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Your quick guide to making a compensation claim
 

Your quick guide to making a compensation claim

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A complete guide on how to make a compensation claim.

A complete guide on how to make a compensation claim.

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    Your quick guide to making a compensation claim Your quick guide to making a compensation claim Document Transcript

    • Your Quick Guide To Making A Compensation ClaimContentsIntroduction: ........................................................................................................................................... 2Making a personal injury claim: .............................................................................................................. 3Handling your own accident claim .......................................................................................................... 3Accidents at Work ................................................................................................................................... 3Who is Responsible? ............................................................................................................................... 4Who Can You Talk To? ............................................................................................................................ 5Compensation Levels .............................................................................................................................. 5Claims Assessors and Managers ............................................................................................................. 6Special Compensation ............................................................................................................................. 8How Much Compensation Should You Expect? ...................................................................................... 9How Much Have Other People Been Awarded For Injuries Like Yours? .............................................. 10Compensation Calculator...................................................................................................................... 10What Happens When You Make A Complaint? .................................................................................... 11A Reasonable Period To Respond to a Claim ........................................................................................ 11Other Options Beside Court .................................................................................................................. 12Claim Forms: Sending and Receiving .................................................................................................... 12Proving and Documenting Your Injury .................................................................................................. 13Independent Examinations ................................................................................................................... 14Loss of Earnings..................................................................................................................................... 14Past Earnings ......................................................................................................................................... 14Future Earnings ..................................................................................................................................... 15
    • Introduction:You’ll often hear people talking about ‘compensation culture’ and the ‘litigious society’ that we livein today but what does it means and how does it affect you?If you’ve been involved in an accident or otherwise suffered an injury or loss of property which youbelieve is some-one else’s fault you could have a claim. Claiming compensation isn’t about gettingmoney out of a person or body as a reward for having an accident or being the victim of some-oneelse’s negligence. Compensation exists to financially reimburse you for loss of earnings, the costs ofrepair or replacement of possessions and other unavoidable costs that you will find unavoidable ifyou find yourself unable to work, take care of your children or live your life as fully as you’d normallyexpect to do.The process doesn’t need to be complex and if you collect all the necessary evidence to prove yourcase it can be virtually stress free and most importantly, brief.For basic claims you don’t need any legal training, in many cases just follow instructions and filling inpaper work is all a claim requires. If, on the other hand, your case is complex, involves numerousindividuals or bodies it could be worth securing legal representation, be that a solicitor, lawyer orbarrister.
    • Making a personal injury claim:Handling your own accident claimYou can often handle your own claim but that’s not to say that you’re not going to need advice. Andif the accident you’ve been involved in goes beyond carelessness and into the realms of criminalnegligence it will be necessary to involve the police, in the event of a road traffic accident the policeshould always be informed and insurance details exchanged. If you don’t report the accident to thepolice your insurance may be invalidated, making it very difficult to get remuneration.If you’re injured, either as a part of a traffic accident, trip or any other kind of accident you shouldsee a doctor at the earliest possible opportunity. A compensation claim for personal injury will hingeon medical reports so explaining all the details to your doctor will mean that all the facts are takeninto consideration.Gather as much evidence as you can. If you are able, get the names and contact details of anywitnesses. The weight of having numerous eye witnesses can often sway a settlement without anyof them ever needing to be called. Take photos too. Visual documents can often provide betterdetails than statements alone, take as many pictures as you can from as many angles as possible(without putting yourself at further risk in the case of traffic accidents). You might like to write anaccount of the circumstances surrounding your accident as soon as possible after the event. Doingthis will capture all the details while they are still fresh in your mind without you forgetting detailswhich might not seem important later on but prove vital. Accidents that occur in shops such assupermarkets should be reported in the first instance to the shop manager, again remembering totake the names of any employees who helped you or were witness to the accident. Withoutreporting the accident or securing this data making a claim later on will prove remarkably difficultunless the incident was captured on the retailer’s security video. You should also bear in mind that ifyou’re relying on this type of video evidence many shops record over the old tapes if they’re notaware that the recordings are going to be needed later on.Accidents at WorkIf the accident happens at work you should report it to a first aider and make an entry in theaccident report book that most employers are required to keep. If your work doesn’t have anaccident report book you must take it upon yourself to write out a statement again, this timesending a copy to your employer and keeping a copy for yourself. If you’re self employed it’s yourresponsibility to inform the Health and Safety Executive or local Environmental Health Departmentof any accidents resulting in injury. More information is available here: www.hse.gov.ukWhen it comes to taking legal action, if you want to claim compensation you will need to get advicefrom a solicitor in the first instance; preferably one who specialises in your particular type of case.This should be done as soon as possible as there are certain time limits in place for taking legalaction. Exceptions exist if you were a child at the time the injury was caused or your injury isdegenerative, such as in the case of asbestosis.
