Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim?
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, the law entitles you to claim financial compensation. To make a successful claim, you must meet certain criteria:
To make a successful no win, no fee claim, your injury must have:
- happened in the last three years (limitation) and
- been caused by another party (causation) and
- that party owed you a duty of care (liability).
There are exceptions, however:
The date of discovery
Some injuries are diagnosed months or years after the accident or exposure.
A claim could also relate to an illness that developed over a longer period of time (e.g. noise-induced hearing loss) or where the date of exposure to the cause is not known (e.g. asbestos-related disease).
In these cases, the three-year time limit is calculated from the date that you knew, or reasonably should have known, about the health condition. This date is known as the ‘date of knowledge’ or ‘date of discovery’.
If your injury was diagnosed sometime after the accident or exposure, the clock starts ticking on the date of discovery.
Claims can be made on behalf of a child by a litigation friend at any time up to the child's 18th birthday. An injured person then has another three years, until the date of their 21st birthday, to begin their own claim.
Read more: A guide to making a child injury claim
Other factors affecting time limits
Several other factors can affect your claim limitation date, such as the country you were injured in and whether it was a criminal injury.
For more information, see: How long after an accident can I claim injury compensation?
To make a successful claim, it will be necessary to prove that the accident caused your injury. This principle is known as 'causation'.
For most injury claims, such as a road or work accident, the circumstances of the accident directly explain the cause of the injury.
Sometimes the circumstances can be more complicated. For example, in cases of medical negligence, it can be difficult to prove that the injury was caused by negligence, rather than a health issue that would have arisen anyway.
To establish causation, your solicitor will collate as much evidence as possible to determine the circumstances that led to your injury or illness.
To be held legally liable for your injury, the defendant must have owed you a 'duty of care'.
A duty of care is when a person, company or organisation has a legal obligation to safeguard the well-being of others.
- an employer has a duty of care to their employees
- a doctor has a duty of care to his patients
- a road user has a duty of care to all other road users.
If you are not sure who is to blame for your accident (or if another party is legally liable) your solicitor will advise and investigate this for you.
To find out if you can make a personal injury claim online, try our Online Claim Checker:
What if I feel I was responsible (or partly responsible) for my injury?
If you were injured as a driver or pedestrian and you were partly responsible for your accident, you could claim a reduced compensation amount, though a split liability agreement.
However, if you were injured at work as the result of an accident you may have caused, you may be able to claim the full compensation amount.
Your solicitor will consider factors such as:
- Did your employer provide you with adequate training?
- Were you given suitable protective equipment?
- Did your manager ask you to do something unsafe?
Even if you believe you were fully or partly responsible for your injuries, your employer may still have breached their duty of care towards you. Regardless of the circumstances of an accident at work, you should always discuss your options with a solicitor.
What if another employee caused my injury?
Even if another employee caused your injury, the employer is still legally responsible, under that principle of vicarious liability.
Can I claim right up to the 3-year limit?
Technically, yes. However, in practice, probably not.
Many solicitors will not take on a case that only has a few months (sometimes even a year) left before the time limit expires.
In short, yes. Personal injury solicitors will carry out a risk assessment process (often referred to as ‘client vetting’ or ‘triage’) when considering whether to represent a claimant.
It is essential to understand that solicitors are typically thinking about the chances of success and not merely whether there is technically a legal claim or not.
Different solicitors with different levels of experience may have a different opinion about how risky a case is, so it is critical that you do not give up if you are initially turned down by one firm.
Your claim will be made against the person, company or other party who caused the accident that resulted in your injury (known as ‘causation’), if they can be held liable (referred to as ‘liability’).
I didn't get medical help - can I make an injury claim?
If you did not seek medical attention immediately after an accident, will you still be able to make a successful personal
Can I claim injury compensation if I signed a disclaimer?
When participating in activities such as sporting events and exercise classes, you may be asked to sign a disclaimer before taking part. If an accident does subsequently occur, can you still make a personal injury claim?
'Disclaimers' or 'exemption clauses' are terms which seek to exclude or limit liability. They are in common use and take many different forms. If the disclaimer hinders you from seeking redress from organisations that have not complied with their obligations, the disclaimer may be considered unfair.
How can Quittance help?
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.
Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:
if you can claim
to start a claim