Small Claims Court for Personal Injury Explained

Ian Lewis[1]

Ian Lewis

Money Savings Advice Small claims court for personal injury

In order to claim compensation through the small claims court, you’ll need to prove that you were injured and that it wasn’t your fault. You can claim up to £1,000 in compensation for injury.

How Much Compensation Can Be Settled in a Small Claims Court?

Small claims court lets you settle smaller claims, with a limit of £1,000 for personal injury claims. It's designed for minor injuries. Larger claims will need to go through more senior courts.

The small claims court is only for minor injuries, and you’re only likely to receive compensation if your injury affects you for weeks.

Read on to learn more about going through the small claims court for personal injury.

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What Can You Claim for at Small Claims Court?

For personal injury, you can claim up to £1,000 in compensation. Injuries should be minor, affecting you for a few weeks to a month or two at most, with no long-term complications.

You can claim for the injury itself and the ways that it’s affected you. You may claim for loss of earnings if your injury has made it impossible for you to do your job. You can also claim for other small financial expenses, like belongings that were damaged or any expenses for prescriptions or visits to your doctor.

If you slipped on some plastic at your local garden centre, you might be able to claim for your sprained ankle and the time you had to take off work for it. You might also be able to claim for your phone, which was smashed in your pocket when you fell, and for the costs of any painkillers that you take whilst your injury is healing.

All costs related to the incident can be included in your claim, though some might be approved whilst others may not. The maximum value of your claim should be £1,000 in total.

What Do You Need to Prove?

For your claim to be successful, you’ll need to prove that someone else was at fault. Your injury should be the result of someone else’s negligence, rather than through an error made on your part. This could be anything from a loose flagstone on your local high street to a wet floor without warning signs when you went into your local supermarket.

If an issue has been highlighted and you’ve not noticed the signs, you’ll need to be able to convince the court that this was because the signs were difficult to spot. If it’s thought that you weren’t observant enough, you might not get the money you’re claiming for.

You need to be able to prove what you’ve actually lost. You won’t receive compensation if you can’t show what you’re claiming. Keep records of expenses, from prescriptions to travel costs incurred.

When Should Claims Be Started?

If you’ve been injured and it wasn’t your fault, you’ll have up to three years to make a claim. In some cases, you may have a shorter time limit. The important thing is to start making a claim as soon as you possibly can.

The small claims process can take several months, so be prepared to see it through to the end.

How Do You Start a Claim?

Try to resolve things without small claims court initially. Contact the person you plan to claim against, to let them know about your experience. Set out what happened in writing, along with the costs you believe you’ve incurred and proof of the injury you’re dealing with. Give them a chance to review your evidence and volunteer to pay compensation.

If you don’t get the response you need from the individual or company, you can submit to small claims court to start any legal proceedings. This can be done with a solicitor’s help, though you can also go it alone.

If you’re doing things alone, ask your local County Court for an N1 form. You can download everything you need and manage your claim online. Fill in the forms with you as the claimant and the other party as the defendant.

Whether you were injured as a customer, out in public or as an employee, the process for claiming is the same. You’ll need to show that you were injured and that someone else was to blame.

How Small Claims Court Cases Are Settled

Once your case has gone to small claims court, the defendant has their chance to respond. If they admit responsibility, you’ll be invited to a hearing to explain why you’re claiming the money. You may be required to talk about your injury and the losses you’ve faced as a result. The court will then decide how much money you’re owed in compensation to be paid by the defendant.

Make sure you have your evidence ready, as well as being prepared to answer questions that the defendant will ask.

If the defendant doesn’t admit that they’re responsible, the case becomes a little more complex. You’ll be given the option to call upon a witness and provide a medical report. The defendant will have their own witnesses, and you are entitled to question them. You’ll then go through the court hearing, with both sides having had the chance to argue and bring forward any evidence.

Are There Costs for Small Claims Court?

