If you have been injured or are suffering from a disease caused by someone else’s negligence then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
What do you need to show to make a claim?
You need to be able to prove that you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence.
What is negligence?
In simple terms, it means that someone else was careless and you were injured as a result. In other words the conduct of that other person fell below what might be reasonably expected of them. In order to establish negligence the claimant (the injured person) has to prove that the defendant (the person being claimed against) had a duty to the claimant that he breached that duty and that the breach was the cause of the injury to the claimant.
For example a lorry driver owes a duty to other road users and if he has failed to secure his load properly and that falls onto another road user, causing them to have an injury as a result, then a claim may be based on that lorry driver’s negligence.
Who can make a claim?
Basically, anyone who has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. This includes children although their parent will act for them in instructing the solicitor.
Are there any time limits to be taken into account?
Yes you should be aware that there are time limits for bringing claims. In most cases that is three years from the date of an accident. This means that legal proceedings must be started within that time frame.
The more time that elapses, the more difficult it can be to bring a claim, both because the evidence can get weaker (people’s memory of events surrounding the accident will be more difficult to get the further away the date of the accident) and because leaving things until the last minute can create difficulties for you and your legal team, not least of which is getting the medical evidence in time.
The time limits do not apply to children under the age of 18 until they achieve their majority. Once they become 18, the three year time limit starts to run. If your child has been injured, it is best to take legal action quickly because memories can fade.
What does it cost?
Many solicitors will act on a no win no fee basis. That means that if they consider that your case is strong enough to proceed, they will enter into an agreement with you that there will be no charges. Legal costs will be covered by the insurer of the other party.
What do I have to do?
If your accident has happened in the last 3 years then your solicitor will investigate the claim and advise you on the merits. If it is considered that there may be the basis for a claim then you may need to sign some simple paperwork relating to the no win no fee agreement and your solicitor will send you to an appropriate medical consultant for a report which will form the basis of your claim for compensation. If proceeding do need to be issued in court then you will also have to sign them. Very few cases proceed to a full court hearing, it really is a very small percentage of all cases for personal injury. Normally an insurer will settle as this is more cost efficient for them as taking a case to court is expensive. Once the medical report is released, it is much more common that the case will settle around that time