Personal Injury Claims Process
By Stephen Hudson. Last Updated 4th August 2023. The personal injury claims process is drawn-out, time-consuming and complicated. Unless you are familiar with this area, it is advisable to hire a personal injury solicitor to represent you if you are considering filing a claim for compensation.
Here’s where many people hesitate because the mere mention of solicitors brings on thoughts of hefty legal costs and the possibility of losing that money too if the case is unsuccessful. So before going ahead without understanding the injury claims process, it is important to understand the financial arrangements that most solicitors provide in personal injury claims.
Select A Section
- Starting The Personal Injury Claims Process
- After You’ve Signed The Agreement
- Making The Personal Injury Claim
- Personal Injury Claims Process – Will I Have To Go To Court?
- Evidence That Can Support The Personal Injury Claims Process
- Time Limit For Filing A Personal Injury Claim
- More Resources On The Personal Injury Claims Process
If you want to explore the possibility of making a personal injury claim, then you may wish to contact a personal injury solicitor to support you. Many personal injury solicitors offer free legal advice as part of their initial no-obligation consultation. This means you can make an appointment during which you give the solicitor all the details of your potential case. In return, you can get their advice without incurring any legal fees. Not only will you not be charged for this consultation, but you are also under no obligation to hire that particular solicitor to represent you.
If you decide you want a solicitor to support your personal injury claim, then there are a few steps to follow to get the claim underway. After deciding which solicitor you would like to work with, you will need to discuss and agree on the terms under which they will represent you.
Most personal injury solicitors will agree to represent you on a Conditional Fee or No Win No Fee contract. The biggest advantage is that you get the benefit of the solicitor’s experience and expertise without having to pay any upfront fees.
According to this agreement, you are liable to pay the solicitor only if you win the settlement. The fee is usually an agreed percentage of the settlement you receive.
As you can see, you get all of the benefits without any risk if you hire a personal injury solicitor to file a compensation claim on your behalf.
So what exactly is the personal injury claims process after you have signed the agreement?
Here’s what happens from the time of your first appointment till the personal injury case is closed.
The First Consultation
At the beginning of your personal injury claims process, your solicitor will want to know the details of the incident and your injuries so that they can evaluate the merits of your case and determine how likely it is to succeed. This is all part of your initial consultation. Because they are agreeing to be paid only if they win the case for you, it’s only natural that they will want to make sure you have a strong case with a high chance of being awarded compensation.
The solicitor will also want to know details of your injuries, medical diagnosis and treatment required as well as all travel and treatment expenses in order to establish how much you might be able to claim in compensation.
Once you’ve agreed to go ahead and the agreement is signed, your personal injury solicitor will need some more information in order to build your case and actually start proceedings. You will be required to give these details:
- The date that the accident took place.
- Where and how the accident happened.
- Contact details of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Photographs of the accident and injuries if any were taken at the scene.
- A copy of the police record.
- Copies of the doctor’s diagnosis and the prescribed medication and treatment.
- A letter from the doctor if the injury is severe and likely to require long-term or permanent medication or treatment.
- Proof of all financial expenses due to the injury – medical as well as travel expenses.
- Proof of financial losses, such as lost income or other job-related perks you would have gotten.
The solicitor will study all the details and will create a case emphasising that the accident was not your fault and that you should be compensated for your pain, suffering and financial losses.
You will be kept informed at every stage of the personal injury claims process especially with regards to the amount of compensation that the personal injury solicitor is asking for on your behalf.
In addition, the solicitor will also check out precedents of other similar cases that can be used to your advantage in court.
After all the paperwork has been put together, the solicitor will send a formal letter stating details of the incident and your injuries to the person, persons or company that you are holding responsible for your injuries. This letter is called a Letter of Claim.
The defendant must acknowledge receipt of the letter and reply within a fixed period of time.
In the reply, the defendant must state whether or not they accept liability for your injury, or they may ask for more information to enable them to investigate. The next step depends on the defendant’s reply, so here are a few steps that could illustrate your personal injury claims process.
