Penningtons advises on things to consider in bringing a personal injury claim
In the last few years much has been made of the increasing number of personal injury claims brought in the UK and concerns regarding exaggerated, fraudulent and unmeritorious claims. Insurers are trying to drive out whiplash claims and remove the involvement of lawyers (contrary to the Law Society campaign to ensure people obtain independent legal advice). Meanwhile, recent legislative reforms have meant that claimants with small and/or difficult cases may find it difficult to get funding for injury claims and those who do bring claims will now have to pay some legal costs out of their compensation.
However, there are many people with genuine claims and a need for compensation – for example due to loss of earnings or the need to fund medical care – and these people should feel able and be able to bring those claims. Philippa Luscombe, head of Penningtons' personal injury team, advises considering a few things before making a decision on a claim:
- Claims will only be successful if someone is really at fault by doing something or not doing something that obviously puts others at risk of injury and you can identify who they are and what they did wrong – if you cannot think how it happened or identify who may be responsible then there may be no claim.
- Make sure you get together as much information as possible about what happened, how it happened, where it happened, witnesses etc.
- If your injuries are minor and resolved very quickly, compensation will be very small and you may have to pay some legal costs out of it – consider whether you really want to invest time and effort in going down this route.
- Evidence is key – keep a note of your injuries, problems suffered and financial losses right from the beginning.
- Instruct a solicitor early – particularly if the other side’s insurer is trying to persuade you to deal direct – you need sensible advice on your options.
- Make sure your solicitor is a qualified and specialist personal injury solicitor – you need someone who will give you good and sensible advice and get the best possible outcome. The Law Society holds a list of approved personal injury specialists as does APIL (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) and you should check that whoever you instruct is approved by either or, ideally, both.
Be prepared for the process to take time – especially if it is done properly. A quick settlement is not necessarily a good settlement.
Return to news headlines