If you have suffered an injury and someone else was at least partially to blame, you could make a personal injury claim. Making a personal injury claim may seem complicated, particularly if you are concerned about your physical and mental health, or your finances. However, bringing a claim might be easier than you think. In this article, we set out the five stages of bringing a personal injury claim.
If you want to bring a personal injury claim, you will need to contact a solicitor. You may never have needed a lawyer before and choosing a personal injury lawyer can seem confusing. The solicitor you choose should have experience in making personal injury claims, particularly in cases that are similar to yours. Many solicitors offer a free initial consultation, so you can find out whether your claim is likely to be successful, and they may even offer to work with you on a no win, no fee basis.
Once you have instructed a solicitor, they will ask you about what happened to you in detail. They will also gather evidence to support your account of how things happened, and the injuries you have suffered. Evidence may include photographs, CCTV, witness statements, medical records and reports, and anything else that may support your claim.
Your lawyer will also set out the value of your claim. They will first assess how much you could be awarded for your pain and suffering, which is determined by the type and severity of your injuries. They will also set out how much you might expect to receive to compensate you for loss. For example, loss of wages, loss of future earnings, or out-of-pocket expenses.
After your solicitor has set out your claim, they will send it to the party responsible for your accident or injury. Certain actions follow a Compulsory Pre-Action Protocol in Scotland and your solicitor will be able to tell you if the Protocol will apply to your claim and advise you on the timescales involved. They must then respond to the claim within a strict time frame. They may deny liability, or you may enter into a period of negotiation.
The majority of personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom. Lawyers on both sides strive to reach a suitable settlement to avoid lengthy court battles, media attention and excessive fees. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, or where the person you are bringing the claim against denies liability, you may need to go to court.
After you have negotiated a settlement or obtained a court order, all that is left is for compensation to be paid. However, occasionally, the party liable for compensation may fail to pay in the specified time period. In these circumstances, your legal representative may need to take further action to ensure the debt is enforced and that you receive the compensation rightfully owed to you.