If you have suffered an injury in an accident that was not your fault, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. If you are thinking of doing so, read on to find out just how the claims process works in Scotland.
7 Steps to Make A Personal Injury Claim.
There are seven steps which make up the claims process:-
1. Record the accident.
Immediately after the accident, the thought of taking legal action will probably not enter your mind. Even so, it is good practice to follow certain protocol after any type of accident, as it is often necessary to prove liability lies with the other party. For example, if you tripped on a raised paving slab, you may want to take photos to prove it has been poorly maintained. Or if you sustain an accident in the workplace, you should remember to record the details in the work accident book. If you do then decide to make a claim, these measures will undoubtedly prove useful.
2. Contact a legal expert.
Once you have received initial medical treatment for you injuries, you need to contact a legal expert as soon as possible. After discussing your accident with a personal injury lawyer, he/she will be able to tell you whether or not you have a valid claim. It is important to remember that claims often have to be made within three years of the event itself, so be sure not to delay when seeking legal advice. If you are able to pursue legal action, you must then consider whether or not you wish to proceed. If you decide to go ahead, your solicitor will get the claims process underway.
3. Take statements.
First of all, it will be necessary to obtain a detailed statement from you regarding the nature of your accident, your injuries and how this has affected your life. It may also be a good idea to take statements from witnesses. This may be people who actually saw the accident happen, or it may be a loved one who can account for the impact your injury has had on your life.
4. Submit a letter of claim.
When all the necessary details have been collected, your solicitor will write a letter of claim to the other side. This will cover the facts of your accident, give an outline of your injuries, and provide the legal reasons for alleging fault. The other side will then have a period of time to investigate the claim and state what action they wish to take – this will either be to admit liability, or to deny it.
5. Obtain a medical report.
It is also likely your solicitor will arrange for a medical expert to examine your injuries, the findings of which will be written in a report. This will help to verify the extent of your injuries, giving your claim authority.
6. Negotiate a settlement.
If liability has by now been admitted, your claim can begin to reach a conclusion. Your solicitor will calculate an appropriate sum of compensation, and this figure will be considered by the other side. They may either accept the amount, or they may try to negotiate a different settlement. If an acceptable sum of compensation can be agreed upon, your claim will be quickly settled.
7. Raise court action.
However, if liability is denied or a settlement cannot be negotiated, the next step is to raise court action. This will prolong the claims process, as it often takes around a year to reach a final hearing. During this hearing, the court will hear the details of the case and decide whether or not compensation should be paid to the injured party, and if so, how much should be awarded. Nevertheless, more often than not claims are settled outside of court, and very few actually reach a final hearing.