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Accident Claims

If you suffer an injury or loss as a result of an accident that is someone else's fault you have the right, under UK law, to claim for compensation and make an accident claim.

Typical actionable personal injuries for accident claims can include, for example, a traffic accident, work related accident, an injury received as a result of faulty goods or services, tripping over dangerous or faulty street furniture and hospital treatment error. Accident claims can take into account both the physical and psychological impact of the accident. Furthermore, loss of earnings and additional emotional distress associated with related issues are also factors that will be considered with any accident claim and any compensation levels awarded.

When making an accident injury compensation claim, there are two distinct types of damages on which the total compensation sum will be determined. Firstly, general damages cover the compensation for the actual injury. This will take into account the pain and suffering experienced and any potential loss of future earnings. Secondly, special damages cover compensation for associated considerations. These include the cost of damaged belongings, medical treatment costs, alternative travel costs, etc.

There are three main ways of getting compensation for a personal injury when making an accident claim: taking legal action in a civil court; making a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; or through a criminal compensation order (the last two only if your injury was the result of a criminal act). Accident claims specialist lawyers are now widely advertised but one should make sure, by reading the small print, that your claim, if awarded, will not be eroded by the law firm acting on your behalf.

Those seeking accident injury compensation through the legal route should engage legal representation. Look for a reputable accident claims firm, preferably through positive word of mouth. Many accident claims firms will offer 'no win, no fee' or '100% compensation' deals. On the face of it both these deals suggest no cost to you, the claimant. However, make sure to check that no contingency or set up fees are applicable. Some less reputable accident claims firms will offer no fee headline deals and then look to cash in on the small print. If you decide to follow the legal route, you must begin your legal action within three years of sustaining your injury or your accident claim case will be thrown out.

Once selected, your legal representation will contact the other party to suggest an out of court settlement sum for your accident claim and try to agree a compensation amount. If this is agreed, then your accident claims representatives will receive a cheque for the agreed sum, which they will pass onto you. If you are responsible for paying your legal team's fees, you will then be billed on conclusion of the matter.

If however, an out of court settlement is not reached, your claim for compensation will go to court. The court that your claim is heard in will depend on the value of the claim. For example, in Scotland only claims of up to £750 can be held in the lower Sheriffs court. If the judge agrees that you deserve compensation, he or she will set the figure. If they conclude that your case is without merit, you will receive no compensation pay out and, if you did not agree to a 'no win, no fee' arrangement with your legal team, you will be liable for their fees and the legal fees of the defendant.

If claiming for personal injuries sustained in a criminal act, you should inform the police and make a written application within 2 years of the incident. Your claim will be considered and ruled upon by the relevant government officials.