If you are injured in an accident and someone else was at fault, a specialist personal injury solicitor will strive to secure you the maximum compensation settlement possible to ensure that you are properly compensated for the pain, suffering and financial loss you have experienced.
Although your legal advisor will work hard to ensure that you are placed under the least amount of stress possible during the claims process, there are several things you can do to maximise your compensation award and get the case concluded quickly.
Report your accident to the relevant authority
Who you should report your accident to depends on where, and when, the incident happened:
- road traffic accidents should be reported to your insurer and possibly to the police if, for example, the negligent driver drove off without stopping;
- accidents in the workplace or in public venues such as shops or restaurants, should be recorded in the accident book; and
- a slip or trip on a public footpath might require you to report the accident to the local authority responsible for the maintenance of the path you fell on.
Ensure you take copies of any log made or incident number associated with your case.
Your solicitor is on your side and will never judge but to effectively run your case they must be in possession of all the facts. When relating how your accident happened, and the extent of your injuries, be completely honest. Do not exaggerate or tell outright lies as this will delay your case or mean that it could fail completely.
Remember also to give a truthful account of how the accident has affected you; this includes emotionally as well as physically, as compensation can be awarded for psychological suffering as well as physical.
Do as your solicitor asks
Compensation claims can be complicated and your solicitor has to ensure that all the documentation is in order and submitted within required deadlines. If your solicitor asks you to do something, try to complete the task within the required time frame and to the best of your ability. This could be responding to questions, signing and returning the no win no fee agreement, handing over documents, turning up for expert medical examinations, or appearing at a hearing.
Whatever type of personal injury claim you are making, it is vitally important that you collect evidence that your solicitor can use to strengthen your case. This could include:
- making a note of the names and contact details of any potential witnesses;
- taking photographs or sketches of the accident scene;
- taking photographs of your injuries;
- collecting any available CCTV footage of the event;
- providing a written account of the accident and how your injuries have affected you, mentally, physically and financially;
- handing over records of any medical treatment you had received after the accident; and
- giving details of any expenses which have arisen from your injury, such as loss of earnings if you need to take time off work to recover.
Report any new developments
If there is any change in your condition you should report this to your solicitor as soon as you become aware of it and revisit your GP if need be. This could include any complications that arise from your injuries, a worsening of your physical or mental state, or a change in your financial circumstances.
How much compensation will you receive?
The compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your injury, your prognosis and how much you were to blame for the accident, but could include damages for:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of earnings;
- care costs;
- additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
- out-of-pocket expenses; and
- adaptations required to your home or vehicle.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.