Personal injury Q&As
We’ve put together some of the frequently asked questions regarding personal injury in the hope of helping you if you have any questions or queries about personal injury claims. For more information about personal injury claims, see our full Resource Library
Q: Is it OK to make a claim for compensation?
A: You should not feel ashamed to claim for compensation when you have been affected by the negligent action of someone else. The law is in place to provide compensation to those who have been injured through no fault of their own. In addition to the injury sustained, many people find that their finances are significantly and unexpectedly affected due to things like loss of earnings and medical costs.
The stigma attached to making a claim for personal injury compensation is predominately driven by insurance companies and their agenda to reduce the number of claims that they have to pay out. However, you shouldn’t let this be a factor in whether or not your make a claim. If you have been in an accident that wasn’t your fault and have an injury as a result, you have every right to make a claim.
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Q: What do I have to prove so that I can win my claim for compensation?
A: To win your claim and be awarded compensation, you are required to show the following:
- That there is an individual or organisation who is responsible for the negligent act, therefore you can make a claim against them
- That a person or organisation could have taken steps to avoid the accident or injury from happening
- And that any injury you sustained was a direct consequence of their negligence
Q: What is 'before the event' insurance?
A: Before the event insurance is a type of legal expenses insurance policy which is purchased before an accident takes place. It is usually purchased as an ‘add on’ to insurance products such as car insurance, home insurance or credit card insurance.
If you have this cover in place, you may be entitled to have any legal costs covered.
Q: What is 'after the event' insurance?
A: This type of legal expenses insurance can be purchased after an accident takes place and when you begin to make a claim. When you speak to a solicitor, he or she will talk you through this policy and help you decide whether or not it is for you.
If you fund your claim privately, or you enter into a no win no fee agreement, this type of insurance policy is usually recommended. The main benefit to having this policy in place is that you are protected from having to cover your opponent’s legal fees should you lose your claim.
Q: What does contributory negligence mean?
A: When you first make a claim, your solicitor will assess how viable it is and see whether or not you have contributed in any way to your injury.
If you are found to have contributed in some way, your solicitor may negotiate with the defendant on a percentage level of contributory negligence. So if you were found to be 20% responsible for your injuries and went on to win your claim, you would receive 80% of the compensation payout.
Q: What is causation?
A: Causation is the link between the accident and the injury sustained. It is essential to prove causation in all personal injury claims so that it is clear that the injury you suffered was a direct cause of negligence.
In some cases, it may be harder to prove causation. For example, if you were treated by a number of medical practitioners at the time of your injury. This could make it difficult to identify who was directly to blame.
Q: What is a Part 36 offer?
A: If it is clear that all evidence supports your claim, your solicitor may try to negotiate an offer on your behalf, to try and come to an early settlement. This is known as making a Part 36 offer to the defendant.
These offers are not limited to one side – both parties can make Part 36 offers up until the claim goes to court. If the defendant makes a Part 36 offer that you are not happy with, you can submit a counter offer.
The aim of a Part 36 offer is to provide both partied with encouragement to settle the claim without the need of going to court.
Q: Will I have to be medically examined as part of my personal injury claim?
A: You will need to attend a medical examination by an independent doctor or professional in your area in order to provide sufficient evidence that you have sustained an injury as a result of an accident. The doctor’s report is important as it will state exactly what the injury is and what your recovery should be like, which are important factors in deciding how much compensation you should receive.
Q: I have suffered a car accident; can I make a personal injury claim on my own car insurance?
A: No, this would not usually be part of your car insurance policy. However, you are able to make a claim against the party at fault, or their insurance company.
Q: Will I still be able to make a claim if I had heath issues before the accident or condition?
A: Any pre-existing medical conditions you have will be taken account by the medical expert who deals with your medical evidence. No pre-existing conditions will make it unable for you to make a claim. All the medical expert will do is establish whether or not the accident has worsened your condition in any way.
Q: What sort of evidence will my solicitor need to help me win my claim?
A: Initially, your solicitor will require full details of your accident and he/she will decide whether or not it’s a viable claim. The types of evidence that will be needed further down the line depends entirely on the type of claim you make. Common examples of evidence which is required are witness statements, medical evidence, photographic evidence and expert reports.
Your solicitor will inform you of what he/she needs to proceed with your claim.
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