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17 Personal Injury

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1. Introduction

2. What is a personal injury?

3. What action can I take?

4. How do I choose a solicitor?

5. What are claims assessors and claims management companies?

6. What if I was injured in a road accident?

7. What if I was injured by a faulty product or service?

8. What if I was injured in an accident abroad?

9. What if I can´t afford a solicitor?

10. What can I claim compensation for?

There are two types of compensation you can claim.

General damages
General damages are for the pain and suffering you have had to cope with after an injury.

Special damages and future loss
Special damages are for money you've had to pay or money you have lost (such as earnings) because of an accident.

You can also claim for loss of future earnings if, for example, your injury means you cannot carry on working in a job or profession you have been working in.

And if a member of your family has been killed, you may be able to claim compensation if they supported you.

Special damages compensation can also cover:

  • damage to clothing or other belongings;
  • the cost of medical treatment;
  • travel costs to hospital for you and visiting relatives;
  • ongoing care, therapy or counselling to help you recover from or cope with your injury; and
  • the cost of hiring a car or repairing the one damaged in the accident.

If you need to spend money for things related to your accident or injury, try to keep all your receipts. This will make it easier to claim the money back as part of special damages.

What else affects how much compensation I could get?
If a court decides you were partly to blame for your injuries (called 'contributory negligence'), it may reduce the amount of compensation you get (for example, if you were not wearing a seat belt when you had a car accident).

You may also get less compensation if the other side can prove you did not ‘mitigate’ your losses (that is, you did not do what you could to keep your losses to a minimum).

If you have been getting some types of benefit payments because of a personal injury, you may have to repay them from any compensation you get. The rules are complicated, and you should get expert advice. For more on claiming benefits, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet 'Welfare Benefits'. You may be able to set up a trust to protect your benefits if you receive compensation. A specialist personal injury solicitor will be able to advise you about this.

11. What if I am claiming for someone who has died?

12. What if I am claiming for a child?

13. What if I am one of a group of people injured in the same way?

14. What if I´m a victim of crime?

15. Further Help

16. About this leaflet

This leaflet was written in association with Roger Bolt of Bolt Burdon Kemp

Leaflet version: May 2008

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