Accident and Injury :
Could I make a compensation claim?
The short answer is that "it depends". Perhaps the best way of answering this question is to break it down into some smaller questions and that's what we've done on this page.
If you want us to assess your particular case that's not a problem - go to our 'personal injury claim online' page and we'll get back to you within 1 working day with a 'no obligation' assessment of whether or not you've got a case
Who can claim?
The basic principal is that if you have an accident and it's someone else's fault then you can claim compensation from them. The person who's been injured is the one who has the right to make a claim.
What if they've got no money - even if I win, then how can they pay me?
Most people have sufficient insurance to cover the cost of claims - for example this is what you pay your motor insurance for. Insurance on your house will also cover certain sorts of claims against you. If the person who caused you injury isn't insured then you may still be able to get compensation from a central fund that the insurance companies all chip into.
What if it wasn't an accident - they hurt me on purpose?
Potentially we are talking about a criminal action - it's not legal to hurt other people intentionally. You would probably still be entitled to compensation but this time it comes from a government organisation - the Criminal Injuries Compensation Association. In deciding whether to pay you compensation they will consider the extent of your injuries and also to what extent you were also.
What if it was my fault?
Generally speaking in that case it's just one of those things - just because you've been injured doesn't mean you'll automatically get money. However - even if you think it's your fault there can sometimes be cases where someone else is also liable and would have to pay compensation. For example if you don't take proper care at work and are injured in machinery - on the face of that would be your fault unless your employer didn't provide you with a safe place to work. .The only way to be sure is to get in touch - we'll be able to let you know if you have a case or not.
What about kids?
People under 18 cannot take action in the courts themselves - they therefore need to use someone else to act as a go-between on their behalf. This person is known as a "next friend" and it's usually one of the parents or guardians. That person deals with the case on their behalf, however the compensation is still due to the child - it's normally held on trust until they are 18.
What if you're killed?
If it's someone else's fault then you can still claim compensation although obviously you won't be around to do it. A next of kin, or person who is looking after the estate would be able to take the action. However there's quite an important change here - if you are alive and suing then you are claiming compensation for the loss, inconvenience and suffering. If you are severely injured this can involve large sums of money. If you're dead then the claim is on the basis of what loss the next of kin suffers. It can lead to the situation where someone seriously injured receives a large sum of money but the estate of someone who was killed gets far less. Whilst at first glance this may seem very unfair it's important to bear in mind that the person who is alive will sometimes have very high costs of living (special equipment etc) and it is this increased care that dramatically raises the amount of compensation.
How do you do it then?
The best step is to give us a call on 0845 9011 960 and ask for Russell Jones or Rebecca Brough. Once we've assessed whether or not you have a claim we can take down the details we need from you and get the whole thing started quickly. For more details of what happens next see our beginners guide.
When do you need to do this?
Although you have a right to compensation if it's someone else's fault, you can't just start a case up whenever you want to. Basically you've got 3 years from the date of the accident to start the court proceedings. If you start it after that date then apart from some exceptional circumstances your case will fail. In unusual cases where you couldn't have known you had a claim (e.g. an illness that doesn't start showing symptoms for 10 years) then your time limit starts when you know you can make a claim.
If you aren't sure on any of this then perhaps the easiest thing is to pick up the phone and ask. We have friendly staff and access to solicitors and partners who are more than happy to consider whether you have a claim. Why worry when for the cost of a call you can find out for sure - phone 0845 9011 960 and ask for Russell Jones or Rebecca Brough.