Personal Injury Claims

In the UK, personal injury claims for compensation give an individual the opportunity to claim financial recompense for a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition which is attributable to the negligence of somebody who owed them a duty of care. The most frequent claims for personal injury in the UK revolve around road traffic accidents, but personal injury claims can also arise due to injuries sustained at work, accidents which occur in places of public access and medical negligence.

No two personal injury claims are the same — even when the injuries sustained are identical — and personal injury claims in the UK can be complicated by issues over negligence, relationships with employers, offers of settlements and ensuring that you receive the maximum amount of compensation for a personal injury claim you are entitled to.

Therefore, although this guide provides some primary information about claiming personal injury compensation in the UK, it is no substitute for speaking with an experienced personal injury claims solicitor when you have sustained an injury in an accident for which you were not to blame. Details of how you can obtain a free assessment of your personal injury claim are provided at the foot of the page.

Your Health is More Important than Personal Injury Claims

Although it may seem an obvious statement to make, your health must always take priority over personal injury claims. Later in this guide we suggest collecting evidence of negligence to support your personal injury claim for compensation, but you should never place yourself at greater risk of injury by doing so or prioritising the collection of evidence ahead of seeking medical attention for an injury.

Indeed, many people who sustain less serious personal injuries exacerbate their injuries by failing to seek medical attention immediately. Regardless of the nature of your injuries, or whether you have received first aid treatment at the site of an accident, you should still visit the accident and emergency department of your local hospital or see your family GP at the earliest possible opportunity.

The failure to undergo a medical examination as soon as possible after sustaining an injury can be detrimental to UK personal injury claims as well as your health if there is a discrepancy between the dates on which an injury was sustained and when medical treatment was sought. It could be alleged by the person responsible for your injury that you contributed to the extent of your injuries by your own lack of care, and this in turn could affect how much compensation for a personal injury you receive.

Eligibility to Make Personal Injury Claims in the UK

In order to be eligible to make personal injury claims in the UK, you must have sustained a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of somebody who had a duty of care towards you. The injury may be physical, emotional or a combination of the two; but the injury must have been sustained because somebody who had responsibility for providing you with a safe environment was careless in their actions - or lack of them.

Examples of carelessness which would entitle you to make personal injury claims in the UK include:-

  • A car driver travelling too close to your vehicle and not allowing sufficient time to avoid a collision if you were to brake suddenly
  • The driver of a lorry or other commercial vehicle failing to observe a cyclist on his nearside before making a left turn manoeuvre
  • An employer removing safety features from machinery in a factory in order to prevent the emergency braking system from operating and increase productivity
  • The development of occupational dermatitis because no advice was provided on the risks of using toxic substances
  • A local council allowing footpaths and highways to fall into a dangerous state of disrepair — or not anticipating inclement weather and acting accordingly
  • A supermarket allowing a freezer to leak and create a slip hazard rather than turning it off and removing it from service
  • A dentist needlessly extracting a healthy tooth or a doctor misdiagnosing an illness and providing the wrong treatment

This list is far from comprehensive and provides just a few examples of what may be considered negligence when making personal injury claims for compensation in the UK. If you have any doubt about whether you are entitled to claim personal injury compensation in the UK, please speak with one of our practical and impartial solicitors on our freephone Law Injury Claims Service.

Procedures Prior to Claiming Personal Injury Compensation in the UK

Depending on the severity of your injuries you may or may not be able to complete any of these procedures prior to making a claim for personal injury compensation. Even when you are not seriously hurt, you should never place yourself at risk of further injury by completing these procedures or collecting evidence to support personal injury claims in the UK.

Therefore, only wherever possible:-

  • Make a report of your accident and injury in the relevant “Accident Report Book”. In the event of a road traffic accident, this would be at your local police station, an accident in the workplace should be entered into your employer´s Accident Report Book, and places of public access also maintain Accident Report Books in which details of how your injury occurred and what injuries you sustained (if yet known) should be entered.
  • Collect photographic evidence of the cause of your personal injury accident. When a breach of health and safety regulations results in an accident being sustained at work or in a place of public access, evidence of negligence is often quickly removed. Most modern mobile phones have a camera function, and if you are able to take a photograph which proves negligence was responsible for your injury, it will considerably support your personal injury claim.
  • Compile a list of witnesses who saw how your injury was sustained and who would be prepared to provide a statement to support your claim for personal injury compensation. Even just by speaking with people who may have seen your accident or by reviewing previous entries in an Accident Report Book, you may find out if there is a history of negligence responsible for personal injury.

