What is Personal Injury?
Personal injury cases make up a large proportion of civil cases in Britain today. If you’ve been hurt in an accident or suffered damage due to someone else’s negligence then you can claim for personal injury. Personal injury cases are not normally treated as criminal matters although sometimes the police may decide to investigate and if they do so you may well be awarded damages by the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority.
If you win your case in a civil court then you should recover damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. The damages are broken down into general damages for the injury itself and special damages for any resulting financial loss such as loss of earnings, additional travel costs, nursing care and reasonable medical expenses. They include both past and future expected losses. It is important to be able to support your claim with evidence and often your solicitor and that of your opponent will expect you to be examined by specialist medical experts. The judge will make an award based on an overall assessment of your case and so damages awarded can vary considerably dependent on the particular circumstances of the claimant.
The leading causes of personal injury can be attributed to vehicle accidents, falls and sports injuries. Accidents at work also account for a large number of claims and a number of awards have been made to groups of people who have developed illnesses as a result of products used in the workplace. To win compensation you’ll need to prove that someone was negligent and also you’ll need proof of any injuries suffered. This is why it’s important to get as much supporting evidence as you can; witness statements, medical records and expert reports are all useful.
You’ll also need to bring your claim within three years of the date of the accident. In some cases this can be extended, as you might not realise you’ve suffered a personal injury until some time later. If the other party denies liability you will have to take legal action otherwise compensation may be offered and accepted without the need for court action. It’s also important that the person you are claiming against has funds to pay you. With road traffic or workplace accidents insurance companies will settle claims but if you are seeking damages against an individual in other circumstances they might not have any means to pay you or your legal fees so it may not be worth pursuing your claim.