    • The most common claim in an injury case is negligence and the limit in negligence and personalinjury claims is three years. However, in some circumstances the courts may decide to extend thelimits on a particular case depending on circumstances.When Should You Take Action And What Should You Expect?If you are considering taking legal action and haven’t seen a solicitor you should be aware that timeis already slipping away and you should seek help from an experienced advisor. Many solicitors offera free surgery to examine the details of your case in order to see whether it is winnable and whetherthey are able to handle it. Your local Citizens Advice Bureaux is also able to offer help and advice forfree, however, while they can offer advice they cannot act as representatives in legal proceedings.Lodging a complaint doesn’t automatically mean getting compensation. If you lodge a complaintwith a company or organisation the details should be examined and you should get back anexplanation and an apology, however, this process takes time and the result is going to be anapology. If you’ve suffered an injury and you want an apology and financial recompense for timeyou’ve had to take off work, trips to hospital or physio, childcare and all other extraneous expensesthat you’ve incurred as a result of some-one’s negligence you should be aware that the complaintsprocess can take a very long time so bear that in mind if you’re making a complaint and waiting fortheir reply before then going on to making a claim against them.Who is Responsible?If you feel that making a complaint is important in your case and you also feel that there is enoughtime to get a result to your complaint before taking further action or you are going to complain andclaim concurrently there are a number of bodies who will look into your complaint depending onhow and where the accident or incident took place. These include:*Government departments*The local authority where the incident took place*You employers*the police or Independent Police Complaints Commission*The school, College University or other educational institute where you were hurt*The hospital or NHS trust who are responsible for the facilities where you were injuredWhere these organisations are public bodies there are official complaint processes set up already. Tofind out more you should call the organisation concerned to find out how to complain and thenfollow the process, remembering to keep records of all correspondence between yourself and them.Your claim for compensationIf you’re making a small claim then the first place you should look would be, unsurprisingly, the smallclaims court. There are guidelines on how to pursue a claim through the small claims here. Thelanguage is quite “legalese” but clear enough to understand if you take the time and effort to read it
    • carefully. Because the claims and awards are naturally quite small you don’t need a solicitor to makea small claim, mostly the process depends on a great deal of paperwork rather than relying onrepresentation. It’s for this reason that the more evidence you can collect at the time of theincident, witnesses, photos, statements, police and medical records are all so important for asmooth and rapid resolution.Who Can You Talk To?If your claim is too big or technical for the small claims court, the solicitor or CAB that you consultedwill have been able to tell you whether this is the case, you claim for compensation can be handledby taking one of the following actions:  Taking on claims assessors  Taking action through civil court  Taking your case to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority  Taking out a Criminal Compensation Order  investigating one of the special Government compensation schemes which apply to such things as injuries caused by vaccines or exposure to asbestos  Going through the NHS Redress Arrangement process (in Wales only)Compensation LevelsThe amount of compensation you can expect to receive depends on a number of factors. Not least ofthese factors is whether you are claiming for general damages or special damages. General damagesare paid out as compensation for a particular injury. For example, you may be awardedcompensation for pain, suffering and loss of future earnings, the amount this comes to will beadjudged by the courts.Special damages are compensation payments that cover actual financial loss caused by the accidentup to the date of the hearing. These payments would normally include (where applicable) damage toclothing and other personal possessions and effects that were destroyed in the accident, travel costsfor hospital visits (keep a hold of your taxi receipts, bus and train tickets), medical expenses includingprivate medical care where applicable, and the costs of car hire and repairs if it was a road trafficaccident. If you were partly to blame for the injuries you received it’s still worth pursuing a claim, forexample, if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of your accident. The courts will take this intoconsideration and may well reduce the amount of compensation you receive but provided youweren’t fundamentally responsible you might well still qualify for remuneration.If you have been receiving healthcare and disability benefits from the state as a result of yourinjuries you may have to repay them upon winning your award. The caveats and provisos are sonumerous as to be impossible to list here; instead, you should talk to a specialist in personal injuryclaims or the CAB for specific and particular advice in this matter.