If you go to small claims court for a personal injury, there will be some costs involved. You’re entitled to claim these back from the defendant if your case is successful.

For a claim up to £1,000, you’re likely to pay court fees of up to £70. If you don’t ask, these won’t be covered by the defendant, and you’ll have to cover these yourself. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for your court fees to be covered if you win.

Other legal costs can’t be claimed back, which is why it often doesn’t make sense to hire a solicitor. With a maximum of just £1,000 in compensation, very few people will be happy paying money for solicitor representation. In most cases, the best way to get money is to manage your own claim for personal injury.

Can You Claim More Than £1,000 for Personal Injury?

If you want to claim more than £1,000 in compensation for personal injury, you’ll have to go beyond the small claims court. The small claims court is only for minor injuries and low-value compensation.

For larger claims, it makes sense to get legal representation. There are costs involved, but you may be able to claim them back if you’re successful. Professional help can help you increase your chance of success.

Is It Worth Claiming Compensation?

If your compensation claim isn’t successful, you may lose a small amount of money. You’ll have to cover any legal costs, though can keep these down to £70 if you manage the whole claim yourself. Of course, you’ll also lose the time that you spend filing forms and attending a hearing.

You might decide that a court claim isn’t worth it, but you may not even get this far. Sometimes, the defendant will settle out of court if you simply send details of your injury.

For many people, up to £1,000 is a lot of extra money to get. Going to small claims court for personal injury can provide a much needed financial boost. You’re also helping to make sure that other people aren’t injured in future.

Why Are Small Claims Legal Costs Restricted?

When it comes to personal injury claims, the Small Claims Court is only relevant for minor injuries where compensation will not exceed £1000 (although this limit will be increased very soon). The idea behind restricting legal costs is very simple.

In the past, there were numerous cases of relatively minor injuries where the legal costs were more than the compensation awarded. This opened the system up to potential abuse. With the UK government set to bring more relatively low compensation cases before the Small Claims Court, this will further restrict future legal expense claims.

Can I Still Use a Claims Management Company?

Yes. However, the likelihood is that expenses would eat into your potential compensation under the maximum allowed by the Small Claims Court. You would be liable for your legal costs as pursuing a claim under the traditional “no win no fee” arrangement would not be viable.

When looking at higher compensation claims, these are treated very differently with the claimant’s advisers able to reclaim legal expenses if successful.

What Is a Tort Claim?

When seeking compensation, you will very often come across the term tort. These relate to claims for compensation/damages with the aim of putting the claimant “in the position they would have been had the tort not been committed”. In the case of personal injury claims, the tort could be a car accident, accident in the workplace or any other type of injury caused by the negligence of a third party.

What Is the Difference Between Compensation and Damages?

You will often come across the terms of compensation and damages when it comes to personal injury claims. The difference is very simple. You claim compensation, and if you are successful, the funds you are awarded are referred to as damages.

There are two specific types of damages when it comes to personal injury claims, known as general damages and special damages.

What Are General Damages?

General damages refer to compensation for your pain and suffering as a consequence of the injuries you received. There are very specific guidelines with regard to general damages which are limited.

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages refer to financial recompense for costs incurred and future costs relating to the treatment of your injuries and their impact on your life/income. For example, you may require additional medical assistance in the future.

You may well be able to claim for lost income if there was an impact on your working life. In theory, there is no limit on special damages, although you would have to back up claims for special damages with evidence.

The Long-Term Impact of Seeking Compensation

Many people wonder if it is “worthwhile” seeking up to £1000 in compensation via the Small Claims Court. However, if you have been injured as a consequence of negligence by a third party, then you are entitled to compensation. It is also worth focusing on the longer term.

Unless negligent third parties are held to account, nothing will change, the same injuries will occur time and time again. Therefore, as well as seeking compensation for your own situation, you may well be saving others from a similar plight.

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.

 

Money Savings Advice Author Ian Lewis

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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