In the past few years we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of personal injury compensation claims being made, most likely due to the introduction of the No Win No Fee system.
Before the introduction of the No Win No Fee system many claimants had to rely on legal aid in order to pursue their case which often proved a difficult and somewhat unfair system for many of those claimants. The No Win No Fee system, which was brought in in 1995, has made the entire procedure of claiming compensation for injuries and accidents a much easier and far less risky process for many individuals with genuine or valid claims.
However, because this system is far fairer than pursuing a claim with legal aid it should in no way be seen as a sure fire way to make a quick buck. Any personal injury solicitor instructed to handle a case will first have to examine that case in depth, viewing all the evidence and relevant information pertaining to the accident, to ensure the claim is of a genuine nature. Once the solicitor is satisfied that the case is valid and has spoken at length to the claimant/victim about the accident/injuries he/she will then need to begin collated a great deal of information and evidence to help build the case.
The solicitor will begin by asking for any photographic evidence available of the accident, these may have been taken by a colleague, friend or family member or even a passer by, it may even have been possible for the victim/claimant to have taken a few pictures themselves depending on the severity of the accident and injuries endured.
Any individuals who witnessed the accident will also be asked to come forward and give witness statements documenting where, how and why the accident happened and, more importantly, who was at fault. It is imperative that the accident was the fault of someone else and not the fault of the claimant’s otherwise the case will quite literally be pointless.
The next piece of evidence the solicitor will require is a medical statement from the G.P, surgeon or specialist who treated the claimant’s injuries. This statement will give the court a clear picture of just how severe the injuries were and whether there are any expected long term side affects or complications.
If the accident was work related the solicitor will require copies of the workplace accident log as well as reports of the accident from the employer and the Health and Safety Executive.
If the accident also resulted in damage to the claimant’s personal property, whether it be a vehicle or even just a mobile phone, the solicitor will need quotes regarding the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged items.
The next pieces of information required then become a little more personal but are absolutely crucial to case.
The solicitor will need to know about the injuries sustained in the accident and how they affect the claimant’s day to day life, whether they have been accompanied by any side affects which weren’t present before the accident such as insomnia, weight loss, poor mobility, fatigue, depression or post traumatic stress syndrome and whether they have caused any loss of amenity.
A loss of amenity quite literally means that the claimant is no longer able to enjoy, undertake or partake in something which they had an interest in or which gave them pleasure. This may include a particular past-time or hobby or even something more personal such as sexual intercourse.
Next the solicitor will need to know about any loss of earnings incurred as a direct result of the accident and subsequent injuries as well as any expenses which may have been incurred by the claimant due to their injuries.
Expenses can include prescription charges for medication needed to treat the injuries or side affects, travelling costs to the hospital or doctor’s surgery for treatment and check-ups and even childcare costs and home-help fees if these services are required because of the injuries sustained.
Once all the information and evidence has been collected the solicitor will then be able to give an approximate calculation of how much compensation the claimant has a right to claim from the defendant because of the injuries, pain and suffering they have endured.