If you’re injured within commercial property, in a public place or at work, there are several things you might need to know. You might need to report what happened. You could be entitled to compensation if you weren’t to blame.
You are able to make a claim for personal injury compensation if you can prove you've suffered financial loss as a result of the injury. Minor injuries can be dealt with in small claims court, with a maximum claim limit of £1,000.
Accidents happen, but if you’re injured in a public place, then someone might need to be accountable. Business owners have a responsibility to record and report any accidents and injuries, but in public, it might fall to you if you’re the injured party.
Properly dealing with a personal injury can be a very positive thing. Your actions might help to protect others from similar injuries.
You might also want to report an injury if you want to claim compensation.
Read on to find out more with our personal injury guidelines.
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Sometimes, when we’re injured, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. Perhaps you were distracted, looking at your phone, and walked headfirst into a lamppost. Often, though, there’s something else that leads to a personal injury.
Injuries can happen when we’re out in public or at our place of work. You’re responsible for keeping your own home safe – or that responsibility falls to your landlord if you’re renting – but in the big, wide world there are others that must keep you safe.
Employers should make sure that employees are provided with the right protective equipment. Employees should have everything they need to do their job without getting hurt. Accidents may still happen, and can’t be completely avoided, but they shouldn’t happen because someone was forced to climb because they didn’t have a ladder. They also shouldn’t happen because someone didn’t have the right PPE to deal with chemicals.
If you’re a customer on commercial premises, you also have a right to be safe. If you’re out in public, the responsibility might fall to the council or a landowner. You’re not at fault if the environment’s unsafe or something has been badly maintained.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, report the injury to them. Explain what happened so that they can fix any health and safety problems. They should fill in an accident report form that you will also need to sign.
If the issue is with a public pavement, responsibility will lie with the local authority. If a pavement’s unsafe, contact the council to ask about filing a report. Local authorities have a responsibility to keep roads and pavements properly maintained.
You don’t need to claim compensation for a personal injury. You might think that an accident is ‘just one of those things’, and decide to get on with your day, but you should always take time to report an accident to whoever might be responsible. Unless the accident was entirely your fault, there might be something that needs to be fixed.
If you want to claim compensation for your injury, there are several different ways to do this. As recommended by Citizens Advice, solicitors can help with larger claims, and the legal costs can usually be recovered if your claim is successful. Smaller personal injury claims can go through the small claims court, though the most you’ll get for this type of claim is a maximum £1,000.
Go to small claims court if an injury is minor and will heal within roughly a month. Larger claims may be better if your injury’s long-lasting or will leave permanent marks.
You’ll need to prove that you were injured and that someone else was to blame if you want to claim compensation. You’ll also need to prove your financial loss, which can include money for the injury itself as well as any property that’s damaged. In addition, your claim might cover travel expenses, prescription costs and a loss of income.
Before you make a court claim, give the responsible party a chance to resolve things on their own. Send a recorded letter that details your injury and any financial losses. Provide as much detail as you can, including the correct date and time to the best of your ability.
You should only escalate a compensation claim if you don’t get what you need on your own. You can then ask the court for help in making compensation decisions.
Remember that you’ll need to prove that somebody else was at fault. Whether you’re claiming against an individual, a company or the local authority, it’s your job to prove that they were negligent. Injuries happen without anyone being to blame, so if you’re claiming compensation, then you’ll need to be prepared to show that somebody’s responsible.
Potential negligence might range from an untidy shop to wet floors without signs, or from loose paving on a public footpath to a lack of suitable equipment in the workplace.
Always start a claim within three years of an accident. Ideally, act sooner. Sometimes, three years is too long.
If you’re making a claim for more than £1,000, you’ll need more than the small claims court. Your claim will go through the county court or high court in some situations.
You can claim back your legal costs from the responsible party, but only if your claim is successful. Legal costs can be high, so make sure that you’re able to take the risk before you hire a solicitor. Not hiring a solicitor will reduce your costs, but will also harm your chances of success.
For low-value claims, up to a maximum of £1,000, you can manage a small claims court case on your own. Submit the relevant forms and your evidence, then attend the hearing yourself. You could get professional support with your case, but it’s usually unwise since you can’t claim back your small claims court legal costs.
You can, however, claim back the court fees if the court rules in your favour. Your court fees could be up to £70, which otherwise might be a significant chunk of the money that you’re being awarded.
Recent changes to the personal injury claims procedure, intended to cut legal costs, now mean that you can pursue personal injury compensation claims up to £5000 through the Small Claims Court.
Unfortunately, when pursuing a claim through the Small Claims Court, there is no recourse to claim legal expenses; therefore, any potential legal expenses would need to come out of any compensation received. This is obviously a risk for many claimants who may be seeking recompense for relatively minor injuries.
When it comes to compensation claims in excess of £5000, there is a legal process that needs to be followed. Initially, the defendant will be given a copy of the alleged negligence; injuries received and claim for compensation. The defendant’s representatives will have 21 days to reply and if required a further three months to gather evidence.
Where negligence is fairly obvious, and there is evidence to prove it, at this point, the defendant would likely look for an out-of-court settlement. Where negligence is being disputed, the defendant would have a further three months in which to gather evidence ahead of a potential court case.
Once the evidence gathering process has been completed, then the case would either be settled out of court or proceed to a full-court case. It will depend upon the type of claim and the compensation figure as to whether the case could be fast-tracked.
As the majority of personal injury claims are pursued on a “no win no fee” arrangement, the claimant would be exempt from covering fees associated with their advisors. In exchange, the adviser would look to negotiate a “success fee” which is an element of the compensation secured, traditionally around 25%.
Whether you’re making a report or a compensation claim, the evidence is very important. The evidence you have shows what needs to be fixed and can be used in court if it’s needed. Evidence that you’ve reported an incident stops someone from completely ignoring it.
After a personal injury, ideally, take photographs of the scene of the incident. Make sure that photographs clearly show the hazards that led to your injury. Record the date, time and location.
Witnesses can help, so get the details of anyone that saw what might have happened. If you’re in a commercial or industrial building, find a member of staff so that they can record things straight away. If you’re not, contact your local council so that they can do their bit to set things right.
Many injuries need medical attention. This should be a top priority for a more severe injury, though you should make a point of contacting your GP even for any smaller issues. This doesn’t just allow you to get medical help but creates a public record of your injury for your compensation claim.
Once you’ve dealt with the immediate concerns, keep records and receipts of any costs that you accrue as a result of your accident or injury. You’ll need evidence of your losses if you want to claim compensation.
While the details of each case can be very different, there are a number of common elements of evidence that are very useful when looking to secure a personal injury compensation claim.
The onus is on the claimant to prove that the defendant had been negligent and failed to fulfil their duty of care towards one/group of employees. The more evidence you can gather to prove negligence, the greater your chances of succeeding.
Once you have managed to prove negligence by a third party, in this instance, your employer, you can then pursue compensation.
The level of compensation available can vary dramatically, depending on the type of injury and severity. At this point, it is worth noting there are two different types of compensation known as general damages and special damages.
General damages related to financial compensation for pain and suffering such as:
Special damages related to financial recompense for the expense incurred as a consequence of the injuries, cost of future treatment and other expenditure such as loss of earnings. While there are guidelines with regards to general damages, there are no limits on special damages.
Whether big or small, injuries have their impact. They may affect your ability to work or the way you manage day-to-day tasks. Reporting incidents and claiming compensation can require a lot of time and effort.
Our trusted financial partners can help you through the process of preparing a compensation claim or finding ways to deal with your budget if your injury reduces your income. We also have a great selection of guides to budgeting, personal injury and looking after your money
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.
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