Injury Claims – Handling Your Case
Injury claims can arise in a number of different ways: road traffic accidents, work-related injuries, defective premises, slips and trips, defective products and many more.
In each case however the principle is the same: if someone is injured as a result of negligence they are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries.
Negligence arises wherever someone breaches their duty of care to another. For example, road users owe each other a duty of care when on the road to drive safely; supermarkets and other retail premises owe shoppers a duty of care to ensure the premises are safe and free of trip and slip hazards; employers owe employees a duty of care to ensure they are safe at work; product manufacturers and sellers are under a duty to ensure the products they make and sell will not injure customers; landlords must ensure rented properties are safe for tenants and their visitors; doctors and other medical staff must ensure the treatment they provide is of an adequate standard and so on.
In addition to negligence there are health and safety laws which cannot be broken such as the Defective Premises Act 1972.
For injury claims to succeed three basic things must be established:
- There was negligence or a health and safety law was broken (e.g. someone drove into the back of your car);
- You were injured as a result; and
- Your injuries are sufficiently serious (anything above very minor injuries is usually enough)
If those three things can be proven you will recover compensation for your injuries. Compensation includes not only compensation for your injuries but also for your financial losses such as lost earnings, travel expenses, private medical treatment costs and more.
Injury claims are not just limited to physical injuries. Often an injured person will suffer psychological injuries such as depression and anxiety in addition to their physical symptoms. Sometimes there are only psychological injuries, for example upon witnessing a loved one being injured.
Injury Claims – Evidence is Key To Success
Evidence of the law being broken may consist of photographs, video footage, witness evidence, cleaning records and more. The earlier the evidence is collected the better as things may be repaired soon after an accident and people often lose touch with witnesses. The more evidence there in your favour, the more likely you are to succeed.
Evidence in support of your injuries is most often in the form of medical records. If you attend your GP or a hospital regarding your injuries be sure to explain the facts clearly as very often mistakes are made by doctors and nurses when noting the accident circumstances, especially dates, and medical records could prove to be key evidence later on. If you suffer cuts and bruising it is sensible to take clear photographs. If your accident leaves you with scars your solicitor will ensure clear photographs are obtained.
Even though medical records may document your injuries the law requires an independent medical report be prepared to detail your injuries and confirm they were caused by the accident. Rather than something from a doctor you have already seen, the report must be prepared by a separate doctor with no connection to you or your previous medical treatment. He or she will examine you and then produce a detailed report detailing the injuries you suffered and the outlook for the future.
You will be examined by a doctor appropriate for your injuries. For example, in psychological injury claims you will normally be seen by a psychologist who will explore how the accident has affected you from a psychological perspective.
In addition to a medical report, your solicitor will also need to obtain proof of your financial losses. For lost earnings this could be wage slips, for replaced items this could be receipts. For this reason please collect all documentary evidence carefully as these will be useful later on.