    • Claims Assessors and ManagersIf your case was handled by a claims assessor or claims manager they were probably offering theirservices on a “no win no fee” basis. While being inexpensive they do have some drawbacks. Becauseclaims assessors are not typically legally qualified they will be unable to pursue the case through thecourts and that means that you could finally end up receiving a diminished settlement. Anotherdrawback is that they could charge a percentage of the award you receive rather than a flat fee. So,their services will cost you nothing if you lose but if they ask a large percentage, as much as 50% andyou’re awarded £10,000 for example, you might feel that the price of their services is too high.Claims assessors are licensed and have guidelines determining how they advertise, conduct theirbusiness and represent their clients. Like any other body who deals with compensation and claims,they too must have a clearly defined complaints procedure which you can follow if you’re notsatisfied with their services.Legal ActionIf your case is too large or complex for a claims assessor or it involves criminal injury your next stepmight be to take legal action against the person or body responsible for the accident. Again,provided your case is presented before three years have elapsed you have a right to take the case tocourt. However, those three years can go by quite quickly and the fresher the incident is in yourmemory the better so don’t delay unnecessarily in bringing your case before a solicitor.Of course taking anyone to court is an expensive business, it’s not just the time in court that counts,all the preparations and even ‘thinking time’ all have to be paid for so you might like to retain theservices of a ‘no win no fee’ solicitor or apply for legal aid if you qualify. Additional help could comefrom a trade union or other organisation such as the RAC or AA, additionally you insurance companymight like to see you win compensation from the other side as it would keep the amount that theyhave to pay in awards down.When it comes to choosing your solicitor you should look for one who is an accredited member ofthe Law Society’s personal injury scheme or criminal negligence scheme. Which you would choosewould necessarily depend on the type of injury you sustained and the circumstances of the accidentby which they occurred. To get the Law Society’s material on solicitors who are accredited on theseschemes you can write, email or call them.The Law Society113 Chancery LaneLondon WC2A 1PL0207 242 1222Info.services@lawsociety.org.uk
    • Another resource which is very useful when looking for the right solicitor for you specifically if you’remaking a personal injury claim is the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). This is a nonprofit making group of solicitors, barristers and academics who are able to offer specialist help,advice and representation in cases involving personal injuries. Members of APIL are often accreditedas having expertise in particular fields of personal injury law. All members have to follow a code ofconduct and a consumer charter. Again contact them by letter, email or phone.APIL3 Alder CourtRennie Hogg RoadNottinghamNG2 1RX0115 958 0585mail@apil.org.ukIf the injuries you’ve suffered come not as the result of an accident but as part of a criminal incidentyou should approach the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. If you were injured directly asthe victim of a crime, while helping the police after a crime had been committed or an immediaterelative of a person who died as the result of a crime you can also make a claim.As with any criminal activity you aught to report the incident to the police as soon as is practicallypossible and an application in criminal injury cases usually has to be made within two years,however, in certain circumstances the courts have the discretion to extend this limitation, forexample, if you’re brining a case as an adult for injuries which you sustained as a child.You can contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority for applications and help and advicecompleting the forms from:Criminal Injuries Compensation AuthorityTay House300 Bath StreetGlasgowG2 4LN0300 003 3601 Mon thru Fri 08:30 to 17:00 except Weds 10:00 to 17:00
    • If you require any additional information about applying for compensation for a criminal injury youcan also go to www.justice.gov.uk. Details of the crime you were a victim of need to be entered onyour claim form and specifics are important. If you think you’d like help filling in the details you canconsult an experienced adviser, your solicitor or your local Citizens Advice Bureaux.In some circumstances a criminal convicted of an offence may be ordered by the courts to paycompensation for injuries that they have caused along with further loss and damage that theirbehaviour caused.Special CompensationSpecial compensation is sometimes awarded for some injuries and losses. The clearest example ofthis kind of compensation is the MacFarlane Trust and British government scheme whichcompensates people who were given blood infected with HIV receiving blood transfusions in the1980s. People who’ve become ill or suffered permanent disablement after receiving vaccinations canapproach the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit. When it comes to drug trials, you may have been awilling, paid participant but if things go badly wrong you can make an accident claim for medicalnegligence from the