Personal Injury Claims Procedure
Where a personal injury claim is involved, a claimant is likely to question the amount of compensation that is likely to be awarded should a claim be successful. Personal injury claims normally involve two types of personal damages that can be claimed: General and Special Damages.
General damages are calculated to compensate a claimant for actual injuries sustained and therefore reflects the actual pain, loss of amenity and suffering encountered as a direct result of being injured or exposed to harmful substances.
Special damages are calculated to compensate for any financial losses incurred due to the injuries suffered and most commonly includes loss of earnings, medical costs, and travel costs among others.
The guidelines for Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases as published by the Judicial College helps legal professionals determine the value of general damages as they are often vague and more open to interpretation than special damages.
A personal injury claim has to be made within 3 years from the date of the injury or within 3 years of discovering that an accident or exposure was the cause of an injury or illness or 3 years from the date of death. This time period was put into place in order to protect the rights of people who, for example, have been exposed to harmful substances such as asbestos and only realise years or even decades later that the exposure was to blame for their symptoms.
Although 3 years may seem like a long time, it is important to start a personal injury claim as soon as possible after the incident or after you become aware of symptoms related to exposure as it may become difficult to obtain the necessary medical records crucial to your claim. Another reason to start a claim early is that the testimonies of witnesses may deteriorate as time goes by which may affect the accuracy of your claim.
If an injury has resulted in a death, the time limit is extended to 3 years from the date of death and will typically take place after a post mortem has been conducted to provide evidence of the reason for death. If a claimant dies whilst an injury claim is in progress, the time period will automatically be reset to 3 years from the date of death to provide the family with enough time to make arrangements without being concerned about completing the claim on behalf of the deceased within the original time limit.