Terms Used In Personal Injury Claims
As a Personal Injury Solicitor with over 12 years’ experience of personal Injury claims, I often have clients ask me what certain terms mean during the course of their claim.
I have provided below some of the commonly used terms and what they mean.
Once a claim has been sent to the Defendant (opponent) a decision on liability will be reached. This means a breach of duty needs to be established and a Defendant identified as being liable for an accident. A Defendant may admit a breach of duty and concede they are at fault for causing an accident, or they may deny liability for an accident and state it is not their fault.
If a Defendant admits liability for an accident you then need to prove that their breach of duty has caused you to suffer an injury and loss. For example in a road traffic accident a Defendant may drive into the back of your car and admit breach of duty but you then need to prove that any injuries suffered were as a cause of the collision. This can be proven through medical evidence. You may have suffered a back injury. Your medical records would be obtained to check for any pre-existing back symptoms in order that a medico legal expert can provide an opinion and prognosis.
When you suffer injuries as a result of an accident you may need to attend your GP or a hospital for treatment and investigations. This could include X rays and MRI scans and surgery and physio treatment. You will often be assessed by consultants and a treatment plan would be in place. These are called treating doctors.
During the course of a personal injury claim medico legal reports are obtained from medical experts. This could be an orthopaedic surgeon or neurologist or psychiatrist for example. They are not treating doctors and by this I mean they do not provide you with treatment. They instead have a duty to the court to provide an opinion on what injuries you have suffered in an accident and can provide recommendations for treatment such as physio and CBT.
When a claim is submitted to the Defendant, they will have a period of time in which to respond to the claim. Usually where a letter of claim has been sent the Defendant will have 21 days to acknowledge receipt of the letter and pass onto their insurer and a further 3 months in which to investigate liability.
In other cases a claim notification form will be submitted and different time frames will apply in which the Defendant needs to provide a decision on liability by.
If liability is denied for the accident by a Defendant then the Defendant will need to provide pre action disclosure. For example if you have been involved in an accident in a shopping centre or shop and you have suffered an injury, disclosure would usually include
- Accident Report Form
- Cleaning and Inspection records
- Risk Assessments
- Witness Statements
The Limitation Period in Personal Injury claims is usually 3 years from the date of the accident or date of knowledge. This means that claims must be issued with the Court before the 3rd anniversary of a claim. In essence this means a claim form needs to be issued with the Court.
As a result of a personal injury claim you will have suffered injuries as a result of an accident. This could be physical injuries or psychological injuries or both. The term used to describe the injuries suffered and when valuing the claim for your injuries, Solicitors will refer to the term General Damages. This will include pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Special Damages are any financial losses incurred as a result of an accident and can include and are not limited to:
- Loss of earnings past and future
- Medical expenses including prescription costs
- Treatment costs such as physio
- Care and assistance
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
- Property damage
- Car hire expenses
Quantum is a term often used to describe the value of a claim and how the value of a claim is reached using JC Guidelines and case law.
The Judicial College Guidelines help to assess the value of the General damages (injuries) sustained in an accident. There are different categories of injuries with brackets as to the value of a claim and what it can fall into.
This is a Court document which sets out the nature of a claim and the potential value of a claim and who you are pursuing a claim against. This will be lodged with the Court at an appropriate time. Not all cases need to be issued with the Court and can settle pre litigation.
Particulars of Claim
This is a further Court document which needs to be served on a Defendant and filed with the Court. It sets out the nature of the claim including the accident circumstances, a summary of the injuries sustained and refers to any evidence in support and financial losses and the potential value of a claim.
A Trial is a Court hearing in which evidence is heard from parties to a claim and could be in relation to liability if liability remains denied in a claim and it is for a Judge to make a decision on liability and in relation to quantum (the value of a claim).
Our personal injury solicitors are experts in their field and will be able to advise you about a potential personal injury claim you may have, if you have suffered an injury due to no fault on your own. To speak to one of our experts call 0808 271 9413 or request a call back.