NHS.Asbestosis is a unique case and is handled differently meaning that there are special schemes inplace for claiming compensation. Different cases are covered by different processes, for example ifyou worked with asbestos and became ill because of it you may be able to claim under industrialinjuries disability benefits and your employers. If you developed asbestosis another way, such ashaving a parent who worked with asbestos who brought asbestos into the home on clothing youmay be able to make a one-off payment claim against the government. These claims are timesensitive and for more information about how much you could receive and how quickly you shouldmake your claim you should go to direct.gov’s Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment page.If you are living with a disability and are unable to work, or have a disabled child you should be ableto claim additional financial help with living costs by claiming the Disability Living Allowance. In manyof the circumstances a solicitor should be able to help you if you think that you are entitled to makea claim. They can help you decide if you should make a compensation claim under a particularscheme or whether it would be better to make a claim through the courts.If you’re having trouble financially as a result of injuries that you sustained due to an accident orcrime then there are also specialist money advisers who can help you with benefits and debtmanagement. If, for example, you are unable to work and have loans or a mortgage then you couldbe able to get help with freezing interest, postponing payments and rescheduling debt until such atime as you are better able to meet your financial commitments. Talking to your bank manager, loancompany, credit card company should help if you approach them as soon as possible and are able toprovide evidence that your revenue stream has been cut off should mean that they looksympathetically won your case, again the Citizens’ Advice Bureaux or a solicitor should be able tohelp if you feel they are less than reasonable.
    • Further Financial ConsiderationsIf you’ve been hurt and can’t work then you’ll most likely be going through your savings andtherefore not likely to have the available funds to take a case to court, particularly in your currentmedical state. If you’re taking a private case against an insurance company for a personal injury it isunlikely that you will get legal aid. Indeed, in a leaflet published by the Legal Service Legal Aid isspecifically noted as being unavailable for employment tribunal, personal injury and damage causedby negligence. This being so, if you don’t have insurance to cover the costs of making a claim againsta third party your access to justice might seem limited. This is where “No Win No Fee” solicitorscome in. After a consultation during which the merit of your case will be assessed you will be toldwhether or not the solicitors believe your case is winnable and therefore whether your No Win NoFee solicitor is prepared to represent you.If the case is fought and lost you won’t have to pay your legal fees (some companies charge a smalladministration charge, you should check what this might be before pursuing your case) and if youwin the costs are usually awarded against the defendant, i.e. the people you are suing, leaving youwith the compensation award in full.How Much Compensation Should You Expect?Contrary to a commonly held belief, you won’t automatically be entitled to compensation if you’vebeen hurt in an accident. If you’ve been hurt slipping up in a supermarket, stripping over a loosepaving stone, been involved in a road traffic accident or an accident at work you’ll often find thatyour claim for compensation depends on proving that some-one was negligent and without theirlack of care and attention, the accident could have been avoided.If the compensation you want isn’t worth a great deal, you might find that you damaged clothing orlost a small amount of personal property but weren’t really hurt yourself then often a simple letteroutlining your grievance and also providing copies of receipts may be enough to warrant aninvestigation and settlement without the hassle and expense of going through mediation or evencourt. The same applies for accidents where you were hurt but not very badly, if you fall and grazeyour knees for example; you won’t need time off work but you would like to have your pain anddiscomfort recognised. Of course it might not be compensation you’re after beyond the cost ofrepairing or replacing damaged property, however, a genuine apology and a promise to ensure thatthey will take all reasonable steps to make sure this type of thing won’t happen again might bereward enough. Mediation won’t necessarily get you financial compensation of any kind, let alone ahuge payout but it will mean that you’re more likely to get an apology and a change in policy,training or behaviour which means that no-one else aught to suffer the way you did. If you feelmediation is the process you’d prefer to take up you can find information on how to find and choosea mediator by visiting the Ministry of Justice’s websiteFormal and Informal Compensation, Out Of Court SettlementsAs a result of your report of the accident to a shop manager or thanks to your letter of complaintyou may be made an informal offer in compensation. It’s worth considering these offers, they are
