Making a personal injury compensation claim can be a stressful experience, below are some useful Do’s and Don’ts to ensure that you maximise your claim potential and help you through the process.

Don’t be put off by making a claim because you think that you will have to appear in front of a jury. A personal injury claim or clinical negligence claim is a civil claim, and therefore, in the unlikely event that it goes to a trial, will be in front of a judge, not a jury.

Don’t be afraid to ask a question because you think it is a stupid question. It is your claim and you should fully understand every aspect of your case.

Don’t rush to settle your claim, wait until you have made a full physical and psychological recovery before settling your claim. Once settled, you can’t ask for more compensation if the injuries worsen beyond what was predicted. 

Don’t settle your claim without obtaining medical evidence. Insurers sometimes respond to a claim by offering a sum of compensation immediately. A lawyer will find it almost impossible to know the true value your claim without medical evidence.

Don’t think that all lawyers are the same. We are not! The law firms offered by insurance companies are often not local, the case handler may not be a qualified solicitor and have 100’s of cases to deal with at any one time. The level of service you receive from a local, qualified solicitor will be very different to that provided by a lawyer recommended by an insurance company.

Do keep evidence – photographs – mobile phones can be very useful in that respect – timings, weather conditions at the scene of the accident, witness contact details and statements. if you have not gathered some preliminary information, making a claim can become harder.

Do use a qualified solicitor to manage your claim. Many insurance companies will try and settle a claim directly with you. Offers of compensation from insurance companies rarely represent the true value of the claim.

Do get a second opinion other than your GP. Do not rely solely on a GP’s medical report. A GP is a General Practitioner and therefore, not an expert in every aspect of health. In some cases it is important that you are examined by a consultant who will produce a medical report.

Do keep records of your financial losses. Not just the big things including loss of earnings. Also the small things; receipts for prescriptions, car parking tickets for trips to the hospital, extra food and heating expenses, the cost of a cleaner because you are unable to clean your home.

Do keep notes of your symptoms, both mentally and physically. Are you having nightmares of flashbacks? Do you suffer from sweating episodes? Have you lost your confidence? Have a shorter temper? Has there been a change of mood or personality? Be sure to pass all this information on to the professional preparing a  medical report. Medical reports are crucial in personal injury claims as they document your injuries and explain your prospects of recovering from them.

For more information on claiming personal injury compensation, please contact Jane Couch at WBW Solicitors on 01626 202404 or email janecouch@wbw.co.uk.

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.