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How to Make a Personal Injury Claim in 5 Steps

How to make a Compensation Claim  following a Catastrophic Personal Injury

At Barr Ellison we focus on survivors of serious  injury. Many of our clients are amputees or have  

sustained serious brain or spinal injury.  If you choose to make a claim through us  

we will guide you through the process. This  video is a brief overview of the main steps.

The first step is the initial legal  consultation. This is to establish the  

likely success of your claim and will  guide your decision on how to proceed.  

Catastrophic personal injury cases can last for  years, so it's important to appoint a specialist  

lawyer. It's also important to meet your lawyer as  you will be working closely together. Your lawyer  

will go through the major steps of the process and  advise you on the likely value of your financial claim.

They will also go through your options for  funding your case. This initial consultation should  

also focus on the need for early rehabilitation as  well as any other issues or questions you may have.  

At Barr Ellison this initial consultation is  always free and will last as long as you need. 

The next step is sending a Letter of Claim. But  before sending a Letter of Claim, all Defendants  

must be correctly identified. Key information and  evidence must be compiled in accordance with the  

Pre-action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims.   Once everything is in order the Letter of Claim  

can be sent to the Defendants. They then have three  weeks to acknowledge its receipt. Following that  

the Defendants have three months to investigate.  The next step is to consider rehabilitation,  

including interim payments. This step overlaps with  and continues in parallel to all the other steps.  

Obtaining funding for rehabilitation  treatments is an immediate top priority.  

The goal is to enable you or your loved one  to live as full a life as possible. Early  

rehabilitation is essential to this and interim  payments are likely to be needed to fund it.

Whether to appoint a case manager and  commission expert reports is considered.

Medical needs after a serious injury are  often complex and long term. Intensive  

recovery therapies, and the need for carers  and physiotherapists, must be factored in.  

For many, it might not be possible to return  home without at least some adaptations to the  

home. Or, to enable as much independence as  possible, it may be necessary to move home.

Other issues to be considered are education  needs - for example to enable a return to work -   

or prosthetics care and maintenance. Ideally these  needs are met through interim payments whilst  

the claim is ongoing. For more, see our article  Early Rehabilitation is Critical in Catastrophic 

Personal Injury Cases. The outcome of the final  step will depend on whether the defendant admits  

liability, or denies some or all of liability  for your injury. Where liability is admitted,  

the main work to be done is to ensure that you  receive a fair and just settlement. Your lawyer  

will provide advice and clarity on the level of  compensation you should receive, including medical  

costs, loss of earnings, the need for care and  assistance, rehabilitation treatments and therapies,  

and legal costs. There are likely to be intense  negotiations over the level of compensation,  

especially when calculating the future cost  of rehabilitation and care, as well as loss of  

future earnings, and any adaptations to the house  that might be needed. If the parties can agree the  

level of compensation, the case will settle and  there is no need to go to court. Where liability  

is only partially admitted or fully denied there  will usually be negotiation to review liability  

and the level of damages. It is possible that  the Defendant may allege contributory negligence,  

meaning that they believe that you or others  contributed to the cause of your injury.  

Before discussing the details of a potential  settlement, the Defendants will be asked to  

provide a 'disclosure of evidence' which details why  the Defendants believe they are not liable or only  

partially liable. For more details see our article  How is Personal Injury Compensation Calculated?  

If the parties can agree a new position on liability  and damages, the case ends and the Defendants  

pay the agreed settlement. If terms cannot be  agreed, you may decide to issue proceedings against  

the Defendant (your solicitor will advise you on  this). At this point either you or the Defendant  

may decide to make an offer to settle, known as  a 'part 36 offer' under the Civil Procedure Rules.  

If this offer is accepted, the case will end and  the Defendants will pay the agreed settlement.  

If the offer is not accepted, you have the  option of taking the Defendant to court.

The courts will then determine liability and level of compensation.   

Get in touch if you or your loved one have  suffered a serious injury and believe you  

may need legal assistance. There will be no  charge for the initial legal consultation.