What Happens When You Make A Personal Injury Claim?

Welcome to our guide looking at what happens when you make a personal injury claim. You may already know that if somebody else causes you to become ill or injured because of their negligence, you could seek damages.

The idea of personal injury compensation is to compensate you for any pain, suffering or loss of amenity, as well as any financial losses that your injuries cause you. Therefore, in this guide, we are going to explain what happens when you make a personal injury claim. We’ll look at what sorts of actions could lead to an injury claim, how you prove who was to blame and how much compensation might be paid out.

What Are the Stages Of A Compensation Claim?

Piece of paper with personal injury law written on it and a gavel and pen next to it

To help you decide whether your claim is viable, we provide a no-obligation telephone assessment and give free legal advice, too. If your claim appears to be strong enough, we could ask one of our personal injury lawyers to review it.

If they agree to represent you, you’ll benefit from their No Win No Fee service. This is important as it means you won’t pay your solicitor’s fees if you don’t receive compensation.

If you’d like help starting a personal injury claim today, please call our advice centre on 0800 073 8801 right away. Alternatively, read on to learn more about how the claims process works.

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A Guide About What Happens When You Make A Personal Injury Claim

In this guide, we want to show you what happens when you make a personal injury claim. Additionally, we’ll look at how compensation levels are calculated, what can be included in your claim and why No Win No Fee services can make the process less stressful.

Let’s start by looking at when you could claim for personal injuries. Some of the types of claims we can help with include:

The types of injuries that we could help you claim for include:

Essentially, we could support any claim where you’ve suffered physical or psychological injuries in an accident or incident caused by somebody else’s negligence. There are several criteria for claiming, which we’ll look at later on, but one that’s important is the personal injury claims time limit.

In most cases, there is a 3-year time limit in which you must begin your claim. This will either begin from the date you were injured or from the date you became aware that your injuries were caused by negligence. In cases involving children, the time limit is suspended. However, if a claim isn’t made by a litigation friend, they’ll have 3 years from their 18th birthday to take action.

Once you have completed this guide, we’ll be here to answer any questions. Remember, we’ll review your case and provide legal advice about it without any obligation, so please give us a call if you’d like to know more.

What Are Personal Injury Claims?

Personal injury claims are possible when:

  • Somebody with a duty of care towards you is negligent; and
  • That duty of care is broken, and an accident or incident occurs; and
  • As a direct result of the accident, you are injured or made ill.

Compensation in such claims is based on the pain and suffering you’ve endured. It can also cover any expenses or financial losses you’ve sustained.

Any compensation paid out is designed to get you back on track and into the same position you were in prior to the accident. Whilst that’s not always possible, compensation can also help to improve your quality of life if you’ve sustained long-term injuries.

If you’d like to know more about what happens when you make a personal injury claim, please get in touch.

Find A Personal Injury Solicitor

Personal injury claims are possible when:

  • Somebody with a duty of care towards you is negligent; and
  • That duty of care is broken, and an accident or incident occurs; and
  • As a direct result of the accident, you are injured or made ill.

Compensation in such claims is based on the pain and suffering you’ve endured. It can also cover any expenses or financial losses you’ve sustained.

Any compensation paid out is designed to get you back on track and into the same position you were in prior to the accident. Whilst that’s not always possible, compensation can also help to improve your quality of life if you’ve sustained long-term injuries.

If you’d like to know more about what happens when you make a personal injury claim, please get in touch.

What Happens When You Make A Personal Injury Claim? – Pre-action Protocols

After you have selected a solicitor to represent you, they will likely follow a set procedure called pre-action protocols. This is a system used to make contact with the defendant, finding out if they admit liability for the accident, sending them evidence and trying to settle the claim. We’ll explain each step of the protocols over the next few sections.

Sending Notification To The Defendant

The first thing your solicitor will do is write to the third party (the defendant) to set out what happened to you and the injuries you’ve sustained (whether physical or psychological). This is called the ‘letter of claim’. The defendant has 21 days to acknowledge this letter. They don’t need to respond themselves, though. The letter may be passed on to their own legal representatives or their insurance company. Many personal injury claims are handled by insurers.

Once the letter of claim has been acknowledged, the insurer will be given 3 months to investigate the matter further. Once this period has passed, they will need to respond to say whether the defendant accepts liability for the accident and your injuries.

Dealing with insurers can be tricky. We believe you have a better chance of receiving the right level of compensation if you take on legal representation. By doing so, you won’t need to answer any technical medical or legal questions, as your solicitor can do this on your behalf.

Collecting Medical Evidence Of Your Injury

In some cases, an insurer might agree that their client was liable for the accident but deny or partially deny liability for your injuries. In order to show that your injuries were caused by your accident, you will usually be asked to provide medical evidence.

As we’ll explain later on, this will usually include a medical assessment from an independent specialist. You could also provide medical reports from the GP surgery, minor injuries unit or hospital where your injuries were treated. This evidence will be shared with the defendant’s insurance company whether liability is admitted or not.

