Topic overview

Personal injury

Woman lying on hospital bed with broken leg held in traction

A personal injury claim can help compensate you if you suffer an injury. Car accidents, injuries at work, medical negligence and other personal injuries can all entitle you to make a compensation claim.

A compensation claim relies on establishing that your personal injury is someone else's fault. Your chances of making a successful personal injury claim can be improved by taking a few key steps.

Personal injury first steps

Personal injury compensation claims need evidence. If you suffer an accident at work, you should report it to your employer - but make your own notes as well. If you have a road traffic accident, you will want to exchange insurance details with the other driver.

Contact details for any witnesses and photographs if possible will help you provide evidence of what happened: for example, showing the trailing wire or spillage that caused a trip or slip. Medical treatment will also provide evidence of any personal injury you have suffered.

Further investigating the causes of a personal injury or accident can provide more evidence to support a compensation claim: for example, lack of proper training might have contributed to an injury at work. A compensation claim can be strengthened if there have been similar injuries or accidents in the past or previous reports of defects.

You should take legal advice as soon as possible after suffering a personal injury. Your compensation claim could be undermined if you have already admitted or agreed anything.

Compensation claim payments

A compensation claim can compensate you for pain, expenses, damage (eg car repairs), loss of earnings and so on. Broadly, the compensation aims to put you in the position you would have been in had you not had the accident or personal injury, rather than 'winning' a bonus. Substantial compensation claim payments generally reflect substantial losses - for example, being unable to work in future or needing ongoing medical care.

Any compensation claim payment is likely to be lower if you were at fault to some extent: for example, if you were driving too fast when you had a car accident.

Bear in mind that you are responsible for your legal costs when making a compensation claim. In the worst case, if your claim fails, you could have to pay both your costs and the other side's. Your lawyer may advise you to take out appropriate insurance (if you are not already covered). Costs can be high, particularly if a compensation claim ends up in court and for complex claims such as medical negligence.

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