Personal Injury Solicitor Blog

The time limits for compensation after an accident or injury

In the immediate aftermath of an accident or injury, claiming compensation is probably the last thing that will be on your mind. In addition to the physical pain, you may also have to contend with a great deal of emotional strain too as well as a loss of general amenity.

However, the standard period for commencing proceedings in a personal injury compensation claim could be longer than you previously thought. Therefore, there is a good chance you can still receive deserved remuneration long after the accident or injury occurred.

Having said all that, time limits do still exist for compensation after an accident or injury. So, here’s what you need to know in order to make an informed decision.

Typical limitation period

Generally speaking, you have a time limit or “limitation period” of three-years from the date of the accident or injury to bring a claim for compensation forward. However, the nature of the accident or personal injury and your own circumstances means there can still be exceptions to this rule.

On account of that fact that these limitation periods and exceptions can be quite complex, it is highly recommended you seek legal advice about making a compensation claim as soon as possible. Otherwise, your case might become time-barred before proceedings can even begin.

Time limits on different types of accident and injury

For things like road traffic collisions, accidents at work, and tripping or falling on public or private property, the three years will start from the date of the accident.

But for industrial diseases such as mesothelioma and other similar illnesses, the three-year period starts from the date you knew or indeed would be deemed to know, that you developed symptoms, the condition, or the disease.

Date of knowledge

The date you knew or ought to have known about your injury or illness is usually fairly simple to determine. However, some are more difficult if the injury or illness is not readily visible or slow to develop. For instance, initial symptoms may have become apparent that were seemingly unrelated to the symptoms that eventually fully reflected the underlying issue that you want to claim for.

Things can also get complicated if you sought medical treatment following your accident and were advised the injury was minor, only for it to become more serious in the future. In this instance, the three-year period would start from when symptoms became apparent or the date that the injury was linked to your accident.

Limitation periods for serious and fatal injuries

If victims are unable to deal with the case themselves due to serious injury, family members may bring a claim on their behalf. However, a three-year limitation period still applies.

As for cases involving a fatality, the family are also able to bring a claim for compensation on behalf of the deceased. If the victim had already started a compensation claim before succumbing to their injuries, the family may continue the case as long as the three-year period had not expired during the lifetime of the deceased.

The overriding piece of advice for time limits relating to compensation after an accident or injury is to seek legal help as soon as possible or else your case might become time-barred.

Here at Accident Compensation 4UK we know the full ins and outs of how these time limitation periods can impact upon a successful claim. If you are in any doubt regarding your own personal circumstances regarding a potential claim then do get in touch with us and we will endeavour to help.

Above all, do not leave things until it is too late by simply burying your head in the sand, as that will get you nowhere fast!

Q & A’s about claiming compensation

Regardless of whether you were injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault or contracted an industrial disease because of workplace negligence, claiming compensation can provide you with well-deserved remuneration.

However, some people are reluctant to pursue a claim because they think the process is too difficult and demanding, while others might not like the prospect of going to court.

So, to provide reassurance and dispel some popular misconceptions, we have taken the liberty to come up with the following Q&As about claiming compensation.

What do you need to make a compensation claim?

For any compensation claim, the more information you have, the better. However, any solicitor will want to know essential details like:

• The date of the accident
• When, where and how the accident happened
• Evidence of the accident, which can include witness statements, photographs, and video footage
• Evidence of your injuries such as your doctor’s diagnosis and subsequent treatment

To support your claim and to build a stronger case, the following documents can also be extremely beneficial:

• Proof of your loss of earnings
• Any expenses such as medical or travel
• Documents relating to your insurance policies
• Any other information that could be relevant, such as evidence of similar accidents or previous failings to ensure a duty of care

What does no win no fee mean?

If you have a strong case for compensation, you may be offered the opportunity to enter into a no win no fee agreement.

This means that you will not have to pay your solicitor any fee should your case be lost. With most no win no fee cases, if your case is won your solicitor will receive their payment as a percentage of your compensation claim. There is a cap of 25% which is the most a solicitor is allowed to take from you so that you’re left with the bulk of your winnings!

