1. Evidence is required to prove that someone else was at fault
To make a successful claim for compensation, we need to prove that someone else was at least partly to blame for your accident and injuries. The stronger the evidence, the stronger your claim.
If you do have a case, then your solicitor will need to get involved straight away. They may need to interview witnesses and it is often better that they do this as soon as possible after your accident. We can arrange home and hospital visits in order to help with that.
For example, after a road traffic collision, the kind of evidence you may already have or that we can help collect for you, might be that another driver was driving without proper care and attention or was speeding. Alternatively, for an accident at work, obtaining evidence that your employer was responsible for providing a safe place of work and safe work equipment.
Even if the evidence collected shows you were partly to blame for your accident you may still have a valid claim if we can prove someone else was also at fault.
You should also take legal advice even if you don't know the identity of the person who may be responsible for your injuries. For example, if you have been a victim of a hit and run accident.
Indeed, it will often be the case following a head injury that you may not remember the accident or the events leading up to it. It is, however, still essential that you seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury solicitor as it may still be possible to prove someone else was responsible for your injuries.
2. Evidence is required to prove how much compensation should be awarded
Compensation is firstly awarded for your pain, suffering and your inability to do things you could do before the accident. This is often referred to as “general damages”.
The amount of compensation awarded to an individual will depend on the nature and extent of the injuries sustained and upon the likely long-term effects. Therefore, evidence is normally required from a range of medical and other experts. It will also be normal to obtain witness statements from others to confirm how the injured person has been affected.
We should then be able to advise you on the likely level of award for general damages.
Compensation is also provided for your financial losses sustained as a direct result of your injuries. This is often referred to as “special damages”.
The claim for financial loses can include the following:
- Loss of earnings (net of tax and National Insurance)
- Private medical or therapy expenses
- Aids and equipment
- Pension loss
- Accommodation costs including any adaptations to property
- Personal care
- Travelling expenses
- Medication charges
- Case management fees
3. Claims have to be made within time limits
You should seek legal advice promptly as court proceedings will normally need to be issued within three years of the date of the accident.
There are however exceptions. For example, if you were under 18 at the time of your accident you will normally have until the date of your 21st birthday to issue court proceedings.
If you are assessed as not having mental capacity to bring a claim, which can often be the case following brain injury, the normal three-year limitation period will not apply. However, it is important still to obtain early legal advice as mental capacity can fluctuate and following improvements in condition you or your loved one may be assessed as retaining mental capacity to litigate.
If you have been a victim of a crime of violence such as an assault you may be able to pursue a claim under the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Scheme. An application must be made within two years of the date of your injury. The CICA do, however, have the discretion to consider cases outside this time limit.
We would suggest that advice is sought in all cases as to whether there is a prospect of you being able to bring a claim.