How does personal injury compensation work?
Most injury compensation providers and legal firms now work on a no win no fee* basis. The firm will check the eligibility of the claim and then estimate “What is it worth?”
It sounds mercenary but it’s actually an important point and not necessarily an easy sum to calculate. Factors that have to be considered include:
The part or parts of the body that are injured: There are rough and ready scales of estimates based on the values of compensation awards paid out in the past. It’s a starting point
General Damages: include compensation for the damage, pain and suffering already evidenced. With the value of hindsight, it’s easier to pinpoint the actual instances of these and put a value on them.
Special Damages: This is where estimation gets tricky. Special damages include future loss of earnings and medical expenses, so in cases of serious permanent injury, for example, it’s possible to see how complex these things are to assess.
Talk to the experts
The best way to approach accident claim advice is to do your fact finding: first eligibility and secondly the estimate stage. If the general advice is that the case will probably be settled out of court, then you can make a decision whether or not to proceed. If the case is more complex and the need for compensation a larger figure, it may be worth investing in an hour of specialist legal opinion to understand all the options and to get an estimate of costs.
Steps in the personal injury compensation process
Find out if the claim is eligible and get a general estimate. Most compensation provider websites can give this information.
Once the claim is started, the compensation provider refers the claimant to a legal representative, who prepares the case.
The claimant will need to have an independent medical examination.
“The other side” has three months to respond to the claim. In most cases a settlement offer is made and accepted, in which cases many injury compensation claims are finalised by phone.
If the claim is disputed at the offer stage and has to go to court, then the solicitor will advise how to proceed.
Once the money is paid over, the claimant normally receives it quickly.
Date Published: February 21, 2013
Author: David Brown