Also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), no win no fee enables anyone to seek the compensation they deserve and allows you to make a claim with no up-front cost. Hence the CFA arrangement, there is no financial risk to you because your solicitor will only win their fee conditionally, based upon the agreed condition that you win your case!

How much compensation will you receive?

It is difficult to put a value on compensation claims, as every case will be different. However, the money you could potentially receive will be based on:

• The pain and suffering caused by the injury
• A reduction in your quality of life, also known as “loss of amenity”
• Loss of earnings, which includes potential and future earnings
• Costs for medical treatment and care
• Other expenses relating to travel and insurance

How long do compensation claims take?

Putting a timeframe on compensation claims can be tricky, but most are settled in less than 12 months. However, you must start proceedings within three years of the accident happening.

After accepting an offer of settlement, you can expect to receive compensation within 14-28 days, although this is only a general guide.

Do you have to go to court?

Personal injury compensation claims rarely go to court, as this only increases the costs. Therefore, most cases are settled out of court for an agreed amount which, more often than not, suits all involved parties.

Even if you do need to go court, for example in serious cases where there is a dispute, a solicitor such as Accident Compensation 4UK will be there every step of the way to provide friendly help and expert advice.

Personal Injury Compensation Claim Guide

Seeing as injuries or illnesses sustained from an accident can really affect your quality of life, your ability to work and your financial stability too, it is only fair that you are adequately compensated for your losses.

However, most people won’t know what the claims process involves and how to go about receiving remuneration. So, Accident Compensation 4UK has come up with the following personal injury compensation claim guide containing the essential information you need to know.

The type of accident and how it happened

Although the vast majority of personal injury claims are accident related, such as a road traffic collision or falling from height at work, some cases are due to other causes, like contracting an industrial disease.

But regardless of how you sustained your injury, compensation can only be claimed when someone else was to blame. If your car was crashed into by another motorist or your employer didn’t take the necessary precautions to keep you safe, then you should have sufficient grounds to make a claim.

The pain and suffering your injury has caused

If your injury heals up in a few days and doesn’t lead to time off work or expensive medical bills, you probably won’t be able to make a claim. The amount of money you might receive could well be cancelled out by your legal costs anyway.

However, injuries that cause prolonged pain and suffering, which significantly affect your daily routine and result in some sort of financial loss, will need to be compensated for.

Placing the blame on who was responsible

The outcome of the vast majority of the UK’s personal injury compensation claims will hinge on who was responsible. For example, if you tripped over a loose paving slab that your local council should have secured properly, evidence of their negligence will need to be collected.

The term negligence is generally used to describe blame in personal injury claims, which can be defined as “the failure to use the reasonable care that a prudent person would have used under the same or similar circumstances.”

How much your claim could be worth

Each and every personal injury claim is different, so the value of your case will be assessed individually in light of its specific circumstances. However, there are numerous things you can claim for, which could bump up the potential compensation.

It is possible to seek remuneration for the pain and suffering, a reduction in your quality of life or “loss of amenity,” medical expenses such as treatment and care, insurance and travel costs, and a loss of earnings.

The costs and implications of making a claim

If you have a strong case for compensation, you may not need to pay for legal costs and representation thanks to a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), otherwise known as “no win no fee.” This enables solicitors to take their cut from the other party, not your pocket.

Also, you should not worry about the misconception that compensation claims are only for people interested in quick and easy money. Solicitors work incredibly hard to ensure justice is served and that accident victims get the compensation they thoroughly deserve.

We hope that this injury claims guide specific to personal injury compensation has helped to highlight to you what the variables such as costs and other implications are. At Accident Compensation 4UK we firmly believe that it is better to make your decisions from an informed position rather than a position of ignorance.

Making a Car Accident Compensation Claim

Nobody likes the thought of being involved in a car accident, but every time you get behind the wheel, this worst-case scenario is naturally a distinct possibility. Even if you are the most careful and considerate driver out there, other road users might not be so courteous!

