A Guide to Claiming Scotland Injury Compensation
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
How is personal injury law different in Scotland? Will claimants get more compensation claiming under Scots Law?
In most cases, a person who has sustained injury as the result of an accident can only bring a personal injury claim for compensation in the country in which the accident occurred. The claim will then be dealt with according to that country's laws and procedures.
This principle holds true for accidents which occurred in a particular part of the United Kingdom. So, for example, someone injured in an accident in Scotland usually has to claim compensation according to Scots Law. Decisions of Courts in England and Wales may, however, still be considered in a Scottish Court's ruling.
Do I have a scotland injury claim?
It should be possible to make a scotland injury claim if you sustained an injury:
- in the last three years and;
- someone else was to blame.
However, there may be other considerations that mean you have a valid claim - even if the above points do not apply to you.
To confirm whether you are eligible to claim speak to a scotland injury claim expert on 0800 612 7456.
A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. You will be under no obligation to start a claim with Quittance.
You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.
What if it was a criminal incident?
If your Scotland Injury injury resulted from a criminal incident, you can pursue a claim via the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA must receive your application within 2 years of the Incident Date.
What if a child was injured?
The 3 year rule does not apply to minors.
A claim can be pursued for anyone under the age of 18 by a parent, guardian or litigation friend. The injured child has up to the age of 21 to start a scotland injury claim on their own behalf.
Personal Injury Solicitors in Scotland
Quittance's network of solicitors handle claims across Scotland, including :
Find more information about injury claims in other areas of Scotland.
Scots Law and English Law
The Treaty of Union of 1707 guaranteed the independence of the Scottish legal system. The result of this is that Scots law and procedure differs in a number of ways from English law.
Although some of these differences disappeared with the passage of time, the law-making powers of the Scottish Parliament make it likely that the number of differences will increase as time passes.
An example of this is that Scotland has had a lower legal alcohol limit for driving than the rest of the UK since 2014, and the age of legal capacity (the age at which a person can enter into a legal agreement or contact) is 16, rather than 18 in England and Wales in most cases.
Accident claims in Scotland
In general, the same laws apply to both Scotland and England insofar as accident claims are concerned. However, there are differences between the two legal systems that can affect a person's right to claim compensation.
For example, compensation can be claimed in Scotland, but not in England, for pleural plaques caused by workplace exposure to asbestos.
There can also be differences in the amount of compensation payable. So, for example, the family of a person fatally injured in an accident is likely to receive a higher amount of compensation if the accident occurred in Scotland rather than in England.
There are many procedural differences between the two jurisdictions, both at the pre-action and Court stages of a claim.
For instance, there are statutory pre-action protocols for managing personal injury claims in England. In Scotland, however, the pre-action protocols are voluntary and only apply if both the claimant and defendant agree that they should.
Costs and expenses
The differences between the two legal systems extend to a claimant's entitlement to have his or her costs (known as expenses in Scotland) paid by the defendant.
The amount of costs and compensation which a claimant is entitled to receive also varies between Scotland and England.
Choice of jurisdiction
In some circumstances, a person who is injured in, for example, a workplace accident may be able to choose where to bring his or her claim. This type of situation can arise where, for instance, an accident occurs in one jurisdiction but the claimant's employer's place of business is in another jurisdiction.
Recent changes to injury law in Scotland
Recent legislation and ministerial orders surrounding personal injury claims have been introduced in Scotland.
Prior to the changes in late 2015, all claims were processed through either the Edinburgh-based Court of Session or the 49 Sheriff Courts situated in towns and cities throughout Scotland.
Claims with value below £5,000 (including personal injury) were raised in the Sheriff Court (although there was no upper limit for claims) and claims of a significant level were generally raised in the Court of Session.
However, following a review in 2009 by Scotland's former senior judge, Lord Gill, new rules governing personal injury claims have been created. In addition there is a new court in which those claims may be brought.
The new Sheriff Personal Injury Court (SPIC)
The SPIC opened on 22 September 2015 to deal solely with personal injury claims. Based in Edinburgh it has jurisdiction over the whole of Scotland for damages arising from personal injuries or the death of a person in which:
- The sum sought exceeds £5,000 or;
- The proceedings concern a work accident claim for payment of a sum exceeding £1,000 or;
- It is a workplace-related personal injury claim worth less than £1,000 but is sent to the SPIC from an order of a Sheriff in another Sheriff Court.
Claimants (Pursuers in Scots law) whose claims meet these criteria can either bring their claim to the new SPIC or to their local Sheriff Court.
Claims for less than £5,000 will be dealt with by the local Sheriff Court.
All claims below £100,000 must be brought to a Sheriff Court, at least initially, since the Court of Session will now only hear claims which exceed this amount.
Sheriff Court Rules and Procedure
As well as a new court, there are new rules for personal injuries claims, which affect the Sheriff Courts and the SPIC.
The key elements are as follows:
- Court applications (motions) can be made by email in the SPIC.
