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If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to claim compensation. In order to claim this compensation sucessfully, you will need to prove what happened and who was at fault.
The information below explains some useful things you can do to build your case, but the best thing you can do is speak to an expert personal injury claims solicitor as early as possible in the process to get advice and work out the best approach for your specific situation.
Contact our friendly team today for a free initial consultation by calling our freephone number or leaving your details in the enquiry form.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it is highly likely that you will be feeling stressed and in pain. Nevertheless, if you are to make a successful personal injury claim, there are some important steps you can take, starting from the moment of the accident, that can help to you achieve the compensation which is due to you.
If you have already suffered an injury, and you have not already started the process of recording and compiling the evidence which you might require, don’t panic!
Contact our dedicated personal injury solicitors who can advise you on the best way to go about collecting as much evidence as possible to assist you in your claim.
It can be almost impossible to accurately recall the events which led up to an accident even only a few days after the event, so try to write down your account of the circumstances of your accident as soon as possible after the incident. Make sure that you include a detailed description of the accident (including the weather conditions, if relevant) and the immediate aftermath. This should include the names and contact details of any witnesses, and you should attempt to accurately record any conversations you have with both the person you believe is responsible and anyone who saw what happened. A detailed written explanation of what happened will be of great benefit to you as an aid your own memory of events, and such a contemporaneous account will also be an extremely compelling piece of evidence for the court.
You should also continue keeping your diary (or event log) after the initial accident, recording hospital visits, time off work, developments in your injuries, assistance you receive from family and friends.
Physical evidence can be vital for a successful personal injury claim. Anything which you believe might help to prove that you were not responsible for the accident should be retained in some way in the same condition it was in when the accident took place. It is far easier to prove that your injury was caused by a broken step or torn piece of flooring if you have something which shows that state of disrepair exists, as opposed to you having to describe it. Moreover, damage caused to property (a car or bike, for example), or an item of clothing which was torn or stained in the incident, can indicate the severity of the accident.
It is very common for physical evidence to get lost, destroyed, repaired, or altered by time or the weather, meaning that its value to you as evidence for your claim is greatly reduced. Try to ensure that all physical evidence you have of the event is preserved or photographed as soon as possible after the accident.
If you cannot retain the relevant physical evidence involved in your case, the next best thing is to take photographs of it. Try to take as many photographs of the scene of the accident if you can, as soon as you can after the accident (particularly if the accident took place outside, so you can capture the weather conditions at the time, in case they are also important). Take photos from different angles and try to ensure that the size of different objects is clear and in perspective. It might also be helpful to draw a diagram of the scene as it appeared at the time of the accident, in case that perspective is helpful when considering the photographic evidence. Make sure that, if you are not using a digital camera which date stamps photos in some way, you record the date and time of each photo carefully. If you do take digital photos, please ensure that you back-up copies of each photo and save them carefully.
If you are not allowed to return to the scene of the accident (for example, if the area has been cordoned off or restricted), request access from your employer or the owner of the property. If they refuse to allow you access to the site, record the date, time and name of the person who refused to give you access, as this may be important later in the claim process.
You should also take photographs of the injuries that you suffer as a result of the accident, again as soon as possible after the event. This is especially important if you are left with a scar following your accident. Make sure that you record the extent of all injuries, however minor they appear initially, as you will not know at that stage what might become important.
Your personal injury claim will be made up of general damages [link to general damages explanation], to compensate you for the pain and suffering which resulted from your accident, and special damages [link to special damages explanation], which compensate you for the financial loss you have suffered due to your injuries. Consequently, your medical records relating to your injuries, and any medical treatment which you received as a result, will be vital evidence in your case. Ensure that you receive and retain copies of all documents and correspondence relating to your case, and obviously keep hold of any receipts for medical costs which you incur.
Make sure that you keep all receipts for costs which you incur as a result of your accident, whether or not you believe they are significant. If you are required to replace or upgrade anything in your house or vehicle as a result of your injuries, for example, you may be able to include that in your special damages claim, so ensure that you have a complete record of what you spend.
You are also entitled to claim, as special damages, loss of earnings and the loss of expected earnings such as bonuses, if your accident meant that you were not able to earn them. Save and keep safe all relevant payslips and correspondence relating to your pay and benefits which might be relevant to your claim.
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