Thankfully, making a car accident compensation claim can provide you with some much needed financial assistance to help you through any pain or suffering following the incident.

However, it is important to understand what you need to do in the immediate aftermath of a car accident and how to go about proving the guilty party’s negligence.

Following a car accident

Even though you will probably feel quite shaken up and might not be able to think clearly, there are a few things you should try to do following a vehicle accident.

Once you know you are not badly injured, see whether anyone else is hurt. After this, you can determine the extent of the damage and start collecting evidence and information.

This will include the contact and insurance details of the other parties involved, photos or drawings of the accident itself as well as any witness statements. You may also want to see whether any CCTV cameras are pointing at the incident, as this could be crucial evidence.

Also, even if it’s only a minor accident, you should always contact the police. Along with letting them know that an accident has taken place, you can also get a copy of their official report to support your compensation claim.

Making a compensation claim

Contact Accident Compensation 4UK and along with taking on your claim for compensation, we can also provide no obligation legal help and advice. However, make sure you do this as soon as possible, because the complexity of some accident claims can take a long time to process and resolve.

But when making any car or motor vehicle accident compensation claim, somebody other than yourself must be at fault, even if you suffered an injury. There is little to no chance of receiving compensation or even enlisting the services of a solicitor if the accident was down to your own driver error or poor judgement.

Because every car accident and subsequent injury is different, putting a value on this type of claim can be difficult. However, two different types of damages will determine how much you could potentially receive:

• General damages – This covers the pain and suffering from your injuries as well as any impact on your day-to-day life, such as the inability to continue your hobbies or interests. Judges will be provided with guideline compensation amounts for different injuries and will of course be influenced by previous settlements that have previously come before the courts.
• Special damages – This covers financial expenses resulting from your injuries. Special damages can include loss of earnings (and loss of future earnings), medical expenses, travel costs, and any care needs. Knowledgeable solicitors will be best placed to ensure that you are awarded for any special damages that should be payable to you, depending on the circumstances of your own individual accident naturally!

If you do have any more questions about making car accident compensation claims or would simply like some free legal advice from the experts, don’t hesitate to contact Accident Compensation 4UK.

Top 5 tips on how to avoid common office accidents

It is fair to say that the vast majority of office workers won’t be involved in a serious accident during their entire working life. However, there should be no room for complacency among both employers and employees, as you never know when or where an injury could occur.

For this reason, we have put together a list of top 5 tips on how to avoid the most common office accidents. This advice should be implemented along with a comprehensive health and safety policy, which makes sure that workers and others are protected from anything that could cause harm.

1. Always look where you’re going

Sounds obvious, but in familiar surroundings you might develop a blasé attitude towards potential hazards. For example, you could be chatting away to a colleague and fail to notice the stairs or there is a chance you may trip over an office chair while reading an important fax.

Therefore, always have your wits about you when moving through the office. If you are carrying a heavy and cumbersome item, make sure it doesn’t obscure your view and be certain there is enough light to see objects hidden on the floor.

2. Don’t forget about the importance of posture

It is an employer’s responsibility to provide workers with suitable health and safety equipment, such as a supportive office chair to prevent back pain. But that doesn’t mean to say employees aren’t accountable either, as they too will need to use this equipment in the right way.

Slumping in your office chair and forgetting about the importance of posture can cause serious long-term harm. You may even suffer from conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) if you fail to sit up straight or take regular breaks.

3. Notify the correct personnel about slip and trip hazards

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common type of workplace accident, which can be caused by unsecured electrical cables, damaged carpet tiles or spillages on hard floors. While it might not be an employee’s responsibility to fix these issues, they should always notify the correct personnel when a risk has been identified.

It isn’t exactly difficult to put up a wet floor sign or cover up some computer leads, but these courses of action can prevent a nasty accident from happening.

4. Don’t use equipment for anything other than its intended purpose

When it comes to fetching supplies from the stationery cupboard or even reaching for teabags in the office kitchen, employees might be tempted to climb on top of a swivel chair to grab what is needed. However, this has got office accident written all over it.

