Solicitors Need Not Apply- How to file your own personal injury claim
You’ve had an accident that is not your fault- sound familiar? Don’t automatically reach for the phone and let someone else take their commission from your compensation. File your own personal injury claim to maximise your claim’s potential. Here is everything you need to know to make your own personal injury claim, from the legal stuff to the common insurance pitfalls.
Why file your own claim?
You get to keep more of your compensation (solicitors fees are usually taken out of the final compensation), and you will also learn valuable negotiation skills. You will also pick up some legal and insurance jargon, which is never a bad thing. The best type of personal injury claim is one where the fault is clear (not contested), but the level of compensation is yet to be decided.
What you need: Patience, organisational skills and some claims process knowledge (which you can easily acquire).
Word of warning: Only file a claim after you have carefully considered your case. Anything which touches upon a serious injury, large scale neglect or government activities, is best left to the solicitors.
What sorts of injuries can I claim for?
Some types of injuries are not really suitable for filing your own personal claim, mainly due to the complexity of the case or its monetary value. These are the types of accidents for which you could independently seek compensation:
- Road accidents (whether driving, cycling or walking)
- Minor accidents (slipping, tripping, falling)
- Accidents within the home
- Product-related accidents
What’s the insurance claim process like?
Don’t be put off: a lot of injury compensation is based on common sense observations and doesn’t need expert input. You are in a good position to estimate the physical impact of your injury yourself. A claims process is also not as time-consuming as you might think; it could involve only a few letters and calls.
You might need the services of a claims/loss adjuster who will evaluate the level of compensation and bring this to the insurance company or person at-fault. You could also file a so-called “third party claim” where you file a claim with the person at-fault’s insurance provider. This is very common in road traffic accidents where all parties have appropriate insurance cover.
How much can I get?
There are rules behind injury pay-outs: medical costs and type of injury create scales of compensation. Previous cases set up a precedent, so don’t expect pay-outs out of line with these. In your claim for compensation you will need to include things like loss of earnings and damages as well as medical costs. It pays off to seek for an appropriate level of compensation first time round; if you get this right, you might be on track for a speedy settlement.
Will it go to trial?
Most personal injury cases reach satisfactory settlement before trial, or even before a lawsuit is filed. This is because people (especially companies) are reluctant to engage in lengthy and expensive legal battles. Remember, it is in insurance companies interest to resolve claims quickly and successfully.
So I’m injured, what do I do next?
These are the key things you need to do in preparation for your personal injury claim:
- Inform the police if you’ve been road traffic accident
- Always seek medical treatment: you need a medical report to make a successful personal injury claim
- Gather evidence such as photos, recordings and statements
- Take some time to write down full details of the accident or injury when it is still all fresh in your mind
- Get witness details like names and addresses down, as you might need to contact them later
Then, send a formal notification letter to the person/people responsible for your injury. Remember to keep things clear and concise, and give them a deadline to respond to you in writing.
- Leave it too long before you claim, as statutes of limitation might mean you miss the window for your claim
- Write about the accident in social media as this could damage your case in court
Avoid these insurance pitfalls
A major part of personal injury prevention is getting the right insurance in the first place. Having the right sort of insurance cover means that you can get better compensation packages, and it also frees you up from having to sue other people for claims for compensation.
Getting the right personal injury cover can be tricky: here are some common insurance pitfalls:
- Age- you might not be covered beyond a certain age (65 is a common insurance ceiling)
- Some policies don’t cover for illness or disease, even if caused or aggravated by an accident or injury
- Some policies exclude things like sport and dental cover.
Have you ever tried to file your own insurance claim? Tell us about your experiences below.