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How to protect yourself after a personal injury as a result of an accident

Photo shows emergency services attending a road traffic incident

Every year in the UK more than 3 million people are seriously injured in accidents that occur in their homes, at their places of employment, in their cars or outdoors. If the accident is the fault of someone else, then the victim has the right to be compensated.

Personal Injury law is complex but with help of a personal injury solicitor, an accident victim can make a claim quite easily. Many solicitors are more than happy to offer a free, preliminary consultation to check whether a valid claim exists.

Definition of a Personal Injury

Personal injury is a legal term that applies to an injury to the body (a physical injury), a disease or illness, or a psychological injury or illness.

Personal Injury Examples

Here are just a few examples of personal injuries at work, home and outdoors:

  • Disease of the lungs from working with or around asbestos
  • Psychological illness brought on by stress at work
  • Injuries caused by tripping in a pothole
  • Traffic accident injuries
  • Psychological illness as a result of abuse as a child
  • Injuries caused by mistakes in medical treatment
  • Physical or psychological injuries sustained in the course of a crime

An Actual Personal Injury Case

When Mrs M sustained a snapped Achilles tendon after stepping into a pothole and falling over, her life was literally turned upside down. After the surgery to repair her injured tendon, she was off work for four months and had to undergo weeks of physiotherapy. The defendant admitted liability and offered to settle Mrs M’s claim of £5,500. On the advice of her solicitor, she rejected their offer and the case went to court. The judge found in Mrs M’s favour and awarded her £10,000.

Mrs M could easily have accepted the first settlement she was offered but was wise to consult a solicitor, who fought her corner, resulting in the judge awarding her double the amount initially offered by the defendant. Moral of the story? If you’ve been involved in an accident and suffered a personal injury, make an appointment to see a solicitor to see if you have a valid claim.  

What You Should Do If You’ve Suffered a Personal Injury

Road Accident Injury

The first step is to immediately report the accident to the police. As soon after that as possible, contact your insurance company and give them all the details they require. This is very important because if you don’t report it your insurance company they may invalidate any later claim. If the injury is serious and requires immediate attention, you should go to the hospital to see a doctor. If you believe the injury is only minor – a few scratches and a bump on your head – you should still report all the details to your doctor as the injury may worsen – as in the case of concussion, for instance. 

This is important because if you subsequently seek compensation for the injury and the case goes to court, your doctor will have to present a medical report as evidence of your accident and the injuries you suffered.

As soon after the accident as possible, while the details are still fresh in your mind, spend some time writing down exactly what happened and how you got injured. If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident or get a friend to do this, and check to see if there are any witnesses to the accident. If so, jot down their names, telephone numbers and addresses.

Work Injury

If the accident happened while you were at work, you should record all the details in an accident book. If your company doesn’t have one (which they should), then write down how the accident occurred and what injuries you suffered. Hand over a copy of this to your employer but first make a copy for yourself. As there are strict time limits for taking legal action to claim compensation in the event of a personal injury, you should move quickly.

For more information about reporting accidents in the workplace, the Health and Safety Executive website is a good place to start.

Making a Complaint

Finally, if your injury is minor and you’re merely looking for an explanation of what went wrong and an apology, then you can make a formal complaint. But bear in mind that the complaints procedure can take some time. Complaints can be made to your employer, the police, a local authority, a government department, a school or a hospital.


Author Bio:

Mike James is an experienced, freelance writer working on a project for workplace safety with UK-based Solicitors George Ide LLP.

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