Even if it takes a little longer to grab a ladder or stool, this preventative measure ensures that the workforce remains free from harm at all times.

5. Maintain a neat and tidy workspace

Most offices will employ cleaners to come and tidy up when everybody has gone home. However, leaving your workspace in a messy or dirty state could cause an accident before the end of the working day.

So, be mindful of anything you have dropped or spilled and make amends by cleaning up straightaway. Not only will you ensure the safety of colleagues but also end up with a spick and span desk too.

The process of claiming lost earnings after suffering a personal injury

Along with receiving compensation to cover the cost of any medical treatment or expenses, personal injury victims can also claim for lost earnings as a result of a workplace accident or incident.

Losing earnings from a work accident can be quite an upsetting experience, as you will want to focus on your recovery rather than worrying about any financial difficult you might encounter.

So, to help out, Accident Compensation 4UK has taken the liberty of explaining the process of claiming lost earnings after suffering a personal injury.

Two types of damages related to personal injury

When you make a personal injury claim, you can ask for two types of compensation – general damages and special damages. General damages concerns compensation for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity caused by your injury.

But special damages refer to remuneration for out-of-pocket expenses or financial losses, such as your work income. For example, if an office worker tripped over a damaged carpet tile and broke their wrist, they could be forced to take a leave of absence and consequently lose their earnings.

Claiming for a loss of earnings

Personal injury claimants attempt to recover lost earnings by proving the injury wasn’t their fault but rather that of the employer. In order to build a strong case, the claimant must collect evidence that proves the employer was to blame, which can include photographs of the incident location or witness statements.

To increase the chances of receiving as much compensation as possible, the claimant should also supply things like wage slips, prescription receipts and travel costs.

Determining how much to claim

Claims for loss of earnings can come in many different forms. This is due to the fact that people work in various capacities and different industries. Therefore, each earnings claim will be unique.

But generally speaking, the court will assess the claimant’s post-tax (net) monthly wage for a minimum of three months prior to the injury. This is then multiplied by the employee’s period of absence to calculate their loss of earnings claim.

Duty to minimise losses

Regardless of whether the claimant is in full-time employment or a self-employed contractor on site, there is a duty to minimise or mitigate the losses they have suffered.

Essentially, claimants must keep their losses to a minimum, which includes returning to work as soon as they are fit and able to do so. If claimants do not follow this duty, there may be a significant reduction in the compensation due.

Accident at work calculator

From slipping on a wet floor to contracting an industrial disease, there are various workplace accidents you can claim loss of earnings compensation for. To find out how much you might be entitled to, use Accident Compensation 4UK’s online calculator.

Simply enter all of the relevant information and we can put a price on your claim almost immediately. Our priority is making sure that victims of workplace accidents receive the compensation they deserve, which includes loss of earnings, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

Motorbike accident advice – What to do if you’re involved in a collision

Even though motorcyclists represent just 1 per cent of total traffic in the UK, they account for 19 per cent of all road user deaths. What’s more, motorcyclists are 35 more times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants per mile ridden.

While this means that motorcyclists should take extra care and caution while riding on UK roads, they must also know what to do when the worst-case scenario occurs. With this in mind, here is some essential motorbike accident advice and what you need to do if you’re involved in a collision.

Immediately after a collision

Assuming your injuries are not serious, the first thing you should do is gather evidence at the scene of the accident, as proving fault on the part of a third party is your responsibility. This can include:

• Witness statements – Make sure to obtain names and telephone numbers.
• Identifying the cause – Collect details such as the registration number of the defendant’s vehicle as well as their contact details and insurance policy.
• Photographic evidence – In addition to driver error, accidents can also be caused by road defects too, so if possible obtain photographic evidence from the scene.
• Report the incident – Even the most minor accidents should be reported to the police as soon as possible and definitely within five days.
• CCTV footage – This should also be gathered quickly, as there is a chance that CCTV footage will be wiped or destroyed.

