Len Dastard's guide to pursuing a personal injury claim – Part 1
Hola, dedos pegajosos! Do you know who I am? You do? Then you will know to fear and my nudillos de la muerte. For those of you who don't, I am Len Dastard, a real-life litigation executive who seeks anonymity by posing as a retired Mexican wrestler.
I am here again to assist Bitterwallet readers in the ring of justice. I swear this to be true, or the Chupacabra of Truth will rob my of my delicious Old El Paso chicken enchilada.
Had an accident? You ought to be more careful. Ah ha ha.
However, if you have had an accident and it wasn’t your fault then potentially you could be in line to make a claim for compensation. In this part we will consider the preliminary steps.
Initial steps to consider
Always seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
As a potential claimant you have a legal duty to mitigate your losses. This means that you must consider taking reasonable steps to minimise your losses. Such mitigation might include giving careful thought to any medical treatment recommended by a medical adviser or taking reasonable steps to resume your pre-accident employment or other suitable employment.
Ensure that you keep a record of details of the accident and note any potential witnesses.
How long do I have to claim?
As briefly explained in my recent post on The Limitation Act 1980, you have 3 years from the date of the accident in which to either settle your claim, or to start court action in relation to that claim.
The two most used exceptions to these rules are a child who is under 18 at the time of the accident has 3 years from their 18th birthday and the other exception is you might be able to bring a claim within 3 years of you discovering your injury.
Who is at fault?
Sensibly enough, you can only claim compensation is someone is to blame for your injury. It must be proved, in law, that someone is liable for your injury through their negligence and/or by breaching a law or regulation. When the injured party is partially responsible for the accident the settlement will sometimes be reduced accordingly. This is known as “contributory negligence” and your deduction in compensation mirrors how contributory negligent you were.
For example, if you agree (or the court decides) that you were 40% responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by 40%.
What is an ‘injury’?
You can only claim compensation if you have suffered an injury or illness as a result of the act of the other party (Defendant). Usually your instructed solicitor will advise you of the need to obtain medical evidence to confirm that you did sustain an injury.
Once you have taken independent legal advice and they consider your accident is worthwhile, your claim will be issued. We will cover the next steps in Part 2.
Please get in contact with us at [email protected] if you have anything that you would like us to take a look at. Until then, adiós!