved in Claiming Compensation for a Personal Injury

A claims management company usually advertises a free advisory service. After they’ve considered your case and offered to help you make a claim, they’ll connect you to a solicitor who you’ll pay your separate fees.

The claims management company offers a bridging service between you and a solicitor, dealing with most of the admin on your behalf. If your claim is successful, they’ll take their money from the solicitor as a referral payment.

What Does No Win, No Fee Mean?

A solicitor typically won’t charge you up-front, so you won’t need to find a large sum of money before you can start your claim. Instead, a solicitor takes out insurance in case your claim isn’t successful.

Solicitors will only take on cases that they think will go in their favor. Once they’ve succeeded, they’ll take their fee from the compensation awarded. If your case isn’t successful, solicitors can claim on insurance to get the money they’re owed.

Before you start working with a solicitor, it’s crucial to check that you’re happy with the fees that you’ll pay if your claim is successful.

Is the Compensation Taxable?

Personal injury compensation isn’t taxable. You’ll be able to keep the awarded compensation without a requirement to pay tax.

Personal Injury Compensation on Universal Credit

If your compensation claim for personal injury is successful, you will need to pay back any benefits that you received as a result of your injury. This means that you should repay benefits paid because you couldn’t work or because you’ve been temporarily disabled by the injury you suffered.

If you’re receiving a compensation offer, check whether or not this already includes your Universal Credit repayment. Otherwise, there’s a chance that you’ll get a lot less than you expected.

Will I Lose My Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit. A lump-sum payment could have an impact on your benefit entitlement.

There are some ways to avoid losing benefits if you make a compensation claim. A solicitor may be able to advise about a Personal Injury Trust, where your funds are managed by trustees and aren’t directly accessible. From this trust, you’ll receive small and regular payments that won’t affect your benefit entitlement.

Personal Injury Compensation While on Benefits

Certain benefits that you’ve received may have been given as a result of your injury. If that’s the case, they need to be paid back, so you’re not being compensated twice.

Check whether your compensation offer has already been reduced to reflect any benefit repayments. Otherwise, you might be surprised when you receive a smaller final sum.

Will I Lose My Benefits?

Some benefits are means-tested and would be affected by a lump sum payment into your bank account. These include Universal Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based JSA, and Pension Credit, to name but a few.

It’s possible to avoid losing benefit entitlement using a Personal Injury Trust, which your solicitor can advise about. Your compensation payment would be stored in the trust, so you’d receive regular small payments that wouldn’t have an impact on your benefits. You wouldn’t be able to add other funds to the trust or withdraw the money in full.

Personal Injury Compensation and Child Maintenance

If you make Child Maintenance payments, these will not increase as a result of a lump sum compensation payment. Child maintenance is paid against taxable income, and your personal injury compensation is not taxable.

Will My Maintenance Costs Increase?

You won’t be asked to pay more child maintenance because you’ve received a lump sum compensation pay-out. 

How Long Does It Take To Claim Compensation?

You have a maximum of three years to claim compensation for personal injury. It’s important to start your claim as soon as possible, so you don’t miss this deadline.

Some types of compensation take longer than others to claim. A simple slip, trip, or fall at work might take up to 9 months. Road traffic accidents take a similar amount of time, whilst medical negligence cases are a lot more complex. The most complex cases can take the full three years, which is why it's important not to wait too long to get started.

Will I Have To Attend Court?

Only a very small amount of compensation claims end up going to court. These are generally the most complex cases, taking the longest to resolve. Most cases are settled out of court, which is a lot easier for everyone.

A good solicitor will work to settle a claim out of court. They'll negotiate to get you the pay-out you deserve.

Even if your case goes to court, it's unlikely you'll need to attend. If your claim is for less than £25,000, it's fast-tracked without you being present. Instead, your chosen solicitor will represent you. For larger claims, you might be asked to attend.

Will I Be in Front of My Employer?

It's extremely unlikely that a compensation claim against your employer would ever need to go to court. First, the value of your claim would have to be higher than £25,000. Second, your employer (the defendant) would need to refuse to settle out of court. Typically, businesses have insurance to cover compensation claims. You wouldn't be claiming directly from your employer's pocket, and the insurer will usually negotiate a compensation pay-out with your solicitor.

Even if you needed to attend court, your employer would not. You'd be asked some questions by a judge, in the presence of your employer's representative. Usually, this is someone from their insurance provider.

Money Savings Advice Tip

If you have suffered at injury at work, in a car accident our just out walking on the roads, you could have a valid personal injury compensation claim. We recommend speaking and liaising with a specialist personal injury claims management company who can help you undertand the process and maximise your compensation claim. These specialist compensation claims companies help thousands of people every year and they can do the same for you.

What Is the Process for Claiming Compensation Against the Council?

To claim compensation from the council, you must be able to prove that their negligence led to your injury. Most of these cases are settled out of court, with only the most complex needing to go before a judge.

In most cases, an agreement will be reached between the council's lawyers and yours. If you've provided sufficient evidence, the council will want to avoid a court case and will negotiate a compensation pay-out.

What Happens if I’m Not Happy With the Compensation Pay-Out?

Once your case has been settled, you've accepted compensation and can't request more money. This applies even if your injury persists for longer than you expected or if further information about your injury comes to light later. That's why, where possible, you should finalize your claim after you've recovered from your injury.

Of course, you should always make sure that you act before the three-year deadline. If you're unhappy with an offer, don't accept it. You can continue negotiations or find a new lawyer if you don't feel that your current one is doing all they can to represent you.

Make sure you know roughly how much compensation to expect for your injury, so you're not expecting too much money or accepting an offer that's too low.

Quick Personal Injury FAQs

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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.

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Ian Lewis is one of our specialist financial writers. Ian has over 15 years of financial writing experience, having worked for some of the largest financial publications in the UK covering topics from mortgages, equity release, loans and financial claims, to name a few.

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