Injury Claims – Handling Your Case
Injury claims arise as a result of an accident, and accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Whether it’s at work, at home, outdoors, or in a vehicle, millions of people are involved in accidents each and every year, and most of the time they’re not at fault.
Here at Aston Knight Solicitors, we are specialists when it comes to handling your personal injury case with the utmost care and attention. We’re on your side from the offset.
We are perfectly equipped with the knowledge, skills and expertise to provide advice and support for everything from road traffic accidents, injury at work, and defective premises, through to slips and trips, and defective products.
What is a personal injury?
A personal injury can be a physical injury, disease, or illness, or a psychological injury or illness. However, in each case, the principle is the same: if someone is injured as a result of negligence, they are entitled to recover compensation for their injuries.
For example, when on the road, drivers owe each other a duty of care to drive safely; supermarkets and other retail premises owe shoppers a duty of care to ensure that their premises are safe and free of trip and slip hazards; employers owe employees a duty of care to ensure they are safe at work, and so on.
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)
Our experienced and highly trained personal injury solicitors have worked on a diverse range of cases, across a wide variety of different sectors, from complex road traffic accidents to medical negligence cases resulting in unfortunate fatalities. In each case, they always go that extra mile to optimise the amount of compensation you receive for your physical and/or psychological injuries.
For example, we will not only pursue compensation for your injuries, but you will also obtain compensation for your financial losses such as lost earnings, travel expenses, private medical treatment costs, and more.
Injury Claims – Important Points to Note
- Evidence is key
Evidence comes in a variety of different forms including photographs, video footage, witness evidence, cleaning records, and more. All of this can help to support a case and prove that the law has been broken.
The earlier the evidence is collected, the better. This is because the more evidence you have in your favour, the more likely you are to succeed in getting the compensation you deserve.
Whilst at the time of an accident the guilty party will often admit fault, things can become quite different when their insurance company becomes involved. Over the years we’ve seen every tactic to avoid justice: people providing false insurance and identity details at the time of an accident; people having repairs done in secret and then pretending their vehicle wasn’t involved (which their insurance companies are quick to go along with!); employers disposing of unfavourable documents such as the accident report and then creating another one not seen by the injured party; CCTV being disposed of (extremely common); witnesses being paid off or pressured to not come forwards (common in accident at work claims); employers creating false training documents or backdated risk assessments, and many more.
Sometimes there’s nothing you can do; rest assured we’ve been doing this long enough to spot such tactics and we’ll fight your corner hard to expose and overcome such obstacles.
However, the best thing you can do is gather as much evidence as possible, as quickly as possible. Take as many photographs and video clips as possible – including of the driver of the other vehicle and any passengers; check ID and insurance details carefully at the scene of an accident; take photos of your passengers also – insurance companies love to argue some passengers weren’t in the vehicle at the time so if any of your passengers are injured photo and video proof can be crucial; try to take a video of any CCTV if possible or if not make a written or email request for the CCTV to be retained – if you don’t feel able to we can do it for you but we need to be quick – some companies like to delete incriminating footage quickly.
Medical 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, make sure that you explain the facts clearly. More often than not, mistakes are made by doctors and nurses when noting the circumstances of the accident. Medical records could prove to be key evidence later on, so it’s vital that they are accurate and precise.
If you suffer cuts and bruising, you should always take clear photographs. If your accident leaves you with scars, your solicitor will ensure clear photographs are obtained.
Although medical records may document your injuries, the law also requires an independent medical report to be prepared. This should detail your injuries and confirm that they were the result of the accident you were involved in. Rather than a doctor you’ve 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 outlining the injuries you suffered and the outlook for the future.
You will be examined by a doctor deemed to be 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.
- Medical Treatment
If you are in need of medical treatment then it is important you get medical treatment without delay.
Time and time again we speak to clients who tell us they have been suffering with symptoms since an accident but haven’t had the time to get medical advice. Whilst we appreciate many people live very busy lives these days, by not seeking medical attention when you need it you are not only prolonging your suffering (which you won’t be compensated for – any offers will be based on what your recovery would have been like had you had treatment promptly) but you are also putting the doctor who examines you, and the defendant insurance company, in a difficult position as there is no documentary evidence of your symptoms.
The law expects you to do all you can to recover as quickly as you can. In law we call this the “duty to mitigate”. For instance, if you are advised physiotherapy will help you then do your utmost to have some. Do not wait for it “to be sorted” as part of your case – if your case is denied the insurance company won’t pay anyway, and even if it is admitted it can often be difficult to force them to pay. Some people think solicitors will arrange this for them – this is untrue – your medical treatment is always your responsibility.
It is not just about getting treatment though either; if your doctor thinks you can return to work then the law expects you to. If you had to stop working or leave your job after an accident but are now fit to return, albeit on a part-time or light duties basis, then the law will expect you to do your best to get back to work.
