A personal injury can have devastating consequences for both an injured person and their family. These consequences aren’t just physical, they can be emotional and financial too. When a person is injured and suffers loss by no fault of their own, the law entitles them to pursue compensation. They can make a personal injury claim against the party responsible for their loss. This compensation is designed to return the injured person to their pre-injury position.
Making a personal injury claim isn’t as easy as filling out a claim form and submitting it. The process of pursuing a claim will vary, largely depending upon the type of injury, how it occurred and where. If you’ve sustained a personal injury and you’re looking to make a personal injury claim, you may be wondering how.
Below we guide you through the questions you need to be thinking through and the steps you need to take before making a personal injury claim.
Who is Liable for Your Injury?
You cannot make a personal injury claim unless someone can be held liable for your injury. This means your injury, either physical or psychological, must be the fault of another party. In general, to make a compensation claim you will need to prove:
- Duty of care – show that the other person or business was responsible for taking reasonable measures to prevent you from harm.
- Fault – the other person or business failed in their duty of care and your injury resulted from an action or negligence on the part of the other person or business.
- Damage or loss – damage or loss came about as a result of the personal injury.
For example, a person who injured their ankle while jogging simply because they lost their balance can not make a personal injury claim. A person who is injured while jogging as a result of a car hitting them or an uneven footpath in the park may be able to make a personal injury claim against the driver of the car, or those responsible for maintaining the park footpath.
Where, When and How Did Your Injury Occur?
The circumstances surrounding your personal injury will inform how you make a claim. ‘Personal injuries’ as a category encompasses a broad area and as a result the law categorises different types of personal injuries. Some of these subcategories include: workplace injuries; public liability injuries; motor vehicle accidents; injuries resulting from defective products and injuries resulting from medical negligence.
Different legislation, common law and processes apply to each subcategory so it’s important to determine where, when and how your injury occurred. If it occurred in the workplace it will fall into the category of workplace injuries, while injuries that occur in public areas are considered public liability injuries. Your compensation claim will need to follow the rules and processes that apply specifically to each type of personal injury.
If you’re injured in a hospital, is it due to a piece of faulty equipment or the actions of medical staff? The process for making a personal injury claim may differ according to each ‘how’ circumstance, with one falling into the category of injuries from faulty products and the other medical negligence. This reiterates that looking at the circumstances surrounding the personal injury will be important when determining how to make a claim.
Have you suffered loss?
In order to make a personal injury claim, you must show that you have suffered loss or damage as a result of the personal injury. Before pursuing a personal injury claim, ask yourself a few questions:
Do you have medical expenses as a result of the injury?
Did the injury force you to stop work?
Did the injury prevent you from performing everyday tasks like cleaning and driving?
How have you suffered emotionally as a result of the injury?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then it’s likely you can prove the personal injury has caused you loss or damage. Loss or damage includes medical expenses, loss of income, carer costs as well as pain and suffering.
For example, a person who falls in a shopping centre and receives a slight bruise will still be able to work, perform everyday tasks and will not necessarily require medical attention, therefore they will find it hard to show the personal injury caused them loss or damage. However a person who falls in a shopping centre and breaks their leg will incur significant medical costs, they may be unable to work and may even require a carer to help them with everyday tasks.
Do you Need a Lawyer?
When making a personal injury claim, a personal injury lawyer should be your first step. A personal injury lawyer can help you answer the above questions and determine if you can actually make a claim. They will also advise which category your personal injury claim falls under and then pursue compensation according to the legislation that applies to the given personal injury area.
Taylor & Scott Lawyers are experts when it comes to making a personal injury claim. With years of experience, personal care and extensive resources, a Taylor & Scott lawyer will ensure your personal injury claim has every chance of success.