What exactly is personal injury?

With approximately 120,000 people a year making a claim for a personal injury, it’s something that may come to affect any one of us or our loved ones, so we have teamed up with Personal Injury specialists First4Lawyers to get some clarity. Personal injury claims can be made for a myriad of reasons, it could be a workplace injury, a slip, trip or fall or even a whiplash injury sustained in a car accident. Such injuries can be minor and easily recovered from, but if they’re not, do you know where to turn for help in gaining financial compensation?

What injuries qualify

A wide range of injuries fall into this category, and from a legal point of view it’s not really about what injury you sustained, but that damage has occurred which has led to pain and suffering. Claims that are successful need to clearly establish an ‘at fault’ person or people who have been responsible for your injury.

What’s the process?

Firstly, it’s important to know that time limits apply to all personal injury claims in England and Wales. You have three years from the date of your accident, or the start of your injury to start court proceedings. But it’s important to note that it can take a long time to build a successful case, and so you will want to start as early as possible.

The system used to be that if you wanted to make a claim you would instruct a personal injury solicitor, who specialises in your type of case and who would guide you through the process using their in-depth knowledge to gain you the fairest deal possible. This will remain the system for many injuries, however if the injury you suffer is road traffic related, and is deemed to be worth under £5,000, then from April 2021 you will need to use the new small claims portal.

This is an online system that has been set up by the Ministry of Justice and aims to streamline claims by having injured persons handle their own claims through their step by step portal. It allows easy access for anyone who thinks they may have a claim. Unfortunately, it does remove access to legal advice for these types of claims. So, if you think you may have a claim and would benefit from the advice and guidance of a solicitor it would be better to get your claim started before April 2021.

How much compensation can I receive?

Compensation amounts are wide-ranging and based on a whole raft of criteria which look at how much pain and suffering has been experienced, any emotional distress, and any loss of earnings of you haven’t been able to work due to your injury. It can even, in extreme cases, take into account future loss of earnings if your injury will prevent you from ever returning to work.