What Is A Personal Injury Claim In The UK?

A personal injury claim in the United Kingdom is a claim for financial compensation against another party who has caused pain and suffering. Personal injury claims are usually processed on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis; agreements of this type stipulate that the claimant has no legal fees to pay upfront nor during the claims process.

‘No win, no fee’ was introduced into courts in England and Wales in 1995 as a means to level the legal playing field for regular people. Prior to ‘no win, no fee’, people had to pay their lawyer upfront with no monetary protection whatsoever if their case lost.

What are the eligibility requirements for making a personal injury claim?

Time-based criteria

To be eligible for a personal injury claim, first of all the accident in which you sustained your injuries has to have happened in the last three years – or, the date your injuries first became apparent has to be no more than three years ago. This is because in the United Kingdom, personal injury claims become time-barred or statute barred after three years. The date your accident happened is known as your Date of Knowledge, or your Date of Limitation, and the three-year limit applies to 90 per cent of personal injury claims.

Liability-based criteria

You cannot be 100 per cent responsible for the accident in which you sustained your injuries, otherwise the other side will be under no obligation to pay you compensation. You must, therefore, have a level of diminished liability. It is also important to point out that the lesser your level of liability, the more compensation you can realistically expect.

How is personal injury claim compensation calculated?

Compensation is split into two types:

  1. General damages, and;
  2. Special damages.

General damages is the compensation awarded for your injuries. To calculate this, the extent of your injuries and how your injuries have and will affect your life will be taken into account. And the worse your injuries are, then the more compensation you can claim.

Special damages is the compensation awarded for financial loss. You can claim back any accident-related loss of income, including overtime, and any relevant expenses. For example, you can put in a claim for travel costs or medical costs related to your accident.

These two types of compensation will be added together to create a single settlement demand, which will then be put forward to the other side. The settlement demand however has to be fair and proportionate to the extent of your injuries, and any special damages has to be proven through receipts, bills, wage slips and other relevant information. Many claims UK can be processed in as little as 6-8 weeks, although some can take several months.

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