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Serious Injury Claims

Making a claim following a serious accident

We know that when you contact us following a serious accident, it’s not just about the compensation – it’s also about getting the apology you’re owed and the advice you need.

Of course, compensation can give you the peace of mind that your bills will be covered and that you’ll have money to support you going forward. But more than that, a serious injury claim gives you the opportunity to hold the someone to account for your injury and the impact it’s had on your life.

An expert injury solicitor can make the process of claiming as straightforward as possible – in fact making a serious accident or injury claim is very similar to a typical personal injury claim.

It starts with you giving a trained legal adviser a call on 0800 234 6438, or completing one the online call back forms so that they can get in touch with you.

Then, you’ll get free, tailored advice on your injury and compensation, which will end with your adviser outlining your options and the next steps you can take.

They won’t pressure you into starting a claim, but they’ll let you know if they think you can make one – and, if you’re ready, they’ll put you in contact with a specialist solicitor experienced in handling cases like yours.

Can you claim?

It’s very likely the question you want answered as soon as possible is whether you can claim for your accident. Unfortunately, we can’t give a simple answer online, but you can find out by calling a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438.

If you’re not ready to talk to them, we generally advise that if you answer yes to the questions below, then you might be able to make a claim:

Claiming for a loved one

You might be reading this on behalf of a friend or family member who has suffered a serious injury and is either unable to contact an injury solicitor or isn’t ready to. Don’t worry if that’s the case, you can still ask for help getting the answers you need.

Firstly, you may be able to start a claim on behalf of somebody else – particularly if your loved one has suffered an injury that’s left them unable to act on their own behalf – such as a head or brain injury – or if they’re under the age of 18.

But even if you’re simply looking for advice for them, you can still seek help. Please call a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

Alternatively, visit our frequently asked questions page on making a claim on someone else’s behalf for more information.

Immediate needs and your compensation

‘Serious injury’ is a broad term to cover so many different types of injuries – ranging from loss of sight, to broken bones, to spinal injuries or even death. Because of this, no two compensation settlements are the same.

However, you can be sure your solicitor will take absolutely everything into consideration so that you’re fairly compensated for the impact your accident and injury have had so far, as well as the effects they might continue to have in the future.

With that in mind, your solicitor will consider:

As part of your claim, your compensation will also likely be divided into three categories – general damages, special damages and immediate needs payments. We’ve outlined some more information on each of these below.

General damages

General damages is a sum of money you’ll receive to cover your ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’.

This basically means your compensation is worked out based on any reduction to yours (or a loved one’s) physical, mental or financial capability – so it’s not just restricted to the physical injury itself.

Special damages

Special damages compensation is designed to repay you for the expenses of your injury, including replacing lost earnings, the cost of transport and any equipment you might need.

It also looks at the potential lost wages in the future and things you may have needed to purchase to make your life easier.

Immediate needs

Immediate needs are things considered to be urgent or critical to you now. This type of compensation comes before your final settlement, to help you and your family cover the immediate costs of your injuries.

Immediate needs are awarded on an assessment basis, judged case-by-case – but they’re something your solicitor can help you access if they feel you need financial support before your serious injury claim is settled.

Immediate needs compensation can cover the following things:

Home and transport

Often, the cost of getting to the hospital for treatment and going about your daily life can increase as a result of a serious injury. This is because you may be dependent on others to get you around, or on taxis.

Equally, if you’ve been left unable to work, you may be on Statutory or reduced company sick pay, and this can make it difficult to keep up with rent, mortgage or bill payments.

An immediate needs payment can help cover these expenses while you wait for your case to be settled.

Supporting equipment

This can include payments to cover the cost of mobility scooters or wheelchairs to enable you or your loved one to get around. In this case, it might be that you also need adaptations to your home to make it accessible – this can be included.

Treatment or care

In some cases, additional treatment or care might be needed, and your solicitor can help negotiate this as part of an immediate needs pay-out.

