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Personal injury law is a complicated business – but one thing remains simple. If you have been involved in an accident of some sort in which you received an injury which was the result of someone else’s negligence of the part of another individual or organisation then you have the right to pursue a claim for compensation.
Remarkably, a huge proportion of those who suffer personal injuries that are not their fault do not go on to pursue their right to compensation. They either regard their injuries as not sufficiently severe to warrant compensation, worry about the potential impact that pursuing their claim may have on their employment status, or are put off by the prospect of legal fees and the process of pursuing a claim through the courts.
As many as one in four adults across the UK has been injured in an accident of some sort in the last five years according to research carried out by YouGov in 2012. Of these a total of only 20 per cent go on and pursue their legal right to compensation and redress – that means millions of pounds go unclaimed despite individuals being entitled to compensation.
It also means that negligent organisations and individuals are allowed to get off scot-free despite having failed to fulfil their legal duty of care or to act with due care and consideration for others. In many cases organisations such as councils and public bodies are handsomely insured and fully prepared to deal with claims.
So, if you have been injured then you have the legal right to seek redress. This is where a claims specialist becomes invaluable. A personal injury lawyer will be able to assess two key things – how likely you are to have success in the case, and how much you will be able to claim for. They will need from you things such as details of the accident, witness statements, medical and police reports,and proof of loss of earnings and financial expenses that have been incurred directly on account of the accident. The calculation of how much you might be able to claim for will be based on the nature and extent of any injuries suffered as well as any financial losses you may have incurred such as lost earnings, medical fees, damage to vehicles or the costs of re-building parts of your home to cater for your injuries.
Your lawyer will then notify the defendant of the claim, they have a fixed period in which to reply and the defendant will either accept responsibility or deny it. Should they accept they were negligent there may be an out of court settlement negotiated by your lawyer.
If the defendant decides to challenge whether they were liable for the accident then your case may proceed to court where a judge will decide on the outcome of the case. In these circumstances your lawyer will build as strong and detailed a case as possible to give your case the best possible chance of success.