- Juries will determine personal injury claims in the SPIC
- The parties will have a period of time to set out their written cases before a compulsory procedural hearing is fixed. This hearing is to allow the Sheriff to determine any further procedure in the case.
- It is expected that the parties will have engaged in a considerable amount of preparation and engagement with one another in advance of the hearing.
- At least 7 days prior to the procedural hearing, parties must lodge written statements setting out proposals for further procedure. If they are seeking trial (proof), as well as the statement of the matters in dispute, they must also set out certain information including details of witnesses, witness statements, expert reports, medical records and evidence, and the estimated duration of the proof.
Once the proof is allowed, the Sheriff will issue a timetable, setting dates for a hearing, valuations, witness lists and productions, a pre-trial meeting (PTM) and a further pre-proof hearing.
PTMs must be attended by parties in person or via video conference.
For less complex cases the standard personal injury procedure is similar to that of the rules of the Court of Session. The key features are:
- An automatic timetable
- Setting a date for a ‘Proof Diet' (trial window) within nine months of defences being filed
- Simplified pleadings
- An exchange of schedules and counter-schedules of damages
- a pre-trial meeting (PTM) either in person or by telephone
The Court of Session
Where claims are above £100,000 these can either be brought to the Court of Session - the Scottish equivalent of the High Court - or the Sheriff Court.
A request for a case where the claim is lower than £100,000 to be remitted to the Court of Session may be made by any party.
If the Sheriff considers the importance or difficulty of proceedings make it appropriate to do so, he may allow the request.
Once the request is lodged with the Court of Session there will be a hearing before a judge who will decide whether the case can be remitted.
The decision of the Sheriff and the Judge can be appealed.
Settling out of Court
In Scotland, an offer to settle may be made by way of a ‘Tender' - similar to a Part 36 offer in England and Wales.
However, unlike in England, a Tender cannot be made until proceedings have been raised (issued).
The Pursuer is allowed a ‘reasonable' period of time for acceptance. This differs from England where a claimant has 21 days to respond to a Part 36 offer.
A Tender can be withdrawn at any time prior to acceptance without the leave of the court.
Time limits for claims
As in England and Wales, the time limit for personal injury claims in Scotland is 3 years. This means that court proceedings must be issued within 3 years of the Pursuer first being aware that he has sustained injury or illness.
In order to secure the best possible result for a claimant, his or her solicitor needs not only to be a claims expert but also to be expert in the law and procedures of the country where the claim is being brought. In addition, that solicitor may need the right of appearance in the Courts of that country.
A solicitor who practices in England does not automatically have the right to represent a person in the Scottish Courts, and vice versa.Claims which are made in Scotland ought therefore to be brought and handled by specialist claims solicitors who practice in Scotland.
The amount of money you could claim for your scotland injury will depend on:
- the extent of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your scotland injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.
This calculation will factor in general damages and special damages.
General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
See a list of what you can claim for:
Examples of special damages include:
- Lost earnings (including future earnings)
- Medical treatment costs
- Travel costs
- Costs of care
- Costs of adapting your home or car
Find out what your claim could be worth now
Assessing a claim's value at the outset can be complicated.
If you would like a FREE claim estimate with no obligation to start a claim, call 0800 612 7456.
Alternatively, our compensation calculator will give you an instant estimate of what your claim is worth.
Caring and sensitive support
Your solicitor will handle your scotland injury case from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:
- Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
- Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
- Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
- Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.
No win, no fee
Under a no win, no fee agreement (known as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a scotland injury claim without having to worry about upfront legal fees. If your scotland injury claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.
No win, no fee promise
If you have been injured through no fault of your own, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of claiming compensation for your scotland injury.
What do I pay if I win my scotland injury claim?
Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. Your solicitor will agree a success fee with you before you start your claim.
What do I pay if I do not win my scotland injury claim?
If your scotland injury claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all.
How can Quittance help?
Our highly experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims. Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you.
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 612 7456 or arrange a callback:Call me back
No Win, No Fee
to start a claim
Scotland Injury FAQ's
Can I claim for someone else?
Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.
If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.
The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.
Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?
You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.
However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.
How long will my claim take?
The length of time needed to secure compensation can vary considerably.
For example, straightforward car accident claims can settle in a matter of weeks, whereas complex medical negligence cases can take years.
Injury claims can also take longer if it is not clear who is responsible for your injury, or if liability is denied by the defendant.
Taken from average case times, this table sets out approximately how long personal injury claims take to settle:
Personal injury claim type
Estimated claim duration*
4 to 9 months
6 to 9 months
12 to 36 months
12 to 18 months
6 to 9 months
3 to 4 months**
12 to 18 months**
**Official Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) Government agency and Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) figures.
Will I have to go to court?
Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by Quittance’s solicitor panel are settled out of court.
Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.
Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.
Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?
No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.
Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.
Can I get an interim compensation payment?
If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim interim compensation payments.
An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.
Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert