Many people who suffer a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence may be tempted to bring a claim for compensation themselves – after all, why pay a lawyer if you can do it yourself for free?
A personal injury lawyer specialises in bringing compensation claims on behalf of someone who has suffered a physical or psychological injury due to someone else’s negligence.
The main goal of a personal injury lawyer is to win their client the largest possible financial settlement possible for their injuries. This could include compensation for:
- pain and suffering (mental or physical);
- loss of earnings;
- additional medical treatment or rehabilitation;
- out-of-pocket expenses; and
- adaptations required for your home.
They will negotiate with the negligent party’s representatives or insurance company to win you the out-of-court compensation settlement to which you are entitled, or to represent you if your case has to go to court.
Personal injury lawyers handle a variety of different cases, with some of the most common being:
- road traffic accidents;
- workplace accidents;
- slips, trips and falls in a public place;
- sporting injuries;
- accidents caused by animals;
- clinical negligence;
- construction or agricultural accidents;
- nursing home abuse cases;
- defective product injuries;
- industrial diseases; and
- brain or spinal injuries.
If you suffer a personal injury, you usually have three years to bring a claim from the time of the accident or from the date you realise the seriousness of your injuries, whichever comes later. You are strongly advised, however, to consult a personal injury specialist as soon as you can after your accident so they can get the ball rolling while evidence is more easily come by and events of the accident still fresh in the minds of all involved.
Your solicitor will take over the running of your case from the outset. They will investigate your claim; collect evidence such as police reports and accident scene photographs; track down potential witnesses; obtain your medical records; and ensure all the paperwork required for your case is in order and exchanged with the other side in a timely fashion to comply with all deadlines.
They will arrange for you to be examined by a medical expert who will assess how your injuries were sustained and how they have affected your life. They will also help secure the care and rehabilitation needed to speed up your recovery.
There is no need to worry about how you will pay for your compensation claim, as your solicitor will discuss funding options at the outset including acting for you on a no-win, no-fee basis. This means that if you lose the case, you pay your solicitor nothing. If you win, your solicitor will charge a ‘success fee’ out of your compensation. This amount will be agreed before your case begins, but will usually be a modest percentage of the compensation you receive.
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.