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Lots of people are involved in accidents and get injured as a result. There are countless circumstances in which accidents can occur, but when you suffer an injury that is not your fault it is often possible to claim compensation for this. It is sometimes still possible to claim compensation even if you are partly to blame for what happened. The essential starting point if you wish to make a claim is that you have actually suffered some form of injury. An injury can be defined as something for which you have received medical attention. That can be through your doctor or at a hospital and the injury does not need to be purely physical. Psychological injury or illness is equally as valid.
There are normally two forms of compensation that you can claim for when you have been injured in an accident. The first is known as General Damages and the other is called Special Damages. The first relates to compensation for the direct suffering such as the pain and trauma, as well as the loss of any future earnings. For example if the injury prevented you from carrying out your usual work it would be reasonable to claim for the earnings you would have had if you had been able to carry on in your previous job.
The special damages element is to do with your direct financial losses up to that point in time. So this could be things like medical care, travel costs for you or your family to and from hospital, replacement of any damaged clothing or other property, any vehicles affected, including hiring a replacement car, etc.
Even if you are found to be partly to blame for the accident, that would not prevent you being entitled to make a claim. It may reduce the amount of money that you are awarded, but provided you are not completely to blame you should still consider how to claim accident compensation.
You may be surprised to learn that there is more than one way to deal with a compensation claim. It is not actually essential to use a specialist accident claim solicitor to help you and if you do there is more than one way to go about that. We will look at the various routes you can take shortly. Another factor that will affect your claim is the time limit that applies to certain types of claim. For personal injury claims you will usually be making a claim of negligence against the responsible organisation and the time limit for this is three years. The court proceedings must therefore be started within three years of you knowing that you had been injured, which is not necessarily the same date as the accident occurred.
If you search online for anything related to accident and injury lawyers, you will have no shortage of results, but it is not always obvious that some of these are law firms, some are what are known as claims assessors or claims managers and some are just there to gather leads and sell them on to law firms and claims assessors. So do not automatically assume that anyone you approach through such websites and advertising is a lawyer, as they may not be.
One good thing about claims assessors is that they will often agree to take cases on a no win no fee basis. This can be a good deal, but it does need checking out carefully. In some instances you may be required to pay the assessor a proportion of any compensation you get. This may still be a reasonable deal, but you need to be aware of how much you might get and therefore how much you will be paying out. Claims assessors can be solicitors, but many are not and do not use the services of specialist lawyers either. You need to be aware of this because in these cases they cannot make a claim through the court process, so it is possible you could end up with less compensation.
All claims assessors have to be properly licensed and you can check them out before you go ahead by looking at the government's justice.gov.uk website
The alternative to using a claims assessor is to approach a firm of lawyers who specialise in helping you to claim compensation for an accident. You always have the option of just engaging a solicitor and paying them for whatever services they deliver for you in the usual way. The alternative that is offered by many law firms is to be paid on what is called a Conditional Fee arrangement.
The usual conditional fee arrangement is that the solicitor will receive no fees if the case is lost. This acts as a good incentive for them to win, but it also means they are unlikely to offer this fee structure on any case they feel at all uncertain about. One thing to watch out for with this kind of no win no fee deal is that there are still going to be costs incurred by whoever is defending the claim, and they will almost certainly make a claim against you for those costs. What often happens is that your solicitor will ask you to pay for an insurance policy that pays out and covers these fees if the case is lost.