    • often generous acts of ‘goodwill’ and can in fact be worth more than you would receive if you wentto court considering that there is a ceiling on awards which can be made in small claims court and inhigh court the amount awarded is at the discretion of the sitting judge. Also accepting an out ofcourt settlement is going to be much quicker and less stressful than gathering and presentingevidence. Bear in mind that you don’t have to settle straight away if you put your claim or complaintin immediately after the accident. Those three years that you have after an accident to lodge a casein court could give you some breathing space while you consider the offer that’s in front of you. Evenif the settlement offer is smaller than you had anticipated you’ll get the money more quickly thanyou would going to court which could be of more help in the short term.How Much Have Other People Been Awarded For Injuries Like Yours?Kemp and Kemp’s book Quantum of Damages can be found in many libraries, and is a referenceguide to the amount of money you can expect for particular injuries based on recent awards madeby courts. Quantum of Damages tries to be as comprehensive as possible listing all the most recentawards for injuries, disablements and amputations in as many permutations as possible, forexample; an 18 year old semi-professional footballer might expect a different level of compensationfor the loss of a leg than some-one in late middle age who had no professional interest in sports.As well as limbs, the book contains data on awards for brain injuries, internal organs, lost ordamaged teeth and muscular and ligament damage. The list below gives a general idea of awardswhich could be expected but again, because so much depends on circumstances it should be seenonly as a very rough guide.Compensation CalculatorBurns and skin injuries: £1,000 to £15,000.Scars: £500 from barely noticeable to £75,000 for disfigurement.Back: £500 to £100,000 (although a back injury which has a permanent affect on overall ability willattract at least £15,000.Shoulder injuries: £1,500 to £5,000 for injuries which heal in a few weeks, going up to £15,000 forlong term or permanent problems.Arms: A break which heals without any problems might attract £5,000. A permanent injury to an armmight receive £35,000. Loss or loss of use of an arm may see £75,000 while loss of use or loss of botharms might mean an award of £175,000Legs: Attract a similar amount of compensation for similar circumstances as arms. Except:Knees: short term injuries will see £500 to £5,000, lesser injuries which take a long time to heal,£10,000, major knee injuries with long term but complete recovery: £15,000. Major knee injuriesrequiring surgery which leave permanent or recurring pain or symptoms: £30-50,000.Again, ankles attract similar compensations for similar severity of injury
    • Wrists: a broken wrist which recovers fully may garner compensation of around £5,000, permanentsymptoms, £20,000 and the complete loss of use of a wrist £30,000Paralysis: Partial paralysis can win awards of £100,000 to £250,000 depending on the age of thevictim and the severity of the paralysis.Check compensation calculator to get an idea on how much compensation you could get from yourclaim.What Happens When You Make A Complaint?When you start out making a claim against a person, company or local authority there are a numberof principals it is necessary to follow, these include:  Advising all parties involved that you intend to take out proceedings against them, your grievance and the grounds for your complaint.  You also have to exchange enough information to mount their defence, including reports, witness statements and police incident numbers where appropriate. At this point the parties being taken to court are able to evaluate the case and could possibly opt to settle at this point rather than go through the trouble and expense of fighting your case in court.  Parties are required to behave in a proportionate and reasonable manner whenever they have to deal with one another. Ironically taking a case to court requires a great deal of cooperation between the parties, in the interests of fairness and justice each party should be as transparent as possible. Lawyers shouldn’t take the opportunity to obfuscate, complicate or delay the pre-court stage in order to inflate their costs or to press their advantage in relation to the other parties.Advising the defending party of your intention to take them to court isn’t the start of proceedingsand you should allow a reasonable period for them to investigate their response which should be inwriting to which you should acknowledge receipt of. There response could include a number ofoptions, they may wish to apologise and settle without going to court, they may wish to embark innegotiations or mediation or the may indeed be happy to have the case heard in open court. Yourstance here is important as it may be the final contact you have with them before the case goes tocourt.A Reasonable Period To Respond to a ClaimWhat is regarded as a reasonable period to respond can vary depending on the complexity andnumber of parties involved in the case. If it’s a straight forward case of your slipping on a wet floorwhich wasn’t properly signed as presenting a trip hazard then 14 days would generally be regardedas reasonable for a full response.Where the case involves third parties such as insurance companies, witnesses, evidence and othercomplicating matters 30 days would be seen as a reasonable period to wait for a reply to your noticeof intent to have your grievance heard in court.