Keep hold of damaged property and any record of expenses

Damaged property such as a broken wing mirror or scuffed helmet could be used as evidence, so don’t throw anything away. On top of that, this equipment can also be used to value your claim as well.

You should also maintain a record of expenses that relate to motorcycle repairs, medical bills or anything else you had to pay for as a result of the accident. Again, this will all be included in your claim.

Potential costs and time limits

In most circumstances, you will only have three years from the date of your accident to make a claim, so it is important to start legal procedures quickly. Due to the complex nature of some accidents, it can occasionally take a while for certain claims to be put together.

If there is strong evidence that the accident wasn’t your fault, the case may be handled on a “no win, no fee” basis. Otherwise known as a “Conditional Fee Agreement,” this means that you won’t be charged any fees if your solicitor loses the case. But if you do win, the other party will pay your compensation and make a payment towards any legal costs too.

To see whether you can claim compensation for a previous motorcycle accident on a “no win, no fee” basis, get in touch with us today. Our solicitors are passionate about this kind of agreement, as we believe everybody should be entitled to professional legal support, regardless of how much money they have in the bank.

Health and safety in the workplace – legislation you need to know

Despite the fact common sense dictates that employers should look after their employees, several pieces of legislation are in place to reinforce the importance of health and safety in the workplace.

Regardless of whether you own the business or are just a member of staff, the following regulations could come in handy should anyone suffer from an injury as a result of a workplace accident.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

This piece of legislation is also known as the “Management Regs,” and says that employers must make “assessments of risk” to the health and safety of its workforce. Competent persons must also be appointed to oversee workplace health and safety, while workers should receive information, training, and a written policy on the subject too.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

These regulations provide in-depth information and instruction on what employers need to provide, such as:

• Adequate lighting, heating, and ventilation.
• Staff facilities like toilets.
• Safe passageways to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

This applies to display screen equipment (DSE) users, defined as workers that use a computer as a significant part of their normal work, typically for an hour or more continuously.

As part of this legislation, employers must conduct a risk assessment, ensure workers take adequate breaks, provide regular eyesight tests and adjustable furniture, demonstrate they have procedures designed to reduce risk, and supply employees with health and safety information.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992

The main provisions of this include:

• Ensuring suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided free of charge “wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways.”
• Providing information, training, and instruction on the use of personal protective equipment.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

As part of this legislation, employers must

• Avoid the need for employees to undertake any manual handling that involves a risk of injury.
• Conduct a risk assessment for manual handling and provide workers with information on the load’s weight.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

The measures of these regulations require employers to:

• Ensure the safety and suitability of work equipment for its intended purpose.
• Properly maintain equipment as well as providing information, instruction and training.
• Protect employees from dangerous parts.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

With this, employers are required to report a wide range of work-related incidents, injuries, and diseases to the Health and Safety Executive or the nearest local authority. Regulations call for employers to record the date and time of any incident in an accident book, details of the person affected, the nature of their injury or condition, their occupation, as well as the location and a description of the event.

The Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended)

These regulations cover the right to annual leave and rest breaks as well as limiting the length of the working week. Extra protection is provided for young workers aged 15 to 18.

The most dangerous jobs in the UK revealed

In 2013/14, an estimated 629,000 people had an accident at work according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Of these injuries, 203,000 led to over 3 day’s absence, while 148,000 people had to miss more than a week of work!

Although non-fatal injuries at work have followed a downward trend over the last ten years, certain occupations carry a great deal of risk. But what are the UK’s most dangerous jobs? Well, here are the top half a dozen.

Mining

Despite the fact there are only three pits left in the UK, around 9.6 workers are killed per 100,000. In fact, mining has taken the lives of more workers since 2001 than the war in Afghanistan has killed UK soldiers.

Even so, there is a general trend towards fewer fatal injuries, especially among miners employed full-time. This could be an indication that workplace health and safety schemes are having the desired effect.

Builders

Although your actual chances of a fatal injury from being a builder is less than a miners, this profession saw the greatest number of deaths in 2012/13. In total, 39 construction workers died as a direct result of their work.

