Contents of a letter of claim for a disease or illness

The Pre-Action Protocol for Disease and Illness Claims sets out details as to what a letter of claim for a disease or illness claim should contain.

The Protocol applies to all personal injury claims where there is “any illness physical or psychological, any disorder, ailment, affliction, complaint, malady or derangement other than a physical or psychological injury solely caused by an accident or other similar event”.

What are the requirements of the Protocol?

If the Claimant decides to proceed with a disease or illness claim he is expected to send 2 copies of a letter of claim to the Defendant as soon as sufficient information is available to substantiate a realistic claim. The purpose of the second copy is so that the Defendant can pass a copy on to his insurers. 

Sufficient information should be provided so as to enable the Defendant or his insurer or solicitor to commence investigations and at least put a broad valuation on the “risk”.  

Claimants are encouraged to adopt the standard format letter annexed to the Protocol. In any event the letter of claim should contain the following information:

Information about the Claimant

The letter of claim should state the full name and address of the Claimant. It should also state his date of birth and National Insurance number. In relation to claims arising out of the workplace his clock or works number should also be stated.

The facts

The letter of claim should contain a clear summary of the facts on which the claim is based.  

A chronology of the relevant events should be provided.  

Where an occupational disease is alleged an employment history should be provided, particularly if the Claimant has been employed by a number of different employers and the illness or disease is of a type which has a long latency period. The employment history should set out the Claimant’s job description, provide dates, describe where the Claimant worked and what he did. Where appropriate this should include details of any machines used by him and details of any exposure to noise or substances.

Details of the illness or disease

The letter of claim should include details of the illness or disease and give details of the Claimant’s present condition and prognosis. This should be sufficiently detailed to enable the Defendant’s insurer or solicitor to put a broad value on the claim. 

The letter of claim should set out the date or approximate date upon which the Claimant first became aware of the symptoms, the date when the Claimant first received medical advice about those symptoms and details of the advice given if appropriate.

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For more information on:

  • Allegations of fault
  • Financial loss suffered
  • Other Defendants and insurers
  • Documents
  • Medical evidence
  • Conditional fee agreements
  • Insurers
  • Date for acknowledging the letter of claim