If you have been injured in an accident and you are thinking about making a claim for compensation, here are five things you should consider before starting the claims process:
- ‘No win, no fee’ agreements
‘No win, no fee’ was introduced into courts in England and Wales in 1995. Agreements of this type stipulate that you should have no legal fees to pay upfront nor during the claims process, or should your claim be unsuccessful. If your claim is successful, however, a lawyer may take a percentage of your compensation as payment. By law, this can be a maximum of 25 per cent of your awarded settlement demand. Alternatively, your lawyer may be able to recover their costs from the other side or reduce their percentage by doing the same.
- Time limitations
There is a three-year time limit imposed on personal injury claims, courtesy of the Limitation Act 1980, during which a claim must be brought forward. After the three-year limit runs out, personal injury cases become statute barred or time-barred under the Act. The three-year limit starts from the date your accident happened or from the date your injuries first became clear. This is known as your Date of Limitation or your Date of Knowledge.
- Liability limitations
For the other side (the defendant) to be under any obligation to pay you compensation, you must have a level of diminished liability. What this means is that you cannot be 100 per cent responsible for the accident in which you sustained your injuries. You can, however, be partly responsible. Something to keep in mind though is that the more liable you are for an accident, then less compensation you can claim.
- Proving negligence
To be successful with a personal injury claim it has to be proven that the other side’s negligence caused your accident. If this cannot be proven, then the other side can legally reject your claim. Because of this, the important of hiring a good personal injury claims solicitor cannot be overstated. An experienced solicitor will know how to turn around even the most complex cases, to get you the financial compensation that you deserve.
- Settlement demands
Your ‘settlement demand’ is the compensation amount you will put forward to the other side to settle your claim. This demand has to be fair and proportionate to the nature of your injuries and the extent of your injuries. If you ask for too much, your claim may be rejected, so your lawyer will have you attend a medical examination to ascertain the extent of your injuries, to prove that you should be paid the amount of compensation that is proposed.