Making a claim: from preparation to process

When you’ve suffered a personal injury or medical negligence, how likely are you to consider making a claim?

Although it may not be the first thought that crosses your mind, it is one that you should certainly not ignore. The process is not a complicated one. And with the right support, it can be straightforward and even empowering.

Knowing when to make a claim

It’s not always possible to make a claim after an accident. You’ll need to be able to prove that what you suffered was a personal injury. This means that it was caused or made worse by someone else’s negligence. That can be an individual or an organisation, such as your employer.

This means there are a number of common ways your injury may have happened. You may have suffered a slip, trip or fall or a car accident. You may have suffered an industrial disease as a result of your working conditions. You may have had an accident abroad while on a package holiday or you may have suffered a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis by a medical professional.

To be able to make a claim, your accident has to have happened in the last three years and must have caused you to suffer physically. There are exceptions to this time limit, though. Children in England and Wales can make a claim at any point up until their 21st birthday, while if the claimant is of limited mental capacity, it is unlikely that there will be a time limit.

Preparing to make a claim

When you’ve decided to go ahead with a claim, it will be a real advantage to have your evidence together. This will help you present a clear and coherent story of what happened. Write down the date, time and location of the accident. You should also include a detailed description of exactly how you were injured. Taking photos and recording your symptoms as you recover from your injury will help to highlight the seriousness of the injury you suffered.

It might be a good idea to compile a file of information relating to your accident. This can include any records of the injury – such as a copy of a workplace or hotel accident book entry – as well as any photos or videos you may have of the scene of the accident and the injury. If you can access any CCTV recordings of what happened, this will bolster your case.

If you had a car accident, ensure you make a note of all the registration numbers of the vehicles involved, including those of witnesses. If you went to the hospital or medical centre for treatment after the injury, note down the names of the staff who saw you and any wards you may have been admitted to. If you don’t know this, though, your solicitor should be able to find out for you.

The claims process

Your solicitor will manage the process of your claim. Your job will be to provide them with the information they require to drive things forward.

During your first conversation with your solicitor, they will discuss your injury with you so they have a clear idea of what happened and how you were affected. They’ll also talk through any records and evidence that may exist, including police and medical reports. They will also discuss the no win no fee agreement, if that is applicable to your case.

If you are receiving ongoing treatment for your injury, don’t forget to keep a record of how much money you have spent on it, if any. You could be able to recover the costs as part of your claim. Think about any private medical costs, as well as the expense of getting to your appointments. Your solicitor will make sure you know what to keep track of.

Once all that has been discussed, your solicitor will then contact the person or organisation responsible for your injury to inform them of your intention to make a claim. They will then either accept or reject liability. If they accept, your solicitor will negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf. Meanwhile, if liability is rejected, your solicitor will review the evidence and advise you of the most appropriate next step for your situation.

Just as all accidents and injuries are unique, so too are claims. This is why it is vital to appoint an experienced and skilled personal injury solicitor to your case. The right lawyer can be the reason you receive the justice you deserve.

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