The biggest cause was falling from height, which accounted for 45 per cent of total fatal injuries to workers in construction. Other injuries included contact with machinery, being struck by an object or moving vehicle, and contact with electricity.

Farmers

In the agricultural industry, the biggest causes for worker fatalities include moving vehicles, struck by a falling or moving object, contact with moving machinery, injured by an animal, and falls from height.

Those massive grain silos dotted across the land have had their part to play as well due to the quick-sand like nature of grain when people fall into it – and they do!

Of all forestry and fishing professions, farmers accounted for almost half the 29 fatalities in the entire sector too.

Refuse collectors

It might not seem like an overly dangerous job, but refuse collectors (or bin men) are always at risk from being struck by a moving vehicle and coming into contact with heavy machinery, two of the biggest causes for fatal injury.

Slips and trips are also a prevalent problem for refuse collectors, with 38 per cent of major injuries to employees in waste and recycling attributed to this.

Garage workers

On account of the fact that garage workers, such as car mechanics and service personnel, work closely with fast-moving automotive engines on a regular basis, it is perhaps no surprise to see this profession on the list.

But what might shock you is that car salespeople are also included in this category, presumably because of moving vehicles on the forecourt.

Estate agents

Yet another shock inclusion on this list is estate agents. While carrying out their duties in 2012/13, a total of 70 estate agents were seriously injured, while four died.

However, it is important to note that these statistics from the HSE do not include road accidents, so figures could be higher for other industries where employees must travel to and from work.

Even if your job isn’t listed as one of the most dangerous in the UK, our personal injury lawyers can help with claiming compensation should you be involved in a workplace accident or incident. Simply get in touch with us for more free and friendly specialist advice regarding the circumstances that you have found yourself in.

Overcoming the obstacles of making a personal injury claim

Being involved in a traffic collision or accident at work can be quite a traumatic experience. In addition to the pain from any injuries you suffered, you may also need to deal with a great deal of paperwork, take a leave of absence from your employment, and then juggle personal finances as a result.

With all this to contend with, deciding to take legal action in the pursuit of compensation could feel like yet another stressful exercise, which may not even deliver the outcome you had originally hoped for.

But even though only a third of the 2.5 million people that suffer from accidental injuries each year in the UK actually exercise their right to make a claim, it is often easier than you think to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of receiving compensation.

Putting your case together to make a personal injury claim

One of the first questions you will no doubt ask yourself is “Can I claim for my injury?” Some people might not think they have a strong enough case if there wasn’t much evidence collected at the scene or their employer is playing down the extent of the accident.

However, you will never know until you get in contact with a personal injury lawyer such as Accident Compensation 4UK. In the past, we have helped put together extremely strong cases for our clients, even if they were sceptical of pursuing a claim at first.

Paying to take legal action

Despite the fact most injury victims would warmly welcome some additional funds to support the adverse effects of their injury, many people still believe that taking legal action will cost too much money.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Accident Compensation 4UK works on a “no win no fee” basis. This means that if we do not win your claim, we will not charge you any fees. So from a financial perspective, there aren’t many reasons why you can’t make a personal injury claim through us.

Understanding the personal claims process

Although the law can be complicated when it comes to personal injury claims, there is no need to worry about any aspect of this. Once in the hands of an experienced solicitor like Accident Compensation 4UK, the claims process is actually fairly straightforward.

Instead of bombarding you with endless contracts featuring incomprehensible legal jargon, we like to keep things as simple as possible, letting you focus on recovering from your injury.

Working with a lawyer

Another stumbling block for a lot of people is that they don’t trust lawyers or feel a little bit uneasy about somebody else taking charge of their personal dealings. However, you can rest assured that Accident Compensation 4UK will have your best interests at heart throughout the process.

Our friendly advisors will put you at ease from the get-go and be on hand to provide ongoing support throughout your claim. We aren’t simply motivated by money either, as making sure justice is served should be enough motivation for any professional solicitor.

If this has persuaded you to make a personal injury claim for a previous accident, don’t hesitate in contacting us.