Importantly, any potential future suffering needs to be assessed at this point, too. That’s because you can only make a single compensation claim. Therefore, part of the medical report your solicitor will arrange will provide a prognosis for the future. Any long-term suffering or disabilities could then be factored into your settlement figure.

Collecting Other Evidence

If the defendant or their insurer denies any liability for your accident, your solicitor will need extra evidence to try and support the case. This is where you can help. You can share any of the following with them, which could increase your chances of being compensated:

  • Photographs of the accident scene. Ideally, these will have been taken at the time of the accident and before anything was moved. For example, you might take a photograph of a puddle of water that did not have a wet floor sign nearby.
  • CCTV or dashcam footage. This can be a really easy way of showing exactly how the injury happened. You can request CCTV footage from the operator if it contains images of you.
  • Witness details. When an accident happens, it is always a good idea to collect details of anybody else who saw what happened. They may be able to provide a witness statement further down the line.
  • Accident reports. If your accident happened on business premises or in a public place, you should report it. These reports can help by confirming dates, locations and times.
  • A list of expenses. As we’ll show later, costs can be claimed as part of your settlement as well. Therefore, you should keep receipts and provide a list of any expenses incurred because of your injuries.

This evidence, along with medical records, can make it much easier for your solicitor to show who was responsible for your injuries. Please call today to see if you have enough evidence to start a personal injury claim.

Negotiating What Payout You Will Get

Once liability for your injuries and the accident has been agreed upon, your solicitor will negotiate with the insurer over how much compensation you’ll receive. Generally, very few claims need a court to decide compensation levels. That’s because court cases are costly and time-consuming, so both parties want to come to an amicable agreement.

If an offer is received, your solicitor won’t accept it just so they can say the case has been won. They will review it with you to check that it fully covers your suffering. If the offer seems too low, they’ll go back and explain why to try and secure a fairer compensation amount.

Settlements valued less than £25,000

If a case can’t be settled amicably, it may need to be taken to court. When that happens, the court will place it on a certain ‘track’. The fast track is used for claims valued at less than £25,000. If your claim has been put on the fast track, then the trial will rarely last longer than a day.

For more complicated cases, a multitrack hearing will be scheduled. There is no standard procedure for this kind of claim.

Importantly, after a court date has been booked, both parties will share the evidence that will be used in the case. During this time, it is still possible for both parties to reach a pre-trial settlement.

Calculating Compensation For A Personal Injury Claim

As well as explaining what happens when you make a personal injury claim, we said we’d provide some example compensation figures. Therefore, in this section, we’ve included a compensation table.

This table includes data from the Judicial College relating to a range of injuries. They have created guideline compensation brackets for a wide range of other injuries. Don’t worry if your injury doesn’t appear in the table; we’ll explain what it might be worth when you call our team.

Type Of Injury Level Settlement Bracket Further Details
Nose Fracture (i) £9,990 to £21,700 Multiple or serious fractures that need multiple operations or cause permanent damage.
Neck Moderate (ii) £12,900 to £23,460 Disc lesions or soft tissue wrenching injuries that cause limited movement, discomfort, recurring pain and increase the chances of surgery being required.
Shoulder Serious (b) £11,980 to £18,020 Injuries in this category include a dislocated shoulder along with damage to the lower part of the brachial plexus that result in aching elbow, reduced grip and weakness.
Hips Lesser Injuries (i) £3,710 to £11,820 This category is for injuries that are significant but where no serious disability remains (recovery is usually less than 2 years).
Arm Amputation above the elbow (ii) £102,890 to £122,860 This bracket covers amputations of a single arm above the elbow.
Wrist Minor (f) Up to £4,450 Covers minimally displaced or very minor undisplaced wrist fractures.
Leg Less serious (i) £16,860 £26,050 Serious soft tissue injuries or fractures that lead to an incomplete recovery.
Ankle Moderate (c) £12,900 to £24,950 Ligament tears or fractures that cause less serious disabilities. These can include difficulty standing for long periods or irritation from metal plates.
Fatal accident Death £3,530 to £4,120 Unconsciousness immediately after injury and death within six weeks
Paralysis Paraplegia £205,580 to £266,740 The level of award will depend on a number of considerations, including whether the injured person is in pain, how independent they are and their life expectancy.

The settlement brackets we’ve listed are based on how severe your injuries are. Therefore, you will need to prove this by using medical evidence. Personal injury claims usually require a medical assessment. Yours can be arranged locally if you work with one of our solicitors.

During your assessment, you’ll meet with an independent medical specialist. They will examine your injuries and discuss how they’ve affected you. Furthermore, they’ll look through your medical records. After the meeting has ended, they’ll provide a prognosis in a medical report for your solicitor.

What Is Compensation For Special Damages?

