Most of us wouldn’t think twice about claiming compensation if a third party caused harm to our belongings. If our car was damaged or our property destroyed by somebody else’s negligence, we would take all the necessary action to secure the appropriate compensation and hold the third party to account.
Surprisingly, we often do not extend the same kindness to ourselves. If the harm sustained is to our bodies or mental well-being as opposed to our possessions, we can be reluctant to claim the compensation we deserve. Sadly, this reluctance sometimes arises from misguided embarrassment about making a personal injury claim.
Here, we explain 4 reasons why this reluctance can be misconceived and hopefully offer reassurance that you shouldn’t be embarrassed to make an injury claim.
- The law believes that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries
Personal injury law exists for the sole purpose of righting wrongs arising from negligence. It isn’t a new phenomenon; the concept that compensation should be paid to those who suffer injury due to an accident which wasn’t their fault has existed since ancient times.
Whilst the punishments we impose today are somewhat less brutal than those employed by our ancestors, many of whom took the ‘eye for an eye’ principle literally, personal injury law, in one guise or another, has always played a fundamental role in our justice system.
- Your compensation is not a ‘windfall’
Some people find it difficult to align the financial compensation awarded in personal injury cases with the injuries themselves, and rightly so.
Whilst personal injury law aims to put the victim back into the position they would have been in had the accident not happened, the reality is that an accident’s far-reaching physical and mental effects make this an impossible task.
However, by holding those responsible to account and awarding damages to victims, the law seeks to provide tangible compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from an accident, alleviate the financial burden caused and allow the injured party some much-needed time to recover.
- You will potentially avoid similar accidents happening to others
A personal injury claim only succeeds if the accident arose from third-party negligence. Establishing negligence isn’t always easy, and only those who have failed to reach the standard expected of a ‘reasonable’ person in the same situation will be held liable. If defendants can prove their actions were ‘reasonable’, they will usually escape liability.
By holding to account someone whose negligent actions cause injury to another person, you show them that their actions are unacceptable and force them to face the consequences. If their negligence goes unchecked, chances are they will continue acting in the same way and, sooner or later, cause another accident.
Take accidents in the workplace, for example. The law imposes numerous duties on employers, and many legal regulations exist to ensure the safety of employees.
These include the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992, as amended in 2002, which detail various measures through which an employer should address the risks involved in manual handling roles. Other essential rules in The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 place obligations on employers regarding the equipment they provide.
Whilst most employers happily comply with their legal obligations, some sadly choose to save time and money by cutting corners. If you are injured due to your employers’ negligence but fail to take legal action against them, there is little impetus for them to change their working practices, exposing you and your colleagues to ongoing risk.
- The so-called ‘compensation culture’ does not exist
By making a personal injury claim, you are not fuelling a culture brimming with frivolous, fraudulent claims made by unscrupulous individuals. This culture does not exist. It is an unfortunate myth perpetuated by some insurers and politicians in a bid to reduce the compensation payments insurance companies are liable to pay.
Some individuals may seek damages to which they are not entitled, but this is not unique to personal injury law and is true of any area of legal practice.
Our legal system is designed to ensure justice gets done, and Judges are quick to punish those who abuse it. Personal injury cases are decided by a Judge who is highly experienced in personal injury law. (Most personal injury cases don’t go to a court hearing: they usually settle before this stage)
The Judge will scrutinise the evidence in a case and be adept at identifying false claims. Judges take a hard-line approach, and those involved in fraudulent personal injury claims may find themselves unable to obtain insurance coverage in the future and they may even go to jail. It is worth repeating though, that fraudulent claims are very much the exception to the rule and far outweighed in number by genuine personal injury claims made by honest people.
It is always disappointing to discover that somebody is reluctant to make a personal injury claim due to a misguided mixture of guilt, embarrassment and misinformation.
If you get injured due to someone else’s negligence, you are legally entitled to compensation. Personal injury law exists to ensure you receive that compensation and that the negligent party is held to account. Without it, we would all be reliant on the goodwill and sense of others to keep us safe from harm and be largely powerless to seek recourse if they failed to do so.
Every one of us benefits from personal injury law daily. Most of us are lucky enough not to have to call on it, but its mere existence often motivates others to act with reasonable due care and attention.
If you bring a successful personal injury claim, your damages will be carefully calculated. They do not represent a windfall; their purpose is to compensate you for your pain and suffering and any financial losses you suffer from the accident. Without these damages, you will receive no compensation for your suffering; instead, you will have to shoulder the financial burden of the accident.
If you’ve suffered injury in an accident caused by a third party (person, company employer or local authority), you should take legal advice from specialist personal injury solicitors.
You may have been injured in an accident at work and want to bring a personal injury compensation claim against your employer. Alternatively, you could wish to make a compensation claim resulting from injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. Either way, experienced personal injury lawyers like those here at Mooneerams solicitors can help.
We’ll advise you whether we believe you have reasonable prospects of success if you decide to make a personal injury claim. If we think you have a claim that is likely to succeed, and you’d like Mooneerams to act for you, we’ll happily do so and deal with the whole claims process on your behalf.
Using a conditional fee agreement, we can usually handle personal injury claims on a No Win No Fee basis. With a No Win No Fee personal injury claim, you’ll have no legal costs to pay to anyone in the unlikely event you lose your claim.
So don’t delay; remember that with most personal claims, as an adult, you have a time limit of three years from the date of the accident that caused your injury in which to start a claim. The time limit is different for children under 18 or persons with a disability at the time of the accident; see our accident advice centre for more details on personal injury claim time limits.
Contact Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615 or by contacting us online for a free initial discussion with one of our experienced personal injury team.