Making a claim for personal injury can sometimes feel like a daunting prospect, with a seemingly never-ending amount of legal jargon to contend with. We've put together this Q+A page to help you better understand the personal injury claims process - if you have any particular questions about making a claim, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us:

Q: What is personal injury?

A: The term 'personal injury' relates to any physical or psychological injury that is inflicted on a person, as opposed to damage done to property or reputation. Find out more: What is personal injury?

Q: How to make a personal injury claim?

A: If you have been injured following the negligence of another person or an organisation, then you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim for compensation, In order to make a claim, you need to contact a solicitor who will take on your claim and pursue it against the third party - usually an insurance company. Find out more: Personal injury claims process

Q: What is compensation?

A: An accurate definition of compensation would be: something - usually money - that is awarded to someone in recognition of suffering or loss. In relation to personal injury claims, compensation is made up of General Damages and Special Damages. The General Damages compensate the victim for the pain and suffering caused by the injury, and the Special Damages are designed to reimburse the Claimant for any financial losses incurred as a result of the injury e.g. loss of earnings, treatment costs etc...

Q: How long do I have to claim compensation?

A: Although there can be exceptions (particularly for industrial disease claims and claims involving children) the time limit to make a personal injury claim is typically three years from the date of the accident. Find out more: Personal injury claims time limits

Q: Can I claim for compensation?

A: If you have suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence then you have the right to seek compensation. In many cases, a personal injury can be extremely debilitating and have an adverse impact on the victim's ability to live their day-to-day life. In such cases, the victim is entitled to make a claim for compensation - provided that the negligence of the other party can be proven. Find out more: What is negligence?

Q: Is it OK to make a claim for compensation?

A: The law is in place to provide redress and compensation for people who have been injured through no fault of their own. As a result of this, people usually incur additional expenses after an injury, including loss of earnings, damaged personal property and treatment costs, all of these can have a significant and unexpected impact on your finances. The stigma attached to claiming compensation for personal injury is predominately driven by the insurance industry. Their agenda is to reduce the number of claims that they have to pay out to accident victims. There is no reason to feel ashamed to claim for compensation when you have been affected by the negligent action of someone else.

Q: What do I have to prove so that I can win my claim for compensation?

A: So that you can win your claim and an award for compensation you will be required to show that:

  • There is an individual or an organisation that you can make a claim from and who is responsible for the negligent act;
  • That person or organisation owed you a duty of care and could take reasonable steps to avoid an injury; and
  • Any injury that you sustained was a direct and reasonable foreseeable consequence of their failure to take reasonable steps to avoid the injury.

Q: How much compensation for personal injury?

Compensation payout amounts can vary depending on a lot of different factors, for instance: the part(s) of the body that are injured, the severity of the injury and the impact it has had on your day-to-day life. As every claim is different, it can be difficult to provide accurate estimates regarding your potential compensation payout - although it is possible to give a 'ball-park' figure based on past claims payouts. To learn more about how much compensation you could be entitled to, use our personal injury calculator or read our Personal injury claims payout guide

Q: What is No Win No Fee?

No Win No Fee refers to an arrangement you enter into with your solicitor which ultimately means that if your claim for compensation is not successful then you will not have to pay a legal fees. If your claim is successful, then your solicitor will be paid out of the compensation payout you receive - with the amount they are paid being pre-agreed with your at the outset. Find out more: What does no win no fee really mean?

Q: What is before the event insurance?

A: Before the event, insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance policy and is purchased before any incident has happened. It can usually be bought as an “add on” to other products, such as car, home or credit card insurances. From the outset of your claim, your solicitor will ask you whether you have this type of policy in place. If you are covered under this policy you may be entitled to have your legal costs met through this.

Q: What is after the event insurance?

A: This type of legal expenses insurance is purchased after an event has occurred and when you are making a claim. Your solicitor will discuss the benefits of this policy with you at the funding stage of your claim. If you decide to fund your claim either privately or through a No Win No Fee* agreement, you would usually be required to purchase this type of insurance policy. The benefits to this policy include protecting you from paying out your defendants legal fees in the event that you lose your claim.

Q: What does contributory negligence mean?

A: When your solicitor assesses how viable your claim is, they will look at the circumstances of the accident as a whole to see if you, the claimant, had contributed in any way to your injury. If it is found to be so, your solicitor may negotiate with the defendant on a percentage level of contributory negligence, so for an example 70:20, making you 30% responsible for the accident. Should your claim be settled on this split, you will receive 70% of your claim for compensation.

Q: What is causation?

A: Causation is the link to the accident and the injury that was sustained. It is necessary to prove causation in all injury claims so that the injury you have suffered is definitely attributable to the negligent act. An example of when causation may be difficult to prove might include a number of medical practitioners providing you with treatment at the time the injury was sustained, therefore making it difficult to identify who was directly to blame.

Q: What is a part 36 offer?

A:  If both the investigation and the medical evidence support your claim, your solicitor will try to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.  In order to do this, they will discuss with you the potential value (known as quantum) of your claim you and may suggest making a Part 36 offer to the Defendant in an attempt to come to an early settlement with them. Part 36 offers are not limited to one side, as both parties can make a Part 36 offer up until the clams goes to trial. Should the Defendant make a Part 36 offer and you are not happy with the amount offered, it is possible to submit a counter offer to something that your solicitor would deem more appropriate. Part 36 offers provides both sides with an inducement to settle prior to any court proceedings, providing that the Part 36 offer is within the range that you might expect to receive should your case go to a full Court hearing and was decided by the judge.

Q: I have suffered a car accident; can I make a personal injury claim on my own car insurance?

A: No, this would not normally form part of your own car insurance policy. However, you would be able to make a personal injury claim against the party “at fault” (the other driver), or their insurance provider.

Q: Will I still be able to make a claim if I had health issues before the accident or condition?

A: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions they will be taken into account by the independent medical expert who is instructed to deal with your medical evidence. The medical expert would take into account how the accident has exasperated your pre existing condition or injury. It will have no bearing on whether you can pursue your claim.

Q: What sort of evidence will my solicitor need to help me win my claim?

A: When assessing if you have a strong case, your solicitor will need to gather sufficient evidence to determine the facts of the case, the party to blame and whether you contributed in some way to your condition or injury. The types of evidence collected and used will depend entirely on the type of claim you make, the more general types of evidence include witness statements, photographs of the place where the incident happened, medical evidence and expert reports.  

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