Sustaining an injury in an accident can be traumatic and can cause a significant amount of disruption to your personal, family and work life. On top of this, if the accident was caused because of somebody else’s negligence you may be facing the, often daunting, prospect of making a claim for personal injury compensation. Here is a list of important things you should, and should not, do when making a claim for personal injury compensation:
• Seek medical attention as soon as you think you may have been injured in the accident.
You may obtain medical advice from your GP and/or local Accident & Emergency Department and you can also get medical aid from your personal injury solicitors. Obtaining medical advice is important as it will not only ensure that you receive the correct treatment and/or medication for your injuries – which will avoid delaying your recovery – but it will also serve as a permanent record of the occurrence of the accident, which may be useful when you commence litigation proceedings.
• Follow any medical advice/treatment given to you.
As a person making a claim, you have a duty to mitigate your losses, i.e. keep your losses to a minimum. If you do not correctly and thoroughly follow the medical advice you receive (for example, to take the medication you have been prescribed or to attend a course of physiotherapy) you may be accused of delaying your recovery and your claim may be invalidated.
• Act quickly.
There are strict time limits in personal injury cases and if you do not make a claim within those time limits you may be prevented in law from making a claim at all. Adults who have been injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence have three years from the date of the accident in which to make a claim (in the case of injured children, the three year time limit start to run from the date of their 18th birthday).
• Keep records.
As well as claiming compensation for the pain and suffering you have sustained, you may also claim for out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. lost earnings, travelling expenses and prescription charges) but it is important that you keep payslips, receipts and invoices to substantiate these losses).
• Feel obliged to instruct the solicitor nominated by your insurance company.
You have a right to choose any solicitor you choose and are not legally required to nominate the solicitors instructed by your insurance company.
• Feel pressured into accepting the first offer made by the third party insurers.
The third party insurers will want to settle your claim for as little as possible. It is important to wait until your injuries have fully resolved, or until a firm prognosis is in place, before negotiating settlement of your case so that your claim can be accurately valued.