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Serious Injury Claims > Serious Injury Claims in 5 steps

A 5 step guide to Serious Injury Claims

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At Canter Levin & Berg, our serious injury solicitors know exactly what is involved when it comes to making a serious injury claim, here is our 5 step guide.

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Making a claim for serious injury compensation shouldn’t have to be a daunting or stressful experience. Using a specialist serious injury solicitor, someone who understands the complexity of a serious injury claim, can help to put you in as a strong a position as possible.

The serious injury solicitors here at Canter Levin & Berg will work on your behalf, or on behalf of your injured relative, to ensure that you or they get the best possible outcome from a serious injury claim. To help explain the process behind making a serious injury claim, we have put together this short 5 step guide to your claim to show how our solicitors work for you during your claim.

What are the steps involved?

Gathering the evidence

In any compensation claim, evidence is vital. For your claim to succeed your legal team must establish that your accident happened, that it happened in the way in which you described it and that it caused your injury or injuries. The evidence required to establish these three key points will typically include physical evidence from the scene of an accident, photographic evidence or CCTV recordings of the scene and statements from eyewitnesses.

It may also be necessary for an inspection of the scene of the accident to take place so that an expert can examine evidence in-situ. Similarly, if you suffered a serious injury in an industrial accident or on the premises of a business, maintenance records from the relevant organisation along with health and safety documentation might need to be examined in order to establish how the accident happened and whether it might have been possible to prevent it.

Finding out who was at fault

In a significant proportion of serious injury claims, there is a dispute over who was at fault and the degree to which they were at fault. Establishing the ‘liability’ as it is known of any accident requires careful investigation and a thorough evaluation of the relevant evidence. It might not always be immediately apparent who was liable for the accident, for example if you suffered a serious injury in a road accident where several vehicles were involved, or if the motorist responsible for causing the accident left the scene without providing his or her details to you.

Just as important as establishing who was responsible for the accident that led to your serious injuries, is establishing to what degree they were responsible. Many serious injuries occur in accidents where more than one party was responsible or in a situation where something you did contributed to the accident.

The phrase solicitors and insurance companies use to describe a situation where you were partly to blame for the serious injury or injuries you suffered in an accident is contributory negligence. In any claim involving an element of contributory negligence, the total value of compensation you would receive is calculated as if you were entirely blameless. This value is then reduced by the percentage of contributory negligence involved. For example, if your serious injury claim is valued at £500,000 and you are judged to be 25% responsible for the accident, then you would receive 75% of the full compensation, or £375,000.

Assessing your injuries and connecting them to the accident

It is important in any claim for personal injury compensation that you are examined by a doctor with the appropriate experience diagnosing and treating the injury or injuries you have suffered. When making a serious injury claim, the medical evidence is vital to establish that your injuries were indeed caused in the accident, what these injuries are, and also your prognosis (whether your injuries will completely heal, how long they will take to heal and also whether you will be left with lasting damage or disability).

You can make a serious injury claim if the accident you were a victim of exacerbated (made worse) a pre-existing injury. For example, if you already had an injury before your accident, you might find that the accident has made it much worse, or it has accelerated the progression of a condition such as arthritis. In these cases, the medical evidence will be important to establish the extent the accident has worsened your pre-existing condition.

Calculating the value of your claim

One of the most important jobs your solicitor will do on your behalf during a serious injury claim is to calculate the value of the claim. In serious injury cases these calculations can be incredibly complex, as your solicitor may have to include allowances for your care requirements for the rest of your life, if your injuries are likely to be permanent.

The value of your claim will be composed of a number of items, including compensation for the actual injury, which will reflect the pain, suffering and ongoing discomfort you have experienced and how this has affected and continues to affect your quality of life. Additionally, if your injuries mean you can no longer work, or have to take a less demanding (and presumably less well paid) position then your solicitors will need to calculate the disparity between what you could expect to have earned in your career if you had not been injured and what you may now be able to earn. This calculation can take into account career progressions, for example if you had been expecting a promotion.

Lastly, your serious injury claim will need to cover any financial expenses that are necessary to make your life easier and to give you a reasonable quality of life after your accident. This can be anything from the cost of adapting your home (if, for example you need disabled access ramps or a stair-lift fitted) through to the costs involved in providing 24-hour care for the most seriously injured who are no longer able to care for themselves. A specialist Serious Injury Solicitor will work out in minute detail the costs involved in getting your life back, as far as possible to what it was before your accident.

Negotiating with insurers or going to court

As with any compensation claim, once the evidence is obtain, liability is determined and the size of the claim is calculated, then a period of negotiation will need to take place between your Serious Injury Solicitor and the insurance company who insured the person or organisation responsible for your accident. In many cases the insurance company will pay out the agreed compensation in an out-of-court settlement.

However there are also times, particularly when the claim is very large, where an insurance company may dispute their policyholder’s liability for the accident, the degree to which they were liable, or the size of the compensation being sought. It might be necessary in these cases for your solicitor to go through the courts to obtain you the best possible outcome for your Serious Injury claim.

Get specialist legal advice from a serious injury solicitor today

Canter Levin & Berg’s serious injury solicitors are here to help you, or a family member, to make a serious injury claim after a non-fault accident. We have experienced personal injury solicitors who have worked on complex, high-value serious injury claims for people who have suffered life-changing injuries and they can also help you with your serious injury claim. For more information, call 0151 239 1180 and ask to speak with a member of our serious injury team.

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