Slipped on a squashed tomato in the supermarket? Tripped over a cable in the office? Knocked off your bike? Has your operation gone wrong? Now where would you go to seek compensation for a personal injury?
If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. Your injury or illness has already caused financial loss for you and your family. Financial compensation for a personal injury repays lost salary, medical and travel expenses. In addition it acknowledges the suffering involved following an accident.
So what are the steps towards filing a compensation claim?
1. Whose fault was it?
If you’ve been injured in an accident and someone else was at least partially to responsible, you could make a claim for personal injury. You can make a claim no matter how minor your injury. And even if you share a small part of the blame. However, be aware that this could affect the amount of compensation.
2. Contact a solicitor
The next step is to contact a specialised and approved personal injury solicitor. Personal injury solicitors are experts in this field. They negotiate with insurance companies and can apply for legal aid if you need financial support with your compensation claim. Appointing a personal injury specialist will raise your chances of maximum compensation.
3. Need language assistance?
If English is not your mother language then you will need to contact a specialist medico legal translation and interpreting agency. Alternatively ask your personal injury solicitor to appoint a translation agency for compensation claims.
4. Need medical assistance?
A personal injury can leave you with physical and/or mental damage. Your solicitor will also help you arrange a consultation with a medical expert. You may then need ongoing therapy.
5. Collecting evidence
Your personal injury solicitor will pose questions in relation to your accident or unsuccessful medical procedure. Pictures may be required of the scene where the accident happened. The solicitor will also consult work documentation and medical reports as well as contact witnesses. Also useful is keeping a log of any subsequent consequences resulting from your injury. For example: pain, sleepless nights, anxiety and depression.
6. Quantifying damages
Your personal injury lawyer will make a detailed assessment of how much compensation you could and should be entitled to. Physical and mental suffering, loss of earnings, travel and medical expenses will all be considered.
7. Letter of Claim
Your solicitor will send out a Letter of Claim either to the person responsible for the injury caused (the defendant) or to the defendant’s insurer. This letter will entail details of the accident and resulting injury. It will also explain why the defendant acted negligently and is responsible. The defendant is normally required to respond within a timescale of 21 days.
8. Settlement out of court
Personal injuries are normally settled out of court. If there is no dispute about liability and severity of injuries, then prefer to settle the dispute at an early stage. It then doesn’t have to go to court. Both solicitors will meet together to assess all evidence presented. The goal is to negotiate a fair compensation deal. In this way, both parties benefit and the defendant does not have to pay court fees.
9. Going to court
Should the personal injury claim end up going to court, your solicitor will guide you through the court process. He/she will ensure you feel comfortable with taking legal action. Your solicitor will also contract the assistance of a qualified legal translator and interpreter for any language support you may need.
10. Getting your compensation
After accepting an offer of settlement, you will normally receive compensation within 14.28 days. However, an array of factors can also affect this timeframe. Your solicitor can try to organise for a quicker financial settlement should you be able to settle outside of court. This could be as little as within 14 days. Should your personal injury claim go to court then it will be the court. Who decides the payment due date. This is normally within 21 days from the date of order. Should the defendant miss this date then further court proceedings may follow.