    • 14 to 30 days is the general rule where reasonable periods in which to receive a response areconcerned, however, if your case is unusually complex, requiring expert witnesses and specialistadvice although waiting more than 90 days is only considered reasonable in truly exceptional cases.Once you’ve seen their reply, as mentioned above, court proceedings are just one of a number ofoptions and it should only really be considered in a case of ‘last resort’ after all the other choiceshave been exhausted. Court proceedings shouldn’t be entered into while other avenues are beingexplored and they will sometimes ask to see evidence that some sort of alternative disputeresolution has been attempted before the case appeared in front of them. It should also be borne inmind that a settlement can be reached at any time even after legal proceedings have commencedright up to the trial and any final hearings.Other Options Beside CourtWhile it’s not possible to list all of the possible solutions which you could reach before involving thecourts the four main recommendations for alternative dispute resolutions are:  Mediation, where a third party who all parties respect and trust acts as a ‘go between’ and negotiations facilitator in order to bring the disputing persons together to reach an amicable, mutually beneficial end.  Arbitration, many companies are members of arbitration schemes which are set up to deal with grievances from consumers. Arbitration involves an independent person or body making a decision, which is binding, on the matter at hand.  Discussion and negotiation where the injured party deals directly with the person who is believed to be at fault.  Early neutral evaluation, this is where a qualified, independent expert looks at the issue and gives their opinion on the merits of the dispute. The independent expert could be an individual or group which specialises in the field, a lawyer or an expert on the subject who is able to decide, to the satisfaction of all parties, who is to blame and to what degree.Yet, if all of these recourses are exhausted then it’s going to be necessary to go to court. If you neverreceive a satisfactory response to your letters or the person you believe is to blame for your lossand/or injuries refuses to come to an agreement then the next step is a legal case.Claim Forms: Sending and ReceivingThe person you’re claiming money from will have received a claim form which will have a claimnumber on it; this number should then be used in any correspondence that they send to the court sothat it is easier to keep track of proceedings. The claim form will contain details of how much you areclaiming from them and the circumstances of why you believe they owe you the money. They willalso receive a response pack containing:  A defence form which says they don’t owe any money, they have to complete the details before returning the form.
    •  An admission form where they can accept that they owe the money  An acknowledgment of service to confirm that they have received the documents.In all instances they will have to fill in the acknowledgment of service as well as one or other of thetwo preceding forms. If these forms are not returned promptly or ignored all together then a courtorder can be taken out against them in which case the money demanded will have to be paid even ifyour case wouldn’t have won had it gone to court.No win no fee sounds too good to be true, is there a catch?You should be able to discuss the precise circumstances of your case with your solicitor. Some thingswhich fall outside of the scope of your lawyers’ responsibility would include what is known asdisbursements. These would include expenses such as medical reports, assessments by motormechanics and the like. Otherwise the name says it all, if you don’t win you don’t have to pay a fee(aside from those disbursements). If your case does fail the court will more often than not say thatyou will need to pay the costs to the other side, however, as part of your no win no fee agreementyour legal team should have set up an insurance scheme whereby disbursements and fees arecovered and the other side’s fees are also insured against in case you do loose the case.Proving and Documenting Your InjuryWhen it comes down to injury compensation proving an injury is reasonably simple. With the help ofdoctors’ statements, medical records and photographs it’s an easy job to show exactly what injuriesyou’re sustained. Something which is more subjective and therefore harder to provide evidenceupon is pain and suffering. Imagine you’re in a car accident, fortunately your car isn’t badly damagedbut you suffer whiplash injuries. Proving nerve, ligament and tendon injuries is a tricky thing to do atthe best of times so, in order to test the severity of the accident the damage to your car may betaken into account. A modern car with crumple zones and impact bars could be deformed out of allrecognition while an older, sturdier built car may only display bent panel work and broken lights.Some people might think it reasonable to assume that the limited damage means that the accidentwasn’t so severe, whereas, in reality, the part of the car which bore the brunt of the impact was infact your neck and back!Make sure that you keep all of your records with your GP. If you’ve ever over done it at the gymyou’ll know that most of the pain comes a day or two after your gymnastic excesses and the same isoften true for whiplash. If your injuries are so bad that you need specialist chiropractic treatment askfor your regular GP to recommend one first, and keep a note that it was because of the accident thatyou need this additional care. It’s also important here to keep prescriptions for painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Proving that you’ve required a course of pain relief and allied medication will helpmake your case with the assessors and adjusters that you have, indeed, been suffering from apainful condition which directly stems from the injuries you received.Of course thins advice isn’t only true for car accident victims, any injury, no matter how minor theymight seem at the time of the incident can, unfortunately, have greater long term effects than canbe predicted when you first present yourself to your doctor. Your doctor will be asked not only forrecords and reports but also for a prognosis regarding how long they expect you to take to recover.
