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Kristy Ainge

Kristy Ainge

Associate Solicitor Advocate – Litigation

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How do I pursue a personal injury claim?

Have you ever wondered about pursuing a personal injury claim and how it works in practice? Here is a very brief step by step guide about the process by our Kristy Ainge.

STEP 1 

Contact us and provide details of accident circumstances and injuries sustained. We will explain the process, the costs involved (no win no fee) and other details. A witness statement may be obtained.

STEP 2

We provide the defendant’s insurance company with claim notification form (for claims worth up to £25,000.00) or a letter of claim for those claims exceeding this amount. 

STEP 3 

Insurers have a certain time frame to investigate these claims and revert to us either admitting or denying liability. If a letter of claim is sent, the time period is 3 months and 21 days (although quite often its sooner). 

If a claim notification form is sent, the time limits vary on the claim type:

  • Road traffic accident- 15 working days
  • Employers liability accidents- 30 working days
  • Public liability accidents- 40 working days 

If the insurers deny liability, they must provide evidence and documentation to support why they say they are not responsible for the accident. We will then review matters and consider whether the claim is dropped or pursued. 

Documentation is requested by us and disclosed by the defendant. Documents can be anything from CCTV, risk assessments, cleaning protocol, to complaint history.

STEP 4

We then assess your injuries, and at the appropriate time, apply for and collates all medical notes and records from your GP and hospitals visited. 

STEP 5 

We will send you to see an independent expert to assess your injuries and provide a report for the purpose of the litigation and for the attention of the court (this does not mean that the matter will definitely proceed to court). This report will set out who you are, the circumstances of the accident, the injuries sustained, and most importantly the prognosis and any recommendations for treatment. 

If you suffer an orthopaedic injury, the report will be by an orthopaedic expert, if you suffer a head injury the report will be produced by a neurologist and/or neuropsychologist- it very much depends on the injuries suffered, and if there are multiple injuries, more than one expert will be appointed. 

Once the expert(s) has/have examined you, they will send their report to us, which we will then send onto you for comment. 

STEP 6

The next step very much depends on the prognosis i.e. How long the expert says it will take for you to fully recover, or whether “this is as good as its going to get”, or whether any treatment is recommended such as physiotherapy, and any follow up reports in a year/2 years’ time. 

STEP 7

Once the medical expert says that you will be fully recovered in ‘x’ amount of time, and you are, or the expert says this is as good as its going to get, and you will experience whatever symptoms/pain for the foreseeable future, the claim can then be quantified and valued. 

There are two heads of damage you can claim; general damages which is the compensation for your actual physical and psychological injuries, and special damages which are for your financial losses; for example, loss of earnings, medication costs and care and assistance provided by someone else. 

STEP 8 

Once the claim has been quantified, then an offer can be made to the defendant’s insurance company to settle. We advise that this is only done once the medical evidence is finalised, and prognosis is certain , and figures will be approved by you before any settlement offer is made. 

It is important to know once you settle, it is in full and final settlement, which means if you later develop problems you cannot “re-open” the claim as insurance companies like to have finality on matters, and this is why it is so important to get good medical evidence, and not settle until the time is right. 

A delay in settlement may be frustrating for some people that want matters over with, but we will always advise what is in your best interests. However, having said that, it is your claim, and you can instruct us to settle at any time. 

Please note that all cases do depend on their own particular facts and there are strict time limits to issue proceedings (usually 3 years from the date of the accident) so it is important to take early advice. 

If you would like a free, no obligation, confidential chat with Kristy Ainge, please do not hesitate to contact her on 02476493105 or at kja@bandhattonbutton.com.