The second head of loss you can claim for is called special damages. It’s designed to recover any costs, financial losses or expenses linked to your injuries. To help prove how much money you have lost, you will need receipts, bank statements and other documentation, so it’s a good idea to keep them safe until your claim is made.

What could be covered in special damages?

Special damages will vary from case to case. However, they could include:

  • Care costs. This will cover any time somebody spent looking after you during your recovery. An hourly rate could be claimed for the time a friend or relative supported you. Alternatively, you could claim back any professional carer’s fees.
  • Medical expenses. While most treatment is free on the NHS, you could still incur medical costs. Therefore, prescription fees or the cost of treatment not available on the NHS could be claimed back.
  • Travel costs. You may need to travel to the hospital or a GP surgery to receive treatment for your injuries. Where that means you have to pay for fuel, parking or public transport, you could claim the cost back.
  • Lost income. Taking time off work because of your injuries can be expensive. As a result, unless you receive full sick pay, you could claim back the difference between your normal earnings and what you actually received.
  • Future lost earnings. For cases where you’ll suffer in the long-term, you could claim back any earnings you’ll lose in the future as well.
  • Home or vehicle modifications. Disabilities that are caused by your accident could make daily life more difficult. Therefore, if your quality of life can be improved by making some changes, the cost of any work could be claimed back.

Please get in touch when you’re ready, and we’ll explain what could be included in your claim. Otherwise, you can read on for more information relating to No Win No Fee claims.

How Do No Win No Fee Injury Claims Work?

We’ve explained what happens when you make a personal injury claim. Let’s now look at No Win No Fee agreements in a little bit more detail.

If your claim appears to have strong grounds, a solicitor will start by reviewing it in more detail. If they agree to take it on, you’ll be offered a No Win No Fee agreement, which is sometimes called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a contract that shows what has to happen before you are asked to pay your solicitor.

Importantly, the CFA will explain that if your claim is lost, you won’t have to pay your solicitor’s fees. Where there is a positive outcome, though, you’ll pay a success fee.

This is a percentage of any settlement you’re paid that will be deducted by your solicitor. The percentage that will be taken will be set out before your claim starts, so you’ll know how much you will pay prior to signing the agreement. Also, legislation exists that caps success fees so that you won’t be overcharged.

Please call today to see if one of our personal injury solicitors could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis. We could also give you a free, no-obligation valuation of your claim.

Speak To Our Team

We hope that you now understand what happens when you make a personal injury claim. If you’ve decided to begin the claims process with us, here are the ways to contact us:

  • By phone: Call our specialist advisors on 0800 073 8801.
  • Email: Send a message to office@accidentclaims.co.uk and provide us with the information relating to your claim.
  • Online: Use this form to request a call back at a suitable time.
  • Live chat: Ask an online advisor for free legal advice on starting a claim.

Life can be busy enough without trying to find the time to start a personal injury claim. For that reason, our claims line operates 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Learn More About How Injury Claims Work

As we have explained what happens when you make a personal injury claim, we are going to use this section to provide some extra resources for you. Please use live chat to connect with us if you need any further information.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)– Information on claiming SSP from the government if you’re unable to work because of your injuries.

Whiplash Reforms FAQ – Information on the new whiplash reform programme from the government.

NHS 111 Online – The service you can use to check what type of treatment is needed for your injuries.

Council Injury Claims –  A guide about what to do if you’re injured because of council negligence.

Criminal Injury Compensation – Information about the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority through which victims of violent crime can be awarded compensation.

Psychological Injuries – This article shows what psychological injuries could come about following an accident and how to claim for them.

How Do Injury Claims Work? – FAQs

Thank you for reading this guide where we have tried to answer the question, “How do injury claims work?”. In this final part, we’ve answered a few common questions to help you further.

How long does a personal injury claim take?

Each personal injury claim is unique, which means there is no set time for a claim to be settled. Where liability for both the accident and your injuries is decided upon quickly, an amicable settlement can be reached in a matter of months. Where extra evidence or medical reports are needed, the process can take much longer.

Should I accept the first offer of compensation?

There’s no requirement for you to accept the first offer of compensation that you receive. If you don’t think it’s a fair amount for the suffering you have experienced, you don’t need to take it. Your solicitor will be able to offer guidance throughout the negotiation process; however, the final decision as to whether you accept a compensation offer lies with you.

What happens if I lose my claim?

If you work with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you won’t need to pay their legal fees if they lose your claim. However, you may be responsible for paying the defendant’s legal fees.

How do I maximise my settlement?

To try and ensure you are compensated fully, you need to make sure that all aspects of your suffering are included. Therefore, it is important to consider any injuries (whether physical or psychological), any financial impact and any future suffering as well. To increase your chances of being compensated fully, all parts of your claim should be backed up by evidence.

You have reached the end of our guide about what happens when you make a personal injury claim. If you’d like to know anything more, please get in touch.

Guide by BH

Edited by FS