Accidents and personal injury claims

How do I make a personal injury claim?

If you have suffered a personal injury and want to claim for compensation, knowing the basics of how to make a claim, and how to fund it, will be useful. Most personal injury claims will be settled before reaching court, but it is still necessary for most people to contact an injury solicitor to oversee their case.

How do I fund my claim?

There is no legal aid funding for personal injury claims (except for children in certain situations), however most solicitors will take on personal injury cases on a ‘conditional fee’ or ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis.

Some solicitors will take on cases under a damages-based agreement (‘DBA’). Under a DBA, your solicitors would be paid in the event of a successful claim, by way of a percentage of the value of your claim.

Some claimants are able to make a claim on their existing ‘before the event’ (BTE) insurance; for instance, under their household or motor insurance policy. Check your insurance policies to see what the terms are. If you have a BTE policy and you want to claim under it, the policy must have been in place at the date of the incident – and personal injuries must not be excluded under the terms of the policy.

We advise you to discuss your funding options with your injury solicitor before deciding what to do next.

Do I have an eligible personal injury claim?

You are not always entitled to compensation just because you have suffered a personal injury. Many injuries are the result of accidents where no one was at fault. However, many types of personal injuries are sustained as a direct result of negligence, for example:

  • Medical mistakes
  • Poor working environments and lack of training in the workplace
  • Unmaintained footpaths or roads
  • Defective products
  • Lack of supervision in schools
  • Contaminated food
  • Dangerous driving

To make a successful claim for personal injury compensation, you must prove that your injury or condition was caused by someone else as a result of their negligence – that they breached their duty of care towards you. Your claim will usually be against the person or organisation responsible for your personal injuries (the defendant). This may be, for instance, an individual, a company, or a local authority.

In many cases, a claimant will settle their claim with the defendant without the case having to go to court. In other cases, the claim may reach a final hearing where the claimant will have to prove their case on the balance of probabilities (ie it was more likely than not that the defendant was to blame for the personal injuries). This means that you will need as much information and evidence as possible to support your claim, including medical evidence. Your personal injury solicitor will explain to you what is required to help your case.

If you are injured in a road accident and the driver of the vehicle who caused the accident was uninsured, or cannot be traced, you can make a claim for personal injury compensation from the Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

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For more information on:

  • What’s the time limit for making a claim?
  • How are damages awarded?