If the accident happened at work, it should be recorded in an accident book. If your workplace does not have an accident book, you should write out brief details of the accident and injuries, send them to your employer and keep a copy. Your contract may say that you have to report an injury at work to your employer. If you are self-employed, you have a legal responsibility to report some accidents resulting in injury to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or to the local authority environmental health department. In England and Wales, there is more information about reporting accidents to the HSE on its website at www.hse.gov.uk.
At Glen our personal injury team can help you if it was not your fault and you suffered :
- A physical injury, disease or illness;
- A psychological injury or illness;
- A personal injury could result in death;
- An injury at work. This includes work-related illnesses such as a disease caused by working with asbestos;
- A psychological illness caused by stress at work;
- An injury caused in a traffic accident;
- An injury received as a result of faulty goods or services;
- An injury caused if you trip over paving stones;
- A psychological illness suffered as a result of abuse as a child;
- An injury caused by errors in hospital treatment or by vaccinations;
- A physical or psychological injury sustained by a victim in the course of a crime;
- A psychological illness caused by discrimination or harassment at your work-place;
- If you have suffered a personal injury, or if you are acting on behalf of someone who has died because of a personal injury, we may be able to help you with;
- To make a complaint to the person or organisation you believe was responsible for the injuries;
- To make a claim for compensation to cover losses you have suffered as a result of the injury.
Whatever you are intending to do about your personal injury, actions you could take include :-
- Inform the police if, for example, the injury resulted from a road accident;
- If the injury resulted from a road accident, report it to your insurance company. The insurance policy may be invalid if an accident is not reported;
- Report the injury to your doctor because it could become more serious. You should do this even if the injury seems minor. If you subsequently go to court to get compensation for the injury, the doctor will be asked to provide a medical report;
- Gather evidence about the accident and injuries. For example, it may be useful to take photographs of the scene of an accident and of what caused the injury. You should also, if possible, write an account of the incident while details are still fresh in your mind. If there are witnesses, you should make a note of their names and addresses.
If you have sustained a personal injury you may be able to claim two types of compensation, general damages and special damages.
General damages are paid as compensation for an injury, for example, a payment for pain and suffering or loss of future earnings. The court will decide on the amount to be paid.
Special damages are paid as compensation for actual financial loss caused by the accident up to the date of the hearing. These can include damage to clothing or other belongings, the costs of care, travel costs to hospital, medical expenses (including the cost of private treatment) and the cost of hiring and/or repairing a car if it has been damaged in the accident.
If you want to take legal action to claim compensation for a personal injury, you will need to get advice from a solicitor specialising in these types of cases. This must be done as soon as possible as there are strict time limits on taking legal action.
At Glen our personal injury solicitors will take up your case on the understanding that he or she will not be paid if the compensation claim is unsuccessful.
There are different time limits within which you must begin legal action in a personal injury claim. You should therefore get legal advice urgently if you wish to claim compensation.
The most common claim in a personal injury case is negligence and the time limit for this is three years. This means that court proceedings must be issued within three years of you first being aware that you have suffered an injury.
In some cases, a court may decide to extend a time limit, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If you have sustained an injury as a result of a traffic accident and you are a member of a motoring organisation, for example, the AA or RAC, you may be able to get specialist legal advice through that organisation.
There are a number of special compensation schemes for some injuries and losses. For example, people who have contracted HIV when receiving treatment for haemophilia can claim payments from the MacFarlane Trust and compensation from the Government.
People who have suffered damage as a result of vaccinations could make a claim to the Vaccine Damage Payment Unit. For more information, go to www.gov.uk.
There are special schemes for people suffering from an asbestos-related disease.
For example, if you were injured by working with asbestos, you may be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit as well as being able to make a civil claim against your employers. You may have contracted an asbestos-related disease in another way – for example, by washing the clothes of a family member. In this case, you can make a claim for a special one-off payment from the Government. There are time limits to make these claims. For more information, go to www.gov.uk.
For more information about Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, see Benefits for people who are sick or disabled.
A specialist Solicitor will advise you about whether there is a compensation scheme available for your injury and will advise you whether it’s best to apply for compensation under the scheme or whether it’s best to make a civil claim.