Cardiff based Personal Injury Solicitors, Mooneerams, discuss how to make a claim for compensation after an accident at work, on the road or on the street
We’ve all seen the adverts on the TV. ‘Where there’s Blame, there’s a Claim’, making slips and trips look like a golden opportunity for a cash windfall. However, personal injury claims are more complex and less lucrative than they may appear at first glance and getting specialist advice is essential.
The most important thing to do after any accident is to report the accident and obtain medical advice.
At the accident, this means looking at the site, and taking photographs if you can. You will also want to document any injuries. A visit to your GP, Physiotherapist or A&E department will provide evidence of your injuries, no matter how minor they are. However, if a visit to A&E isn’t essential, then make an appointment with your GP instead. Whether it’s your own doctor or an A&E registrar that sees you, it’s important that you give an honest account of your injuries and the symptoms that you are experiencing and don’t try to exaggerate them (or indeed, underplay them!)
It’s also important to strictly follow medical advice – if you don’t you could be found to have contributed to your injury outcome.
If you have an accident at work it is a legal requirement that your employer records the incident in the company’s Accident Book. What seems like a scratch could get infected, causing further problems down the road, so don’t be tempted to let even minor injuries slide without documenting them.
How do I know if I have a valid claim?
Generally, there are 3 steps to establishing any claim:
- The person you are claiming against had a duty of care to towards you
- That person breached that duty of care and
- Your injuries were the direct result of that duty of care
A specialist personal injury solicitor will be able to advise you more fully and can usually also give an idea of the potential damages you will receive if your claim is successful. Don’t expect riches though, we don’t have punitive damages in the UK.
When should I see a solicitor?
Ideally this should be as soon as possible, as your solicitor may be able to assist with rehabilitation and interim payments to cover losses such as loss of earnings.
In the UK most claims for personal injury must be started within 3 years of the date of the accident – however, there is lots of investigative work to be completed to build a claim. We recommend seeing a specialist personal injury solicitor much more quickly than that, ideally a few months after the original incident.
You may require an additional medical report and even if your injuries have subsided by then, this will not affect the validity of your claim. Your solicitor will advise you on this.
Which Law firm should I choose
Who you choose to handle your claim is up to you. You don’t have to go with who your car insurer recommends.
Choosing a personal injury specialist can make a huge difference to the outcome of your claim and also to how long it takes, so look for a specialist lawyer who works with claimants rather than employers or insurers. Typically their approach to clients is very different.
A personal injury specialist will often have established relationships with insurers and defence lawyers. These trusted relationships can help ensure more speedy settlements because the parties are familiar with each other. An expert personal injury solicitors specialist legal knowledge is also more likely to be up to date. Case law changes all the time and ongoing CPD & education is one of the main benefits of choosing a specialist firm, who will ensure all staff receive regular legal updates.
Once you find the right solicitor, they will guide you through the claims process. In practice, most claims are settled out of court these days, but if you do go to court, there won’t be a jury.
Delays are sometimes necessary, if, for example, you are waiting for an updated surgeon’s report. The right law firm will be good at keeping you informed about this and will also advise whether or not to accept an offer of compensation. Many will offer no-win, no-fee, but that often depends on the circumstances of your claim.
Personal injury claims are very much a specialised area of law. Getting the right law firm to guide you through the process will definitely increase your odds of success.
For more information, please visit https://www.mooneerams.com/