LAWS GOVERNING PERSONAL INJURIES: PERSPECTIVE FROM UNITED KINGDOM
“Personal injury” is a term that is usually used in law and legal matters. It refers to an injury that causes physical or psychological pain and suffering to victims. Personal injury may be caused by negligent behavior by another individual. It may also be an attempt to cause defamation of another person.
Each country has its own personal injury laws. A clause in personal injury laws pertaining to the United States of America may not be applicable to those in the United Kingdom.
For the purpose of this article, we will focus on definitions of personal injuries in United Kingdom, personal injury laws in the United Kingdom and personal injury lawyers who belong to the United Kingdom.
Personal Injuries: What does United Kingdom practice and preach?
According to lawyers in the United Kingdom personal injury can be physical injury, a disease or illness, or a psychological injury or illness. A personal injury can also result in death. There are several examples of personal injuries. Some of these include the following:
- An injury that occurs at work: Such injuries include accidents, or work related infirmities. An example of this may be working with individuals who are suffering with a contagious disease.
- A psychological or mental illness which may be caused due to stress and tension at work
- Injuries that may be caused by traffic accidents
- Injuries that are caused by faulty products or services
- Injuries that are caused by tripping and falling over stones on the pavement
- Psychological illnesses or injuries caused due to the abuse that an individual suffered as a child
- An injury that is due to medical negligence and errors that are made due to hospital treatment or vaccinations
- Physical or psychological injuries that are faced by individuals due to a crime
- Psychological illnesses that may be caused by discrimination, harassment at the workplace or public place
A person who has been involved in any such injuries must consider whether the injuries sustained are such that require claims. Otherwise, in minor injuries, matters can also be settled informally between the two parties involved. However, in case this is not applicable, it is imperative to hire a lawyer if an individual seeks justice. The first and foremost actions to take, in case an accident does take place, include the following:
- Informing the police
- Reporting the extent of the injury to the insurance company as an unreported accident may be invalid to compensation and claim
- Report the injury to the doctor in order to get a valid medical report
- Gather as much information as possible about the accident or injury
If an accident occurs at the individual’s workplace, it is important to report it in the accident book that most UK companies keep. Moreover, the individual should report his or her injury to their employer, and if he or she is self-employed, then the injury must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In United Kingdom, it is common to report injuries on the HSE website.
MAKING CLAIMS: THE UNITED KINGDOM WAY
After the injury: Making Claims and asking for compensation
Every year, in the United Kingdom, uncountable accidents happen every single day. These could be at home, in the car, at work, or out in the open. Each case is different and unique from the other. Sometimes it could be the victim’s fault, at other times it could be the fault of someone else. In either case, one party can demand claims and compensation for the received damage.
Personal injury laws are complicated and complex. However, with the help of a lawyer (or solicitor, as it is usually called in the United Kingdom), claims can be easily made and realized as well. Moreover, there are also many accident claim companies that help victims get compensation and claims that they desire.
When is it the right time to make a claim?
According to the laws in United Kingdom, personal injury claims must be made within three years of the date of the accident. This three year period is known as the limitation period according to UK law.
However, there are exceptions to this rule when this three year period is considered from the date of the injury reporting and not on the date of the accident. Another exception is made if the plaintiff is suffering from psychological and mental disabilities, may be under 18 years of age, or has a disease which takes a long time to mature after its detection.
Cases where the plaintiff is exposed to a disease at work; the limitation period starts from the first time the disease is detected. In this case, the plaintiff can also make “personal injury at work” claims.
In case of the death of the plaintiff during the personal injury compensation claim, the limitation period of three years will start again from the date of the death so that the family of the diseased can continue with the claim.
The question arises; what is the process for making personal injury claims in the United Kingdom:
- Realizing you have a claim and seeking advice from a lawyer: The first step to making a claim is to contact your lawyer or solicitor. The action point for your lawyer is to contact the individual/individuals or organization who is responsible for causing injuries and harm to you. In other words, the person who is victim to the accident is the plaintiff and the person or party who is responsible for the accident is the defendant. The lawyer then sends a letter to the defendant party, stating the details of the injury and how the events of the accident unfolded. It is the responsibility of the defendant to reply within a certain number of days, either accepting or denying the claims made by the plaintiff.
