What is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal process used to obtain compensation if you have suffered a personal injury through no fault of their own. You may be able to claim for general damages which are paid as a lump sum to compensate you for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity suffered by you as a result of your accident and special damages which include loss of earnings, medical and rehabilitation treatment, care and medication costs, travel expenditure, vehicle repairs and damage to clothing or personal belongings.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) came into effect on 1st April 2013. If you have an accident or are entitled to damages and it is valued at less than £5,000 you are not able to have a law firm represent you – you have to put a value on your injury and represent yourself.
How can I make a claim for personal injury?
If you’re making a claim for compensation, you have 3 options:
- make the claim yourself
- make the claim through a a solicitor
- make a claim through a commercial business like a claims management company (CMC)
We do not offer a claims management service for personal injury claims.
There are strict time limits depending on the accident circumstances and the nature of your injuries. The most common claim in a personal injury case is negligence and the time limit for this is three years. This means that court proceedings must be issued within three years of you first being aware that you have suffered an injury.
Consider taking advice as soon as possible from a Regulated personal injury solicitor such as a member of the Law Society’s personal injury accreditation scheme or clinical negligence accreditation scheme, depending on the nature of the injury.
Personal Injury Claims
The County Court is used for personal injury claims with an award value up to £50,000.00. Claims above this sum are made through the High Court.
The Judicial College issues Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases. These are general guidelines to amounts that have been awarded.
The Judge's task is to assess the effect of an injury on the individual claimant.
It is the task of the Litigant in Person to explain the effect of their injury on them as an individual and to prove this with evidence.
How do you prove a personal injury claim?
Personal injury claims are based on the presence of symptom(s) and proving the causation of the symptom.
Once the cause is proved then evidence can be provided that accounts for the impact, severity and prognosis of the condition.
The claim can then be supported by evidence proving any impact on a person’s ability to work, the need to take mediation and any side-effects, the extent to which treatment has been undertaken and its effect (or predicted effect from future treatment).
What is awarded for a minor injury?
For injuries of short duration where there is a complete recovery the awards will depend on the severity of symptoms, the duration of symptoms and whether the level of symptoms remains relatively constant.
- Complete recovery within 7 days - Few hundred to £500
- Complete recovery within 28 days - £500 to £1000
- Complete recovery within 3 months - £1000 to £1750
What is awarded for multiple injury claims?
Paragraph 34 of the judgment of Pitchford LJ:
It is in my judgment always necessary to stand back from the compilation of individual figures, whether assistance has been derived from comparable cases or from the [Judicial College] guidelines advice, to consider whether the award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity should be greater than the sum of the parts in order properly to reflect the combined effect of all the injuries upon the person's recovering quality of life or, on the contrary, should be smaller than the sum of the parts in order to remove an element of double counting. In some cases, no doubt a minority, no adjustment will be necessary because the total will properly reflect the overall pain, suffering and loss of amenity endured. In others, and probably the majority, an adjustment and occasionally a significant adjustment may be necessary.
Should I get an Expert medical report?
Judge's rely on evidence in expert medical reports when making awards. Wherever possible a Joint Expert is preferred by the Courts.
Experts must be honest and trustworthy when giving their evidence. They must make sure that any evidence they give or documents they write, or sign, are not false or misleading. They should recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and abide by this guidance even when giving evidence in non-medical scenarios.
They must take reasonable steps to the check the information and they must not deliberately leave out relevant information.