Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and when they do, it is crucial to know the right steps to take, particularly if the accident was not your fault. Accidents can occur in a range of situation such as a road traffic accident, in the workplace, while out shopping or visiting a restaurant. In such situations, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries and expenses you have sustained.
In the following guide, Ramsdens Solicitors will run through the process of dealing with a personal injury claim, explaining where your priorities should lie and what you can do to secure funds to cover any costs you have incurred as a result.
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Immediate Steps After the Accident
After an accident, your first priority should be your own health and safety. It is essential that you seek medical help, even if you do not believe you have been injured. In some cases, the symptoms and effects of injuries only arise later, and leaving it late to seek treatment can be dangerous. If you are with someone you trust, ask them to call for help. If you are in pain, only risk moving if you can get help and if it would be otherwise dangerous to stay where you are.
If possible, try to obtain the contact details of the other people involved, whether they are witnesses or the party that caused your accident. It is essential to remain calm and civil during this process, you should not accept responsibility or apologise for anything as this may affect a subsequent claim for compensation.
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to contact the police. They will document the accident and provide a police report, which can be crucial in a personal injury claim. If your accident was a motoring collision, you have an obligation to inform the police within 24 hours of the incident – if you are unable to do this, have someone you trust do it on your behalf.
Documenting the Accident
Again; if possible, capture clear images of the accident scene, including the positions of any vehicles involved or hazards that caused your accident. You should also take photographs of any visible injuries. These photographs can serve as valuable evidence in your claim. If the police are involved, they will also be able access any CCTV footage of your accident.
If the accident occured at work, in a shop or restaurant, you should request that any CCTV footage of the accident be retained and importantly, insist that the accident is recorded within an accident book. You should also ask for a copy of the accident book entry form, or take a photograph once the form has been completed.
From the point of the accident, it is important that you maintain records of all expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, receipts for items purchased, vehicle repairs, and any lost earnings due to missed work. Often, this can easily be done using digital banking and bank statements or by requesting this information from your employer. This will serve as invaluable evidence when finding out how much compensation you will need to receive to properly make up for your financial losses.
Contacting a Personal Injury Solicitor
If you have suffered injuries or damages as a result of an accident that was not your fault, you should consider contacting a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. An expert solicitor will use their knowledge of the law to help you understand your rights, gather evidence, and guide you through the claims process.
Before choosing to work with a solicitor, you should research their credentials and accreditations – read testimonials or speak to other people who have used their services. Many personal injury solicitors operate on a no win, no fee basis, meaning you will be at minimal financial risk when choosing to make your claim with them.
Understanding the Personal Injury Claim Process
A personal injury claim typically involves gathering evidence, submitting a claim to the responsible party, negotiating a settlement, and, if necessary, going to court. The role of evidence in your claim is invaluable.
When you contact a solicitor, you will need to explain to them what your circumstances are and what you wish to achieve. The solicitor will ask you questions to get a better understanding of the details of your accident, and will be able to explain whether you are eligible to make a compensation claim, provide an estimate on how much compensation you could receive, and outline the next steps involved in the process.
Following this, your solicitor will work with you to identify and gather all of the relevant evidence that will support your claim – this process will be quicker and easier if you manage to secure contact details or photos following your accident, but you may be surprised at the range of evidence that can serve to benefit your claim.
Your solicitor will facilitate communications between you and any involved parties, speaking on your behalf so you can focus on making a recovery. During this time, a good solicitor will try to connect you with the services that you need. They may be able to secure an early interim compensation payout for you so you can access medical care or therapy that you would have otherwise struggled to pay for.
When it comes time to confront the responsible party, your solicitor will do so on your behalf, informing them that a claim for compensation is being made against them. The vast majority of personal injury claims are resolved without court proceedings becoming necessary, with 95% of cases being solved by mediation. During this period, your solicitor will attempt to negotiate your settlement with the other party. However, if the other party disputes your claim, your solicitor will represent you in court by presenting your evidence to support your argument.
Time Limits for Making Personal Injury Claims
In most cases, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. Some exceptions may apply, such as in cases involving children or those involving individuals who lack mental capacity.
If you’ve been involved in an accident that was not your fault, it is essential to begin the process as soon as possible. Acting promptly will help preserve evidence and increase the likelihood of a successful claim. By following the advice outlined in this blog post and enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury solicitor, you can navigate the claims process with confidence.