- Making offers: the next step for the lawyer is to determine the value of the claim. The plaintiff’s acceptance on the desired compensation is important. If this does not happen, the case will have to be taken to court; otherwise it can be settled informally between the two parties.
- Settlements in the court: in case the plaintiff is not satisfied with the compensation offered, the lawyer may decide to file a lawsuit and ask the defendant party to appear in court so that a ruling can be passed formally.
Types of claims:
In the United Kingdom, there are many types of claims that an individual can make. Some of them are mentioned below:
- Common injury claims:
- a) Road Accident claim
- b) Injury at work claim
- c) Clinical negligence claim
- d) Head injury/brain injury claim
- e) Work related illnesses
- f) Trip or slip
- Other types of claims:
- Abuse or assault claim
- Armed forces claim
- Back or spinal injury claim
- Beauty treatment claim
- Criminal injury claim
- Child injury claim
- Educational claim
- Environment/pollution claim
- Fatal accident claim
- Faulty products claim
- Head injury/brain injury claim
- Holiday accident claim
m.Horses, dog and animal injury claim
- Human rights claim
- Sport injury claim
- Train, ship and plane injury claim
There are several firms in the UK, which can provide solicitor services to personal injury victims. Most if the firms in the UK operate on the “No win- no fee” policy. What this means is that the lawyers do not charge the personal injury victims unless they get the deserved compensation and claims that the lawyer has promised and guaranteed to provide them. Hence, there is a benefit to the plaintiff as there is no financial risk involved.
With the rise of technology and the world becoming more and more digital with time, online personal injury claims are becoming common. The benefit of such claims is that individuals can now connect with solicitors and personal injury groups online, rather than visit in the first go. Personal injury claim forms are available online with easy access and instructions for filling in.
Other modes of filing complaints include telephonic calls and personal visits to the solicitors.
The following are the profiles of some lawyers who serve personal injury victims in the United Kingdom:
Slater and Gordon:
A prominent law firm in the United Kingdom, Slater and Gordon has a range of lawyers in their personal injury and accident claim group. It is one of United Kingdom’s largest law firms with around fourteen hundred and fifty solicitors representing the firm, across eighteen offices in England, Scotland and Whales. The firm has been established since the last 85 years with a reputation that is impeccable. The types of cases that the firm deals with include personal injury claims, criminal law, negligence, defamation and family law etc.
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers:
Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has been practicing law for about 25 years now. It is a non-profit, UK based organization with a crew of 38000 solicitors, barristers and legal advisors. These individuals are motivated and enthusiastic about helping victims of personal injuries get the compensation and justice that they deserve.
Some prominent lawyers from APIL include:
Head or brain injury lawyer, Miss Alexandra Taft: Miss Alexandra Taft represents the firm “Harrison Clark Rickerbys Ltd”. Her job is to assist individuals who claim to have suffered medical accidents. She does in-depth research by means of observation, by obtaining answers, apologies and trying to get the best possible compensation for her clients.
Work place injury lawyer, Lianda Barnes: Lianda Barnes is a senior litigator representing the firm “Digby Brown LLT”. Lianda has the experience of handling a number of work place related personal injury cases. Her forte also includes road traffic, public liability claims and motorcycle accident claims. She is a specialist in Motorcycle Law Department at Digby Brown LLT law firm.
Related References for Personal Injury:
- What is Personal Injury? http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/law_legal_system_e/law_personal_injury_e/personal_injuries.htm#h_what_is_a_personal_injury
- Personal Injury Compensation Claim Guide, http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/compensation-guide/personal-injury-compensation-claim-guide.htm
- Personal Injury,https://www.yourlegalfriend.com/types-of-claim/personal-injury/?TTAR=PNG**0210&gclid=CjwKEAjw6Z2pBRCmvaXq6d7FjUoSJAAc5LrisHC7vbLE4jKVbT7_7VFTEWk1RSVSRX_3eCs2Eu1XoRoCnLvw_wcB
- Personal Injury Claims, https://www.justice.gov.uk/civil-justice-reforms/personal-injury-claims
- What is Apil, http://www.apil.org.uk/what-is-apil
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