Am I eligible to make a personal injury claim?
Use our online claim calculator to quickly see if you're eligible for a no win, no fee compensation claim. Alternatively, speak to a legally trained advisor on 0800 376 1001 to find out if you have a claim in just a few minutes.
Interested in learning more about how claims are evaluated? Keep reading.
In this article:
Do I have a personal injury claim?
To win a no win, no fee injury claim, usually three things need to be true:
- Your injury happened within the last 3 years (limitation)
- Someone else caused it (causation)
- That person had a responsibility to keep you safe (liability).
In legal jargon
The following sections offer a more formal, legal explanation of what a personal injury solicitor and the court will look at to see if you can make a claim:
If you're injured, you generally have 3 years to start a claim. This 3-year window is known as the 'limitation period,' ending on the 'limitation date.' The clock starts ticking from the day you become aware of your injury, called the 'date of knowledge'.
In most cases, like car or work accidents, you'll realise you're injured right away. In such cases, you have 3 years from the accident date to begin your claim.
Injuries or illnesses that take time to appear
In some cases, injuries or illnesses take time to appear or be diagnosed. Some conditions develop gradually, like hearing loss from long-term noise exposure, or illnesses from unknown exposure times, like asbestos-related diseases.
If you find out about your injury or its full impact later on, the 3-year limitation period starts from the day you became aware of it, known as the 'date of knowledge'.
If a child was injured, a claim can be made by a litigation friend at any point up to the child's 18th birthday. The injured person then has a further 3-years, until their 21st birthday, to start their own compensation claim.
To win your claim, you'll need to show the accident led to your injury, a principle called 'causation.' In straightforward claims for road or work accidents, the cause of the injury is usually clear. But in complex situations like medical negligence, proving the injury was due to negligence can be more challenging.
Your personal injury solicitor will gather as much evidence as possible to establish how your injury happened.
To be held legally responsible (liable) for your injury, the other party (defendant) must have had a 'duty of care' towards you. This duty means they were legally required to take reasonable steps to keep you safe. This could apply to individuals, companies, or organisations in various settings, for example:
- employers have a duty of care to their employees
- doctors have a duty of care to their patients
- owners of publicly accessible spaces have a duty of care to their customers
- road users have a duty of care to other road users.
I am close to the 3-year limit
It's best to start a claim as soon as you know about your injury. Some solicitors firms may not take on your case if the 3-year time limit is close to expiring - sometimes within a year or even just a few months. If you're concerned about time running out, contact us right away so we can speed up the process of getting your claim started.
It's not clear who caused the accident
If you have been injured but it is not clear who is responsible, it is often still possible to make a compensation claim. The process will, however, depend on the circumstances of your injury.
I feel I was responsible (or partly responsible)
Even if you think your actions or negligence may have contributed to your injury, a claim may still be possible.
For example, if you were in a road accident as a driver or pedestrian and your were partly responsible, you can still make a split liability claim, but expect a reduced compensation amount.
If you were injured at work and think you may have caused the accident, you could still potentially claim full compensation under the principle of vicarious liability.
No matter what your situation is, you should speak to a solicitor about your options.
Another employee caused my injury
Even if you feel that a colleague or another employee is caused your injury, in most cases the employer will still be liable, under that principle of vicarious liability.
I'm eligible but a solicitor has refused my claim
When looking at a new claim, personal injury solicitors conduct an insurance risk assessment to decide if they can and will represent you. They're weighing up the odds of winning the case, not just checking if there's a legal claim.
Different solicitors and insurers have different opinions on what makes a case risky. So, if one firm turns you down, don't give up - get a second opinion.
I signed a disclaimer
Disclaimers are used to try to limit an organisation's responsibility for any injuries. If you've signed a disclaimer before an activity like a sporting event, you might think you won't be able to make a personal injury claim.
However, if the organisation has failed in its' duties to keep you safe, the disclaimer could be seen as unfair. So, even with a signed disclaimer, you may still be able to make a claim.
The accident was fatal
If an accident at work results in death, and the death occurs more than three years after the accident, the estate has three years from the date of death to make a claim.
The injury or illness developed over a long period
Some illnesses or conditions, such as mesothelioma from asbestos exposure, develop over a long period. These diseases often do not become apparent until many years after the exposure. In these cases the three-year limit starts from the date of diagnosis or the date when you first had reasonable grounds to believe that the condition was due to your work.
Do the circumstances of my injury affect my eligibility to claim?
While the key principles outlined above help determine if you can make a claim, other factors based on your injury circumstances may also influence your eligibility to claim:
Online Claim Checker
To find out if you can make a personal injury claim online, try our Online Claim Checker:
How we can help you with your injury claim
Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.
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Chris Salmon, Director
About the author
Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.