There are plenty of expensive law books covering “personal injury compensation” but very often they risk coming across as gobbledegook to everyone except for people who have some legal training. So in practical terms, what does personal injury compensation involve?
Well, the first part is to establish that somebody or other is liable for the personal injuries which are caused. This is generally as a result of an accident, negligence or carelessness though it can sometimes be due to a Breach of a Duty set down by the UK Government.
Sometimes this is uncontroversial and the other person simply admits liability (admits it was their fault) whereas at other times it can result in a dispute for which witnesses and/or a Trial may be required.
Once liability for the injuries is established then it's for the person making the personal injury claim (and their Personal Injury Lawyers) to show that the accident, negligence or breach of duty actually caused the injury and any losses that occurred as a result (such as lost earnings or any expenses).
Now this is where Personal Injury Lawyers really risk looking like they’re over-complicating what should be a simple matter. But to be fair, sometimes an insurance company may wish to argue, for example, that a pre-existing injury in fact caused the injuries and losses. Or alternatively that an injury would have occurred even without the accident. This can therefore be the type of issue where medical experts can often be a great help.
The third part of a personal injury compensation claim is putting a value on the loss. This splits into two types of claim.
First, Special Damages which are the financial losses and expenses caused by the injury. This can range from claims for loss of earnings through to claims for medical equipment or particular aids to disability. These are losses for which a specific monetary figure can be made.
Second, General Damages are the less specific non-financial type of losses where a Court has to do a more general assessment of the loss. The most common type of loss under this category is that which Personal Injury Lawyers call "pain, suffering and loss of amenity" and basically this adds up to compensation for the actual injury itself.
In coming to a figure on this a Court would review guidelines and past injury cases which means that both sides may well be able to make a fair assessment of the likely amount of compensation to be awarded; and if their assessments overlap they may even be able to agree on an a figure.
So, there it is. Personal injury compensation explained in a lot less than a textbook. Of course, the problem is that things are rarely as simple as you’d hope and in reality each of the issues mentioned above can raise a lot of other issues which could lead to a dispute.
On the other hand, rest assured that personal injury compensation cases are going through the Courts month in and month out, and so usually, whatever issues do arise will have ways and means ultimately of sorting themselves out whether that is through a process of negotiation or litigation or both.
Slater and Gordon’s Personal Injury Lawyers have successfully represented thousands of people in personal injury compensation cases securing hundreds of millions of pounds in compensation for people injured in accidents through no fault of their own.
For a free consultation call Slater and Gordon Lawyers 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.
Slater and Gordon are a leading personal injury law firm with 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Newcastle, Halifax, Wakefield, Derby, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.