No Win, No Fee Solicitors
Think you’re entitled to a claim? Get in touch today!
Whenever you need legal advice, finding the right person for the job can be time consuming and stressful. But it’s incredibly important that you find someone who is skilled and qualified to deal with your personal injury claim.
If you require further information about any of our personal injury claims services, please get in touch. Our friendly, professional, and helpful team is always on hand to answer any of your questions.
Injury Claims – Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a time limit for claiming compensation?
Yes – generally you have only 3 years from the date of your accident for court proceedings to begin, or to have settled. Remember, this does not mean your case has to be completed within 3 years but that court proceedings must begin. A claim form is sent to the court to begin the court proceedings – as soon as the court gets this the 3 year clock stops.
There are however some exceptions:
Accidents suffered by children – the 3 year period does not begin until their 18th birthday so they have until their 21st birthday to send the claim form to the court.
Injuries not caused by a single incident but over a period of time, such as industrial deafness. The test here is when the person should have made the connection their injuries were caused by the exposure. It may be your loud noise exposure was in the 1970’s but it is often the case the deafness does not show up until years later – when it does show up the 3 year clock is likely to start ticking, so if you think there’s any possibility of you having suffered work-related injuries don’t delay – get medical and legal advice as soon as possible.
Sometimes, in very limited circumstances, the courts can allow a claim outside the 3 year limit to begin in court. These circumstances are too complex to explain in this article but if the 3 year limit has only recently passed you should still seek urgent advice. Beware though that many inexperienced personal injury solicitors don’t understand these rules and will simply advise there is no case – don’t stop trying until you’ve spoken to an experienced solicitor.
Do children get paid compensation?
What happens when a 10 year old receives £3,000? The system in place is that any compensation awarded is paid into a special bank account that gains interest which they can access on their 18th birthday by which time they’ll be well placed to spend it as they wish.
In very exceptional circumstances the courts can allow some of the money to be accessed earlier but this is generally limited to proven educational needs.
How long does an average compensation claim take?
This is a very common question we face, and it is always very difficult to answer, the simple reason being that all cases are different.
A good analogy might be asking a doctor how long treatment for a particular condition might take – a sprained arm might take weeks whereas a badly broken elbow could take years: similarly what might takes weeks for one person to recover from may take months for another.
It’s the same in law – a simple admitted case with a very minor injury could be settled in weeks or months; a denied case involving very serious injuries can take years. Complex cases involving large amounts of evidence can involve a tremendous amount of work; days could be spent reviewing a set of documents.
Remember: the most important thing is the result; we have had many cases transferred to us from other solicitors where shortcuts have been attempted, leaving the case close to, or sometimes beyond, failure. At Aston Knight Solicitors we are extremely proud of our very high court success rates and it’s our experience and attention to detail that make that happen.
What’s the typical or average compensation amount?
Again a very common question but not one any honest or indeed competent solicitor should be commenting upon at the outset of a case, the simple reason being in the early stages it is impossible to determine how someone’s recovery will go.
Even a simple car accident could lead to chronic pain injuries, which could be valued at over £20,000, though a quick recovery in a matter of months would equate to maybe a few thousand pounds; however we can provide you with a guideline depending on your estimated recovery time. All that any competent solicitor can advise is that they will recover the maximum the law allows.
Sadly a worrying practice has emerged in that a small minority of rogue claims companies or less than professional solicitors are promising clients very high settlements for minor injuries in order to secure the case from the client. If you think this is might be happening you should end the call and take alternative advice from a reputable solicitor.
Can I use any solicitor?
Like anything in life, when it comes to seeking professional assistance a specialist is always the best choice. Whilst many high street solicitors will have someone who also does personal injury, the benefits of seeking a specialist firm instead are numerous including:
Knowledge of which expert witnesses should be used in the case – this is a skill which takes years of experience and often means the difference between winning and losing. Only a specialist will have this knowledge. At Aston Knight Solicitors, we have established good working relationships with respected experts in each specialism.
Being able to spot the signs of a more serious injury and ensure it is uncovered. An example of this is that many non-specialists will only get a report from a GP. However, if for example you have had a head injury, even though you might have recovered what a GP report is unlikely to explore is the long term risk of epilepsy; a specialist on the other hand would use a neurologist – the difference between spotting this and not could be tens of thousands of pounds.
Being able to deal with cases which turn more difficult or need to go to court. It never ceases to surprise us how many solicitors will try to settle a claim but then, when it becomes clear the case won’t settle, then turn the client away! Many who lack the confidence to deal with court matters will close the case, advising the client against taking the matter further. A specialist will be able to deal with court proceedings comfortably and ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
Think of it like this – if you had a heart problem would you rather see a cardiologist or a GP?
Not all solicitors are the same so always seek a specialist with a proven track record.