Making Claims for Personal Injury Compensation in the UK

Once you — or a friend, colleague or personal injury claims solicitor on your behalf - have completed the above procedures, your solicitor will send a Letter of Claim to the negligent party advising him or her that you are making a personal injury claim for compensation and explaining the reasons why. The negligent party — or, more likely, their insurers - has twenty-one days in which to acknowledge the letter and a further three months in which to advise your solicitor whether or not they accept liability for your personal injury.

If the negligent party accepts liability, your solicitor will calculate how much compensation for a personal injury you are entitled to and enter into negotiations with the negligent party´s insurers. Should the negligent party deny that they were responsible for your personal injuries, your solicitor will issue court proceedings. This action often opens communications with the negligent party´s insurers, who are as keen to save on court costs as you may be to avoid a court appearance and the wait before your personal injury claim is resolved.

In the event that the negligent party accepts partial responsibility — alleging that you contributed to the cause of your accident, or the severity of your personal injury by failing to seek medical attention as soon as possible — a negotiated out-of-court settlement is the most likely outcome. A percentage of fault will be allocated to your contributory negligence and your personal injury claims settlement will be reduced accordingly.

How Much Compensation for Personal Injury Claims Should You Expect?

How much compensation for personal injury claims you will be entitled to receive will depend on the nature and severity of your injury in relation to your age, gender and general state of health before your accident occurred or injury was sustained. In order to calculate your entitlement to compensation, your personal injury claims solicitor will have to have access to your medical records to determine your doctor´s opinion of your condition and how long it may be before you are able to return to work (if applicable). Other medical experts may also be consulted in the event of a serious injury or personal injury claims for medical negligence.

Any deterioration in your quality of life due to your physical personal injury will be taken into account when compiling your claim for personal injury compensation, together with any emotional trauma you may have suffered either during your accident or as a result of it — for example if you lose your self-confidence to work at height, ride a bike or leave your house due to a visible scar.

Personal injury claims in the UK should also ensure that any expenses you have incurred which are directly attributable to an injury for which you were not to blame are recovered so that you are no worse off financially than if your injury had never been sustained. This not only accounts for any expenses you have incurred in obtaining medical treatment, but also for the cost of alternative travel arrangements if you are unable to drive, child care or the care of elderly relatives if applicable, any loss of earnings, overtime and pension contributions.

Offers of Settlement for Personal Injury Claims

In the UK, insurance companies are eager to reduce their financial exposure to personal injury claims whenever possible by making a direct approach to the victim of an injury with an offer of compensation. These offers of compensation for personal injury claims rarely consider the full significance of an injury and are presented without a full assessment of your situation being made.

You should be cautious of any offer of settlement which does not originate from your solicitor. Even though a direct approach from an insurance company is a positive sign that they acknowledge their client´s negligence and wish to settle your personal injury claim for compensation quickly, it is important that you obtain your maximum entitlement to personal injury compensation in order to support your family if you are unable to work and cover the expenses of any future medical treatment.

If you are tempted to accept an offer of settlement due to concerns about your immediate financial situation, it is recommended that you speak with your solicitor. As the insurance company has effectively admitted that their client was negligent, your solicitor will be able to apply for interim payments of personal injury compensation until such time as your claim is fully resolved.

Free Personal Injury Claims Advice

If you have sustained a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care, you are invited to call our personal injury claims advice service on and have a free assessment of your personal injury claim.

By calling our Law Injury Claims Service and speaking directly with a personal injury claims solicitor, you can have any questions you may have relating to UK personal injury claims answered by a legal expert, find out whether you have a claim for personal injury compensation which is worth your while to pursue and establish whether you qualify for a “No Win, No Fee” personal injury claim.

All calls to our Law Injury Claims Service are completely confidential and there is no obligation on to proceed with a personal injury claim once you have spoken with us. Our service is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and we also offer a free call-back request service if you would like to discuss the circumstances of your injury with a personal injury claims solicitor at a more convenient time.

For additional information about UK injury claims, please refer to the UK Injury Compensation Zone or the Irish Injury Compensation Zone as appropriate for your jurisdiction.


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