    • However, prognoses are fluid and if you’re taking longer than originally expected to recover regularvisits to your GP or specialist will explain how and why your injuries are taking longer than originallyexpected to mend.As well as questioning your doctor, you should expect to be questioned yourself as you are just asresponsible for your recovery as they are. Did you follow all of your doctors’ advice and completecourses of medication, follow exercise regimen, avoid sitting and standing for long periods asadvised? If your doctor gives you advice which you refuse to take that decision will count against youwhen brining a personal injury claim.Independent ExaminationsIt’s quite possible that you might be asked to attend an independent medical examination too, thiswill help determine if there is an ongoing physical injury which caused you ongoing pain long afterthe accident. You could also be asked to prove how much suffering you have experienced, here it isup to you to make your case. Provide all the documentation, records and photos that you havecompiled, explain in which way your life has been impacted following from the accident thanks tothe pain you experienced. If you’ve been left with a permanent limp or stoop, if you’re now unableto play sports that you used to enjoy, if you’re no longer able to take care of children orgrandchildren thanks to difficulties bending or lifting, if you used to be a keen angler or jogger butyou’ve had to give that up you should mention all of them as well as any employment or careerprospects you stand the possibility of losing out on thanks to your lack of mobility. Your lawyers willhave already presented all of this information but it is likely that the court will want to hear about itin your own words. Rather than being nervous or shy about speaking, you should welcome this asyour opportunity to express exactly how much you have been affected and how much your life haslost as a result of someone else’ inattention.Loss of EarningsYour injuries probably resulted in you having to take time off of work, your boss is only going to payfor you not to be there for so long and statutory sick pay is unlikely to be a patch on your actualsalary. Because you’re losing money being ill you will most likely experience yet more stress, youmay worry about heat, light and water bills which you might not be able to cover, your rent ormortgage, fuel, car and home insurance, school fees, even expenses relating to getting to and homefrom hospital appointments. Then of course there are damages to be paid for, be that scrapped cars,torn or ruined clothing, or indeed anything else that you lost due to the accident.Past EarningsPast earnings relates to the wages that were lost due to a short term absence from work due to aninjury. This is probably one of the simplest claims to asses as it simply relies on working out, basedon your salary, how much you would have earned had you not had to take the time off of work.The loss of earnings compensation may be complete if the injured party received no incomewhatever during their period of incapacity, if, for example they are self employed or freelance, ifthey received statutory sick pay then the difference between that and the salary they would
    • normally have expected to receive would be more appropriate. If overtime was available this mightalso be factored in if the claimant can prove that they were reasonably likely to have performed thisadditional work.Future EarningsCompensation for future earnings is a more serious and in-depth matter than simply reimbursingsomeone for the wages they lost. Future earnings assess how much you were likely to have earnedhad you not been in an accident, the victim of negligence, a botched operation et cetera. There canbe nuances in the way that this is worked out: If you’re completely unable to work and/or needconstant care that’s one thing, if you can work but at nowhere near the same level as you onceenjoyed that’s another and if you had to change careers and take a lower paying job that’s anotheragain. Of course working out the amount of compensation you’re entitled to in these cases is goingto be based upon projections and estimates, further compensation, such as pain and suffering,distress, criminal or employer liability are all separate and will be worked out by deciding on themerits of each individual case. The whole area is naturally incredibly difficult to quantify and so legalrepresentation is a pre-requisite. Cases such as these are perfect for no win no fee compensationlawyers because you get the compensation you’re entitled to at no risk to your own funds whichwould be far better spent on your own immediate care needs. Unless criminal negligence or indeedyour injuries were the direct consequence of a crime is involved in your case applying for Legal Aidmight be impossible. Without no win no fee solicitors and lawyers your access to justice as well asyour chances of reimbursement and compensation would be seriously curtailed.