1st Scenario – The defendant admits full or partial liability
If the defendant admits full or partial liability, they will then discuss the matter further with your personal injury solicitor.
The main agenda for the discussions will be the amount of damages that are acceptable in order to settle the case out of court. In most cases, the defendant will make a counteroffer, which is lower than your original claim.
If the amount sounds fairly reasonable, your solicitor will then ask you if you are willing to make an offer to settle for that amount. If the amount is much lower than your original demand, your solicitor may advise you to counter with another offer slightly lower than your original demand but higher than the defendant’s offer.
If both parties can agree on the settlement amount, the case can be settled amicably without having to go to court. This is of course is a best-case scenario and makes the personal injury claims process easy to navigate. Things do not always proceed so smoothly, however.
2nd Scenario – The defendant denies liability
If liability is denied and the defendant wishes to contest the claim, their solicitor or insurance adjuster will usually get in touch with your personal injury solicitor and explain what they think is wrong with the claim. They may question any aspect of your claim, from the liability, the need for extensive medical treatment or any other. Your solicitor will now have to respond to these arguments.
If both parties do not agree on issues of liability or amount of damages, court proceedings will then be initiated. From here onwards the court’s case management procedures dictate how the case proceeds.
After hearing the arguments of both parties, the court will issue a judgment on liability and amount of damages if any. If the defendant is found liable, they will have to pay you compensation in accordance with the court’s order.
The majority of personal injury claims do not go to court. Solicitors and insurance firms will typically try to avoid this outcome, in part due to the associated costs.
This is partly why collecting evidence is an important part of the process of a personal injury claim. The evidence you can present in your claim could convince the other party to admit liability for your injuries, and thus the case would not need to go to court.
Insufficient evidence is not the only reason that a claim could go to court. Some claims, such as claims involving serious long-term injuries or claims involving children, could be more complicated. A court or independent arbitrator may be used to make a decision on matters that both sides cannot agree to, such as how much compensation the other party should pay for a long-term injury.
If you have more questions about the personal injury claim process, or questions relating to how your own claim may proceed, then please reach out to one of our advisers.
A key part of starting personal injury claims in the UK is gathering evidence that can support your case. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident and subsequent injury, evidence that may be available for you to gather could include:
- Medical records from the hospital you visited that confirm your injuries and the treatment you received for them.
- Photographs of the accident scene and your injuries may also help. Also, any video footage that shows the accident, such as CCTV footage or dashcam footage if available.
- Contact details of any witnesses that can provide a statement supporting your account of how you were injured.
- If you’re claiming specifically for an injury at work, then a copy of the report about your accident from your employer’s work accident book could be provided as evidence.
Contact our advisors online or on the phone if you need more advice on gathering evidence for personal injury compensation claims.
In most circumstances, the time limit for filing a compensation claim for personal injury is 3 years from the date of the accident.
If you have suffered an injury in an accident that was due to somebody else’s mistake or negligence, you are entitled to claim compensation. An experienced personal injury solicitor can not only settle your claim, but will handle all the formalities and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve while you take some time to heal from your injuries and put your life back together again.
Don’t let the lengthy personal injury claims process deter you from pursuing justice for your injuries.
We have lots more guides on personal injury claims which you can browse below:
- A guide to the claims process
- Climbing wall activity accident claims
- Claiming compensation for quad bike injuries
- Activity centre injuries – how to claim compensation
- Claiming compensation for a mountain bike injury
- Missing tile accident claims
- Success fees in personal injury cases
- How many claims go to court?
- Special damages in personal injury claims
- CCTV footage in personal injury cases
- Claiming compensation for injuries caused by faulty furniture
- How to claim against your employer
- Compensation tables for personal injury
- Try our personal injury claims calculator
- Multi-story car park accident claims
- The Pre-Action Protocols in personal injury
- How much compensation can you get for a personal injury claim?
Thank you for reading our guide to the personal injury claims process. Once again, if you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, please get in touch with our legal team at Legal Expert today.