Most people have seen an advert on TV or received an unsolicited phone call asking if they have had an accident in the last three years. The time period of three years is important as it is the deadline to issue court proceedings in most personal injury claims (although there are exceptions) after which, the claim is “time-barred”.
I have spoken to many clients who are either initially reluctant to begin a personal injury claim shortly after their accident or instruct me very close to the three year limitation period. They have seen the advert or received the phone call so believe they can delay starting a claim. Their reasons for doing so are completely understandable; for example, they may be concerned about bringing a claim before their injuries have fully resolved or they have a claim against their employer and are worried about losing their job.
Reasons NOT to delay your personal injury claim
Delaying the start of a claim is not always the best course of action for a number of reasons:
- Your recollection of the accident circumstances is likely to be more accurate following the weeks and months after your accident. You may think that as the accident has had a profound impact on your life, you will remember every single detail, however, over time, your memory will fade and small relevant points may be forgotten.
- It is likely that witnesses will be harder to trace. They may move or change phone numbers and like you, their memories will fade over time.
- If CCTV footage is available, your solicitor will take steps to ensure that footage is preserved and not recorded over. You may not be aware that this crucial piece of evidence is usually not kept for very long.
- If your claim is against your employer or a business, they may cease trading or be subject to insolvency procedures and there may be procedural steps that need to be taken before a claim can be issued at court.
- In a fatal accident claim, your solicitor can attend the Inquest on your behalf and ask questions of witnesses which will assist in assessing the merits of a claim.
- In a slip or trip claim, the defect that caused your accident may be fixed or removed making it difficult to assess the hazardous nature of the defect.
- A solicitor can liaise with the Defendant’s insurer and agree rehabilitation with the aim of returning you to the highest levels of function and independence that is possible to achieve and also to improve overall quality of life physically, emotionally and socially.
- If you cannot work following your injury and are in financial difficulty, your solicitor can apply to the defendant’s representative for an interim payment.
The above are just a few of the many reasons why you should consult a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible after your accident to ensure the best possible outcome in your claim.
At Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors, we have specialist personal injury solicitors who will be able to address any concerns you have about starting your claim and will assist and guide you through the entire process. Call us free on 0808 252 5231 or request a call back online.