General advice for potential claimants.
For detailed advice relating to specific accidents and illness claims, please click on the relevant link:
Types of accident Types of illness
If you have been hurt or injured in an accident or become ill due to your working environment or other causes, there are things you can do to help support your claim and things you should not do that will only serve to damage your case should you wish to seek compensation.
Things to do following an accident
Seek medical attention.
In cases of moderate or severe injury or illness the emergency services will be in attendance, however, even if you think your injuries are relatively minor, you must attend A&E or see your GP. Your condition can rapidly worsen for any number of reasons and we will need your medical record to support your claim. If you leave things too long, our chances of proving that you were injured as a result of a specific incident are reduced.
Report the accident.
All road traffic accidents involving injury must be reported to the police and you should obtain a police report/incident number. You should also report the accident to your insurance company as they may have to pay outlays on your behalf. DO NOT HOWEVER BE TEMPTED TO ALLOW YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY TO HANDLE YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM. (See What Not To Do below).
If you have been injured at work you must report the accident to your employer and insist that it is recorded in the accident book. You can also report the accident to The Health & Safety Executive. Do not worry about suing your employer or involving a workmate if he or she is at fault. It is the employer’s insurance policy that will pay your compensation. We will handle all discussions with your employer and the insurance company and you will not need to be directly involved in the case once we take it on.
You should report any trip, slip or fall accident to your Local Authority but you should be aware that the Council will attempt to fix the hazard before we can gather the evidence that it existed. YOU MUST GET PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE ASAP.
If you have been injured on public transport or hurt in a shop, supermarket or an other public place, then you must report the accident to the management or owners. Again, failure to report will seriously damage your chances of making a successful claim.
Document the details of the accident.
It is important to record the details of your accident while it is still fresh in your memory. This is not always easy, especially in serious injury cases, but family and friends can often help with measurements and photographs.
The checklist includes:
- Your own summary of what happened.
- Witness statements and/or contact details.
- A record of what the emergency services said at the scene.
- What treatment you received at the hospital.( We will obtain your medical records)
- Take photographs of the vehicles involved, your injuries, the hazard, the faulty machinery or equipment, the defective product, etc.
- In the case of a car accident, you should record the precise position of the accident, the weather conditions at the time, the state of the road and the position of the other vehicle/s and their condition.
- If you have fallen outdoors due to a defective pavement or road surface then you should attempt to measure the depth of the hole or height of the protruding surface.
(We will send someone to take detailed measurements asap after you appoint us as your solicitors).
Things you should never do following an accident
Do not admit liability.
In the case of a road traffic accident or an accident at work, the insurance company will invariably try to get you to shoulder all or part of the blame. They will adopt bullying tactics and put you under pressure to say you were at fault, or perhaps partly at fault. If you fall prey to this tactic then your claim will be undermined. Leave it to us to prove your case based on the evidence. If there is any hint of contributory negligence, we will advise you on what to do. In itself, being partly to blame need not impact drastically on the value of your claim if the matter is handled correctly.
Do not attempt to handle your claim yourself.
The classic situation we encounter all too often is when someone has been hurt in a supermarket and the company offers a token sum as a ‘goodwill gesture’. If you do not know your rights you are asking to be treated with contempt. These organisations will ignore your phone calls, e-mails and letters because they know that you will either go away or accept their ludicrous offer.
If you have been hurt in a car park, or shopping mall then you are likely to be fobbed off with the excuse that the premises ‘are not under our control’ or that ownership is disputed. Either way, you do not have the time or resources to properly value your compensation claim or manage it to a satisfactory conclusion.
Do not deal directly with the insurance company.
If you choose to deal directly with the insurance company you will be taken to the cleaners. They will portray themselves as ‘doing the decent thing’ by looking after you. They will offer you a temptingly quick settlement so that you can ‘get on with your life’. They will offer you a discount on some product or other from their portfolio as a ‘goodwill gesture’. They will, in short, put you under pressure to accept a ‘once only offer’ of what is always a low-end sum of money.
If you accept the insurance company’s offer then that’s the end of your claim. If your condition deteriorates then that’s too bad because you have accepted the money ‘in full and final settlement’. NEVER, EVER ACCEPT AN INSURANCE COMPANY’S OFFER BEFORE YOU HAVE SOUGHT INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE.