Can I Claim Compensation For MY Personal Injury ?
What are the rules on claiming compensation if I have been injured in an accident?
If you have suffered a loss or an injury in an accident you are entitled to ask, can I claim compensation for my loss or injury? The answer is yes subject to a number of rules and evidentiary burdens.
The first consideration is can you prove your loss or injury e.g. in a car accident you may require an engineer’s report to prove the extent of the damage to your vehicle and you may require a medical report to prove the injuries you have suffered. This evidence is then used to value your compensation claim. Sometimes more than one report is required. If someone has suffered from a whiplash injury in a car accident then generally a straight forward report from a GP will be sufficient to document their injuries. If however, you have had serious fall from height at work you may require a report from a consultant orthopaedic surgeon to document your injuries and possibly also from a psychologist or psychiatrist to document any mental issues you have suffered as a result of the accident.
The next consideration is can we trace the person responsible for your loss and discover whether they have the funds or other means of meeting your compensation claim such as insurance. More often than not this is relatively easy to ascertain as if somebody crashes into your car you should be able to obtain their registration number, their name and address and we as personal injury solicitors have access to the Motor Insurers’ database which links cars to the correct insurance company. If you suffer an injury in an accident at work then obviously you will know the name of your employer and we can access an Employers’ Liability database which informs us who the relevant insurer is. Sometimes however, especially with sub-contractors at work, it is not always easy to trace the person or persons responsible. Usually, it is possible but it may take some time and a thorough investigation to trace the correct parties. In most of the cases we deal with there is an insurance company in place or for uninsured motorists, for example, the Motor Insurers’ database will cover any compensation claims. Sometimes however there is no insurance in place and a decision has to be made as to whether the person or company responsible has the funds to settle any compensation claim on their own. If not there is little point in pursuing them as even though you may win your case it will be a hollow victory as there will be no compensation which flows from your win.
The next consideration is whether or not your injury or loss has been caused by the negligence of the other party. This can be a negligent act such as crashing into your stationary car or a negligent omission such as failing to ensure that scaffolding was in place when a worker is working at height. Every case is individual in this sense and every case will have specific allegations of negligence. Sometimes those allegations are hard to rebut and the responsible party holds their hands up and admits liability straight away. Sometimes however they will refuse to accept that your injury is their fault and they will attempt to fight and deny your compensation claim. In this case, we have to consider their specific reasons for denying liability and decide whether we can obtain evidence to overcome them. Sometimes this is in the form of a specialist report, sometimes it is the availability of witnesses to the accident who can provide assistance.
The final consideration is time. Most people are aware that they have 3 years in which to make a compensation claim after which they are barred by law from pursuing a claim even if the claim has a very good prospect of success and the injuries and losses are serious. There are some cases in which it is possible to circumvent this rule but often they are limited to people who have suffered from inhalation of asbestos or perhaps a prolonged sexual assault when they were a child. More often or not however the general type of accident claims we deal with have a 3-year time limit. This means that within the 3 years the case must be either settled or court proceedings must have been issued. It becomes more difficult to win cases and obtain evidence as time goes by and although you have 3 years in which to make a compensation claim we would always advise acting as quickly as possible as this makes the chance of tracing the party at fault, obtaining any evidence required and valuing your compensation has more chance of succeeding.
The information above is a general summary on claiming compensation and is the information which we discuss with clients when they contact us. However every case is unique and if you are unsure as to whether or not you are able to make a compensation claim then contact our Accident Claim Solicitors in North Wales or at our Injury Lawyers in Cheshire to get assistance from a fully qualified personal injury solicitor.
Mr U, Staffordshire
Miss G, North Wales
Mr J, Cheshire
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