Do you notice a rise in personal injury claims during the winter months?
I have been representing Claimant’s since 2005, and in my experience, I have seen a rise with personal injury claims during Winter months as roads and paths can be very icy and driving conditions can more hazardous, resulting in people slipping or having more road traffic accidents unfortunately.
What is the process for making a personal injury claim?
If you have been unfortunate enough to have suffered a personal injury, then you should contact a reputable legal firm as soon as possible to discuss this in more detail so that they can assess the situation and see whether they believe that you have reasonable prospects of success. They can then talk through the procedure with you and advise you on the next steps, for example the legal funding of the claim and the procedures involved; this usually requires you to attend a medico-legal examination with an expert who will examine you and compile a medical report which will help form the basis of your claim for compensation, subject to case being successful.
You only have 3 years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge to bring a claim for personal injury and losses in a civil personal injury claim in England and Wales and as such, it is very important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible or you may be statute barred and unable to pursue a claim. The limitation period can be shorter if an accident happens outside of England or if it is a CICA matter. Therefore it is important to speak to a legal professional as soon as possible.
What information will I need to provide to my solicitor when making a personal injury claim?
Your solicitor will guide you through what is required, however, if you are able to provide them with the name, address and contact number for the person who caused the accident, including their vehicle registration number and insurance details, if it was a road traffic accident that would be very useful. If you have the details any witnesses and police references that would also be of great assistance. If your injury was caused as a consequence of an accident at work or a slip/ trip, then the details of your employer will be required and if it happened in a public place, your solicitor will need the precise accident location together with any photographs of the accident scene.
Witness evidence and CCTV footage can be crucial to liability and some footage is destroyed within a few weeks, as such, asking for it as soon as possible is paramount. It is likely that your solicitor will need to obtain your medical records, as such, you will need to provide them with this information at the appropriate time. They may also need copies of your pay slips if you have suffered a loss of earnings and other documentation, they deem relevant.
Who is responsible for making sure public areas are safe in icy conditions?
This can be a very grey area and is something that your Solicitor would need to investigate thoroughly in order to see where a potential claim should be directed if you were injured in a public area, for example, if you slipped on some ice on a footpath as it is not always the local council/ highway that are responsible for the safe upkeep of the area in question, especially if there is a dispute over who owned/ maintained it. Your solicitor would be able to investigate this for you and look at your prospects of success depending on the mechanisms of the accident and where it happened.
What impact would the 2021 whiplash reforms have on any minor road accident claims I may have?
In a nutshell, from 31st May 2021, if you have been injured in a road traffic accident where you were inside the vehicle i.e driver or passenger and you suffered whiplash injuries and your injuries are worth less than £5000 and the total value of your claim is less than £10,000 then the Whiplash Reforms will affect you. Whiplash injuries which last less than two years are now to be valued according to a rigid tables of values which only considers the duration of the injury.
Under the new process, legal costs cannot be recovered as part of the claim, as such, it is likely that if you do decide to claim, you will not have legal support as the solicitors will not recover their legal fees. You can still make a claim, but this will involve you making a claim yourself on the Official Injury Portal. It is designed to guide Claimant’s through each process of their claim, something which your Solicitor would have previously done for you.
For more information on any of the points covered, please contact a member of the Personal Injury team.