Are you ready to talk?

We know that suffering a serious injury can be very traumatic, and you might be feeling lost, anxious or simply not yourself following your accident.

We want to help – claiming compensation can help you feel like you’re taking back some control in your life. Not only that, it can help you get the acknowledgment and the apology you need while helping you regain some financial independence.

Of course, you might not be ready to chat about what happened to you, but if you are – a trained legal adviser is waiting to give free advice on how they can help.

Proving negligence in serious accidents

To be able to make a personal injury claim, your injury has to have been somebody else’s fault (ie, they were negligent). You need to be able to show that:

Is there a time limit to making a claim?

In most cases, you have three years from when you became aware of your injury to start your claim for injury compensation, otherwise you may be ‘time-barred’ from taking action. Ideally, you should consult a solicitor as soon as possible after the accident while the incident is still fresh in your mind, and that of any witnesses.

If you’re claiming on behalf of your child, they have until they reach 21 years of age to make a claim; and if you are claiming on behalf of someone under a mental disability, the three-year period does not start to run until they have regained their mental capacity.

How long does it take to get compensation?

The length of time it will take you to receive your compensation can vary a lot from case to case. For example, it can depend on:

Some personal injury claims can be settled within months if the other party admits liability early on. But if your case is complicated, the other side denies responsibility, or your case goes to court, then it can take longer.

If your injuries are more severe, your solicitor will want to wait until you have a final prognosis for how long your recovery’s likely to take before compensation is paid, as it’s not possible to go back to ask for more money once your case has been settled.

What information should you gather?

To help your solicitor build you the strongest possible case and give you the best possible chance of making a successful claim, it can be useful to provide them with as much information as possible about the accident.

This includes any photographs of the location of the accident and your injuries, as well as details of any witnesses to the incident and any entry in an accident log book.

It can also be very helpful to submit a police accident report or a report from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), sketches of the location of the accident and how it occurred, and a diary recording your recovery and the wider impact of your injuries on your life and finances.

Can I make a no win no fee claim?

Almost all injury claims are made on a no win no fee basis. The benefit of this is that you won’t have to pay your solicitor any money if your claim isn’t successful, and the other side’s costs are usually covered by insurance.

This means that there’s little financial risk involved in making a claim – if you don’t receive any compensation, then you won’t have to pay out of your own pocket.

If you win your claim, then you’ll have to pay your solicitor a ‘success fee’ out of the compensation you receive. The percentage your solicitor will take will be talked about and agreed with you before starting your case.

If you’re ready to start your claim, or even you just want to ask a few questions, you can speak to a legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438.

What is contributory negligence?

‘Contributory negligence’ is the term used when your actions have contributed to the injuries you’ve suffered.

In some cases, you can still claim compensation even if you were partly at fault, as so long as the negligence of someone else also partly caused your injuries.

For example, if you were injured in a motorcycle accident and your injuries could have been reduced if you’d been wearing a helmet; or if you carried out a potentially dangerous activity at work knowing that you hadn’t had enough sleep.

Although it’s likely you’ll still be able to receive compensation, the amount of money you receive will be reduced according to how much it is decided you were to blame.

Will my case have to go to court?

Not all claims have to go to court. Your solicitor will work hard to negotiate with the other party to try and reach a settlement before the case reaches trial.

They’ll also give you advice and guidance as to whether an offer of compensation is reasonable. If your case does need a court hearing, your solicitor will be on hand to help you through the process. In some cases, you won’t even need to appear in court personally, as your solicitor might be able to go on your behalf if you prefer.

Last updated on: 4th February 2020
About the Author
Lucy Trevelyan LLB

Lucy Trevelyan LLB

Find Lucy on LinkedIn

Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years’ experience writing about the law.

About the Author

Lucy Trevelyan LLB

Lucy is a NCTJ trained journalist who studied law at the University of Greenwich. She is a legal journalist and editor with more than 20 years experience writing about the law.

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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.