1 A publication by Cute Injury How to make a personal injury claim A CLEAR AND CONCISE GUIDE TO THE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS PROCESS We provide professional and impartial advice from the outset and throughout your personal injury compensation claim CALL:
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. WHAT IS A PERSONAL INJURY? 2. DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPENSATION 3. TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY 4. WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUFFER A PERSONAL INJURY 5. PRE-ACTION PROTOCOL 6. STEP BY STEP CLAIM PROCESS 7. WHO IS AT FAULT?
3 1 WHAT IS A PERSONAL INJURY?
4 A Personal Injury can be defined as either: a physical injury, illness or disease a psychological or emotional injury or illness The term personal injury is commonly used to describe any type of injury that has been caused to your body or emotional wellbeing. Some examples of a personal injury include: Accident at work bodily injuries caused by accidents in the workplace Industrial disease illnesses caused at work e.g. asbestosis, industrial deafness, stress etc Road traffic accidents injuries caused in a car accident Slips, trips and falls injuries caused by tripping over paving stones, slipping on wet floors etc Medical negligence injuries caused by errors during the course of medical treatment
5 2 DIFFERENT TYPES OF COMPENSATION
6 If you have suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of someone else, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. There are two different areas of compensation you can make a claim for: General damages These take into account the pain and suffering you have sustained as a result of your injury using medical reports to support your claim. Special damages This is to compensate you for any proven past and future expenses you may have incurred as a direct consequence of your accident. These include loss of earnings, medical care and costs, rehabilitation treatment, travel expenses, vehicle repairs and damage to clothing or personal belongings.
7 3 TYPES OF PERSONAL INJURY
8 ACCIDENTS AT WORK Providing a safe working environment is the responsibility of all employers. Whether you work on a construction site, in an office or anywhere else. If your employer fails to provide adequate safety procedures and training and you suffer an injury as a result, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. FIND OUT MORE INDUSTRIAL DISEASE Poor health and safety training and procedures at work can also lead to industrial diseases and illnesses. These can be caused by exposure to dangerous substances (like asbestos), exposure to a dangerous environment (industrial deafness) or conditions related to repetitive working practices (Vibration White Finger) FIND OUT MORE ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS This relates to any accident that happens on the road. You could be a pedestrian, a motorist, a cyclist or a passenger (in a car or on a bus). If you have been injured following a road traffic accident that wasn t your fault, you could entitled to make a claim for compensation. FIND OUT MORE SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS Slips and trips happen every day and are one of the most common accidents in Britain. These unexpected accidents are usually caused by cracked pavements or wet floors and can result in injuries such as back pain, sprained ankles, head injuries, concussion and many more. FIND OUT MORE MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE Those who work in the medical profession have a duty of care to ensure their patients receive the correct treatment in a proper manner. Mistakes can happen though and patients can suffer serious injuries as a result of the negligence of medical professionals and institutions. FIND OUT MORE
9 4 WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SUFFERED A PERSONAL INJURY
10 If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a personal injury, there are certain actions you can take immediately that can help the progress of your claim later on: Report the incident and your injury to the police this is required if your injury was caused by a road traffic accident You should also report a road traffic accident injury to your insurance company, as failure to do so may render your policy invalid if it is not reported If the accident happened at work, you should ensure that it is recorded in the accident book If you did not require medical treatment immediately following the incident, you should visit your GP as soon as possible after sustaining your injury even if your injury seems minor. Your doctor will then make a record of your injury and will be able to provide a medical report should your claim proceed to court Gather as much evidence as possible relating to the accident and your injuries. This can include photographs of the accident scene and of what caused the accident, a written personal statement describing the accident in detail, contact details of any witnesses etc Get in touch with Cute Injury We will provide expert and impartial advice about your claim from the outset, and our solicitors can help you progress your claim for compensation on a No Win No Fee basis. As well as details about the accident and injuries, we will also need the following details: Proof of any loss of earnings and/or financial expenses sustained due to your injury; Documents relating to any relevant insurance policies you may have, as these may be able to cover the costs of your legal claim (e.g. motor or home insurance)
11 5 PRE-ACTION PROTOCOL
12 The personal injury Pre-Action Protocol is a guideline to help parties settle a claim without needing to go to court, and is designed to encourage both parties to: Have more contact with each other before any court proceedings are issued Fully exchange all relevant information Further understand each other s case and fully investigate any allegations The above objectives can help promote the early settlement of a claim, as well as ensure that any case that is eventually brought to the Court is wellresearched and documented so it can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. The steps that make up the Pre-Action Protocol, as it pertains to a personal injury claim, are as follows: Early notification - The claimant or their legal representative should notify the defendant (and/or their insurer) as soon as they know a claim is likely to be made. Letter of claim - Following the early notification, the claimant is then required to send a detailed letter of claim to the defendant detailing the facts of the claim and the financial losses incurred. Preliminary response The defendant then has 21 days from the date of the letter of claim to issue a response highlighting any relevant information the defendant feels is missing from the letter of claim and identify the defendant s insurers. Investigation - The defendant then has a maximum of three months from the date of the acknowledgement of the claim to fully investigate the circumstances. By the end of the three months they should be in a position to state whether liability is in dispute and, if so, the reasons for their dispute. Special damages - The claimant is required to send a Schedule of Special Damages to the defendant as soon as possible, including supporting documents, particularly in cases where the defendant has accepted liability. Experts - The protocol has stated guidelines related to the appointment of medical experts to provide a medical report on the claimant s injuries.
13 6 STEP-BY-STEP CLAIM PROCESS
14 At Cute Injury we like to keep things simple and not bombard you with lots of legal jargon as your claim progresses. We also understand that you will want to be kept up to date regularly with the progress of your claim and what we are doing on your behalf. We ve created the below step-by-step guide which details how we will deal with your claim, as per the Pre-Action Protocol: We receive your claim directly from you, either by phone or via our web form Our solicitors assess your claim and open a claim file Our solicitors then send you paperwork for your claim, including a copy of our No Win No Fee agreement, medical report forms and Personal Injury Questionnaire You fill out and sign all the paperwork as quickly as possible and send it back to our solicitors Our solicitors send the Letter of Claim directly to the Defendant If the Defendant then accepts liability, a medical expert will then be instructed Once completed, our solicitors will send the full Medical Report to the Defendant for them to agree and make an offer When you have agreed the offer, you then receive your compensation
15 7 WHO IS AT FAULT?
16 The issue of fault lies at the very heart of all compensation claims, and there are two concepts of fault that need to be considered: Duty of care This refers to a universal responsibility by all of us to ensure we don t cause harm to others as a result of our actions which applies to individuals and organisations. For example, an employer has a duty of care to its employees whilst under their control and supervision to make sure they are reasonably protected from injury and illness. If they fail to do this then they can be said to be negligent in their duty. Negligence If a duty of care has been breached either by an individual or an organisation which has resulted in an injury to an innocent party then this is classed as negligence. If you are deemed to be partly at fault for your injury then this is referred to as contributory negligence. In this case a claim can still be made but there may be a reduction in the amount of compensation to take into account your own negligence.
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