Personal Injury Claims _ The Top 6 blunders and misunderstandings to avoid
Posted Jun 17, 2020.
What are the most common misunderstandings and errors in a personal injury claim?
Despite being relatively commonplace, the personal injury claims process is often shrouded in misunderstanding and ‘urban myth’ type misinformation, which can be off-putting for injured individuals who are entitled to make a claim for compensation. Over the past 20+ years, Bakers has successfully represented thousands of clients, giving us a unique insight into the classic misunderstandings and errors that personal injury claimants can make. So, in no particular order, here are our top 6:
1. Not Keeping Important Evidence: following an accident, once you have made sure that everyone involved is safe and out of harm’s way, the next step is to get as much evidence as possible. Good evidence can make a huge difference to the success of your claim. Write down as much as you can – accident location, weather conditions, obstructions, light conditions, defects in road surfaces or equipment, etc. This way you won’t forget something that could be vital many months later. Make sure you speak to witnesses if possible, note down what they say and make sure you get their contact details. Take lots of photos (and video) too – the advent of smartphones with decent cameras means that this is now much easier. Overall, be thorough and be forensic.
2. The Importance of Medical Evidence: unless you have made a full recovery in just a few weeks, it will be nigh-on impossible for your solicitor to establish the correct value (that is, the amount of compensation you are entitles to) of your claim. Insurance companies – who are usually who you will be claiming against – may make an early offer to settle the claim without seeing any medical evidence, but this will almost certainly be lower than the correct amount. It’s also important to not solely rely on a report from your GP; here at Bakers, we have seen many instances over the years where the GP’s prognosis has been wrong or misleading, so it is important get a referral to a specialist Consultant as well. It is also vital that you alert your GP or Consultant to ALL of your symptoms, no matter how trivial they may seem to you, as this could have a big impact on how your claim progresses and how your compensation is assessed.
3. Not discussing psychological or mental affects: injuries following an accident aren’t just physical; indeed, in many cases it’s the psychological element that has the greatest impact. Think about how your behaviour may have changed: are you having nightmares? Are you drinking more? Are you either more volatile in temperament or perhaps more withdrawn and reserved? Don’t be embarrassed – discuss these aspects with your solicitor and your GP / Consultant, they will fully understand.
4. Worrying about Going to Court: the vast majority – over 98% - of personal injury claims do not end up in court. Most claims are settled via a series of negotiations between your solicitor and the defendant (that is the party responsible for the accident – usually an insurance company). Should the claim go to trial, which may be required for particularly severe injuries with a commensurately high level of compensation, then the trial is in front of a judge, not a jury
5. Being afraid to Ask Questions: whilst your solicitor is an expert in law, if you are unsure about any aspect of your claim, it’s important that you ask questions. Your solicitor won’t think you are stupid; personal injury law is often pretty complicated and sometimes there aren’t straightforward, black and white answers to many questions. Remember, this is your claim and you have the right to know what is going on.
6. Settling your Claim Too Soon: a good personal-injury specialist solicitor should never do this. Settling a claim too early, before you have made a full recovery (both physically and mentally), may mean that you settle for a lower level of compensation than you are entitled to. Even if a medical expert says that you should recover in, for example, 12mths, if you are not fully recovered by then but have already settled the claim on that basis, then it is extremely unlikely that you will be able to seek any further compensation. For severe injuries that often have life-changing effects such as being unable to work, this can make a big difference to your quality of life in future.
Get professional help from a Personal Injury Specialist
At Bakers we have the expertise to guide you through the claims process. We pride ourselves on our success in representing claimants who have been injured through no fault of their own, helping them to receive compensation that they are properly entitled to. Our professional, friendly team will give you an honest, free and ‘plain English’ appraisal of your claim and we love to delight our clients when they receive the injury compensation they deserve.
<p">If you would like us to handle your personal injury compensation claim, you can contact us online or by phone on 01252 744600.
Read about some of our compensation claim success stories or key stages to making a claim