1. Having someone to claim from:
you may not end up seeking compensation from the person that has caused you harm but someone has to at least be at fault for there to be a case. In the case of a criminal injury
, although the offender will be prosecuted you will not get your compensation claims from him (I do question why not though?) but rather from the UK’s CICA. If you tripped over your own shoelaces, no matter how bad your injuries are you won’t get compensation unless your shoelaces are actually to blame!
2. Having medical documentation of injuries:
you do not simply get injury compensation
because something bad has happened to you. The point of compensation for injury
is to make up for the pain and suffering, the lost wages etc. not to punish the individual responsible. So a slight headache from a bump on the head that is cured by a couple of paracetamol will not rake in the £10,000 cheques you see advertised on TV. If your injuries required medical attention then they are deemed serious enough to warrant compensating.
3. Having evidence that it occurred:
not normally a problem for most cases such as car accidents
, medical negligence, accidents at work or any other claim where there are generally witnesses and offical reports drawn up at the time. If, however, you trip up alone on a broken up street or you are the victim of violent crime the evidence will need to be documented properly. The only person that can really advise you on this is a solicitor so “sooner rather than later” is the general advice about making a claim
. The last thing you want is to be 2 years down the line, spent hundreds on medical bills and find out that you won’t get compensation because no-one photographed that missing paving slab.
A word of warning, DON’T become a freelance accident investigator for yourself. Barging into a shopping centre with a camera taking pictures of everything will only get you into trouble. I have actually seen people get out of their car after just being rear ended and taking pictures of the damage. Do they think the damage will magically vanish if they wait till they get home? If an accident occurs, try to keep your first thoughts along the lines of ensuring everyone is safe rather than “what do I need to do to get compensation out of this?”. Then, when that is sorted, ask a solicitor what you need to do. There are some helpful “pre-accident packs” and information leaflets available out there that tell you the things you need to do when an accident occurs to ensure that you get compensation. We’re not going to link to any such material because the owners may change some good ones to some awful ones without us knowing, but they’re out there.
A question we get asked a lot is “how much compensation can I get for xxxx injury?”, this is an incorrect way to find the best solicitor to run the case and indeed get the most compensation for your injury. Your injuries are not a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder and acting as though they are will get you in with the wrong crowd. Remember, for most cases your solicitor is not on a commission, their fees are paid whether they get you £1,000 or £10,000. Although a company may flaunt huge numbers in front of you to get your business, whether they actually will come through with that amount is not actually agreed upon. In other words, if they say “use us and we could get you around £15,000” and they only get you £1,500 you really won’t be able to do much about it. There are actual companies out there at the moment of writing that are offering cash-for-injuries, or sell-your-claim promotions whereby they pay you a few hundred pounds just for choosing them to represent you. Personally I believe that if you treat your injuries as actual injuries, not a product to be bought or sold, you will find the right solicitor for you who empathises with your case and who actually wants to do everything they can for you – and that’s the guy you want.