Millions of people sustain personal injury each year. A startling number of those, however, are reluctant to claim compensation for their injuries, even when those injuries have caused significant pain and financial loss. We’re often told that this reluctance stems from the simple fact that they are worried about the process.
Here, we’ve pulled together a list of 7 surprising things you might know about personal injury claims…
1. You won’t necessarily need to go to Court
The mere prospect of having to attend a Court hearing can be enough to deter those with potential personal injury claims from pursuing them. In reality, a tiny percentage of personal injury claims ever reach trial. Many personal injury matters settle before a claim is even issued; according to Ministry of Justice statistics, just 6% of all claims issued at the County Court from April to June 2022 were for personal injury. Of those that do get issued, only a minimal number will result in a Court hearing.
One reason is that personal injury claims are governed by strict protocols which oblige parties to disclose all relevant information and documentation at an early stage. This enables the parties to assess the strength of each other’s position at the outset and facilitates settlement discussions. Those discussions continue even after a claim has been issued, and a settlement can be reached at any time before the conclusion of the case.
Further, nobody – not even the largest of insurers– wants to go to Court. An insurer may dispute liability until the last minute if a case is particularly sizeable or complex. If they feel the claim has even a chance of success, though, they will often make a settlement offer late in the process.
In the unlikely event that your case does go to trial, the reality is a far cry from the dramatic events portrayed in television courtroom dramas. All evidence must be submitted before the hearing, so there will be no nasty surprises, and there won’t be a Jury; the case is decided by a Judge who will preside over the matter and ensure everyone is treated fairly and with respect.
2. Personal Injury claims can take time
It is important to understand that a personal injury claim cannot be dealt with overnight. It can be a slow process, with the duration depending on factors including the type of accident, the severity of the injuries and whether or not the other side accepts liability.
Sometimes, straightforward personal injury cases are settled in a short period of time, maybe only a few months; other, more complex ones may run for years. Whilst you will need to be involved in some aspects of the work, such as gathering evidence and attending medical assessments, much of it will be carried out by your personal injury lawyer behind the scenes.
3. There is a time limit for bringing a personal injury claim
Strict time limits apply to personal injury claims. Once those time limits have passed, taking action can be extremely difficult.
Broadly speaking, the usual time limit is three years from the date of your accident or diagnosis of your injury or illness. It is, however, sensible to seek legal advice and begin the accident claims process as soon as possible to avoid inadvertently jeopardising your claim.
4. You can claim for depression, anxiety and stress
Personal injury claims are not merely the preserve of road traffic accidents and accidents in the workplace. Whilst those cases account for the majority of claims, personal injury covers a broad spectrum of complaints, including psychological injury.
A traumatic event can result in psychological harm, for which redress can (and should) be sought. Examples of psychological injury which can be the subject of a personal injury claim include depression, anxiety and stress.
5. There are options to help you cover the costs of bringing a personal injury claim
Worries over legal fees should not be a bar to bringing a personal injury claim. There are several options which can help you fund the case. The most commonly used are ‘no win, no fee‘ agreements, under which you are only liable to pay anything towards your legal costs if your claim succeeds.
6. You won’t need to pay tax on damages awarded for personal injury
Generally speaking, damages awarded for personal injury claims are not subject to tax. If your claim is successful, you will keep all the money awarded, save for an agreed success fee, to go towards covering our legal costs, as set out in the No Win No Fee agreement.
7. Personal injury claims are not a modern-day phenomenon
Much is made of the so-called ‘compensation culture’ and the alleged explosion of personal injury claims in recent times. This is fuelled partly by insurance companies in whose interest it is to restrict the number of claims made and is a myth.
Since as far back as Biblical times, people have sought redress for personal injury. Whilst the remedies historically sought may be questionable (an eye for an eye, anyone?), the principle that compensation should be awarded to those who have sustained an injury at the hands of another is deeply engrained in our legal system.
Back in 1932, an unsuspecting widow from Scotland shaped the modern law of negligence when she enjoyed a bottle of ginger beer only to discover a decomposing snail at the bottom. She suffered personal injury as a result and successfully sued the drinks manufacturer.
We hope that this list of 7 surprising things you might not know about personal injury claims is useful in helping to decide what steps you should take if you have had an accident or injury.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you want to talk to an expert solicitor about making a personal injury claim, call Mooneerams Solicitors on 029 2048 3615.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer us to call you back, you can always submit your details on our contact page, and we’ll get back to you at a time that suits you best.
Mooneerams are purely personal injury solicitors. We act only for claimants, i.e., ordinary people and their family members who’ve suffered physical injuries in accidents caused by someone other than themselves. We don’t act for insurance companies, employers, or local authorities.
We can assist people with all types of personal injury claims; accidents at work, road traffic accidents, public liability, asbestos claims and many more. Click on the Accident Types tab on our website’s homepage to find out more details about how we can help you.
We handle most personal injury claims on a No Win No Fee basis.