Personal accident and injuries: What Are Your Rights?
In the event of personal accident and injuries, the physical and mental strain of an accident means the injured party will be looking to minimise any further stress. Unfortunately, claiming for compensation is often falsely believed to be stressful. If you are considering making a personal injury claim, remember that with the right solicitor all the hassle of proceedings will be removed but is always beneficial to understand as much as possible about your rights.
The initial stages of a personal injury claim are straightforward. Pick your personal injury solicitor and provide them with as much information as possible on the incident. You’re most likely going to be acquiring an after the event insurance cover. From there, the information along with any other evidence from witnesses will be used to put together a letter of claim to be sent to the defendant (the third party). Always look out for a solicitor who has vast previous experience and can provide examples of previous successful cases; read reviews from former clients too.
When choosing a personal solicitor, you should keep in mind their duties. They should accomplish the following when working with you:
Make sure that you have received all the necessary medical treatment before you begin the claim, and have in-depth details on your care and procedures
Be able to determine which party is at fault, whether entirely or partly
Develop a claim strategy and ensure you understand the process fully
Your case will be looking to claim one of two types of compensation – general or special damages.
General damages are paid for compensation of injury, for example for pain suffered or loss of future earnings incurred.
This figure will be decided either by a court, or settled between the claimant and defendant beforehand.
Special damages are paid as compensation for any actual financial loss that is caused by an accident and injury up until the date of the hearing. This may include damage to belongings and clothing, as well as the costs of medical care, travel costs to hospital, private treatment and, in the case of a road traffic accident, the cost of hiring or repairing a car which has been damaged.
If a court decides that you are partly to blame for the incident, the amount of compensation may be reduced in accordance with this. An example may include, if you were in a road accident and were not wearing a seatbelt – the type of injury may be significantly greater than if you had been wearing a safety restraint.
When making a personal injury claim, it is also worth knowing about the time limits involved with the process. The most common form of claim during a personal injury case is for negligence, and the time limit for which you must claim for this is three years. This means that you must have issued court proceedings to your defendant within three years of first suffering an injury.
If you have been injured as a victim of a crime, you may be eligible to take your claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. This may also be relevant if you are the close relative of someone who died because of the result of criminal injuries.
Personal injury claims are usually settled on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. This means that you are not obliged to pay-out unless the case is successful and you are compensated for your injury.
This article is written by Rebecca Woods, who writes extensively on the subject of litigation, with focus on after the Event insurance covers. For more information on personal injury and what you could be entitled to then visit the Guardian Legal website.