True Or False: Common Misconceptions In Personal Injury Claims
There are many misconceptions about personal injury claims. As a personal injury solicitor for over 10 years, here are a few points that often arise.
I can bring a personal injury claim at any time.
False. The Limitation Act sets out that a personal injury claim usually has to brought within 3 years of the date of accident or date of knowledge. There are exceptions to this rule. Children have 3 years from their 18th birthday and accidents on a boat or in an aircraft have a 2 year limitation period. That said, it is best to bring a claim as soon as possible following an accident.
I must settle my case prior to the limitation date.
False. If a claim hasn’t settled prior to the limitation date, then protective proceedings can be issued at Court within 3 years of the accident date, which will allow the claim to continue.
I can be found partly responsible for my own accident.
True. An individual’s compensation can be reduced if they are found partly to blame for their accident. An example of this could be not following training in an accident at work.
Most cases go to Court.
False. In fact most cases settle without needing to go to Court. This is generally preferable as the court process is slow, expensive and the parties lose a certain degree of control over a claim.
If liability has been accepted for an accident, I will automatically be entitled to compensation.
False. Once liability (fault) has been accepted, causation (which is the link between the accident and the injuries) must also be established.
I can claim compensation for physical and/or psychological injuries.
True. Compensation may be claimed for physical injuries or psychological injuries and often there will be both.
A medical report is always required to settle a claim.
False. In most cases, a medical report is obtained as this is the best way of assessing how much compensation should be awarded but occasionally a claim can settle by way of a pre-medical offer. A pre-medical settlement is one that is reached without formal medical evidence.
I should avoid having treatment until I am seen by the medical expert.
False. Following an accident, it is crucial that the injured party has treatment as soon as possible in order to mitigate (reduce) their losses and thereby recover as quickly as they can. Failing to mitigate a claim, may lead to a reduction in compensation.
My compensation may be reduced if the injuries are caused by the accident and by something else as well.
True. A medical expert will have to determine to what extent the injuries were caused by the accident. For example, a claimant may have suffered anxiety as a result of an accident but may be suffering from anxiety due to something else as well. In this case, if it is found that the injuries are only 70% attributable to the accident, the compensation will be reduced by 30% to take this into account.
Either party can put forward a settlement offer.
True. Either the defendant or claimant can put forward a settlement offer.
The defendant delayed the process so the compensation will be higher.
False. Under the law in England and Wales, there is no such thing as punitive damages. The defendant’s conduct will have no bearing on the amount of compensation that is awarded.