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20/20
MONEY MATTERS
What is Personal Injury?
by Katherine Thorne,
Senior Legal Assistant,
ANSWERED QUITE SIMPLY...
Voisin Law
We have all seen the adverts where some soap star or a stiff in prior to the accident. The law splits the type of damages
in a suit asks you whether you have been involved in an that you are entitled to recover into two, namely special and
accident or suffered a personal injury which was not your general damages. Special damages are those which are easily
fault. quantifiable such as loss of earnings, medical expenses and
any other expenses that you incur as a result of the accident.
If you answer yes to either of those questions then Mr Soap In this regard, the first advice is to retain all receipts.
Superstar advises that you might be entitled to make a
compensation claim. General damages are those which compensate you for the
pain and suffering and loss of amenity endured as a direct
Most people think of personal injury claims arising from such result of the accident ie. the pain, suffering and consequences
things as road traffic accidents or tripping accidents. However, of the injury such as a broken leg. It is wise to keep a diary
these types of claims can also involve injuries arising from describing your symptoms on a daily basis. It is surprising how
accidents at work, claims against the Police, criminal injury often we forget pain! Assessment of these damages is based
claims, medical negligence claims, sports injury claims and upon a review of past cases which are similar to those that
product liability claims to name but a few. have been suffered.
The most common form of personal injury is the In addition, the Judicial Studies Board, which
obvious one where, for example, a person suffers provides training and instruction to Judges,
a broken arm or some form of scarring. Other issues guidelines for the assessment of general
injuries, although common, are not so obvious damages, so, for example an uncomplicated
such as repetitive strain injury or vibration white broken leg might be worth £X whilst a lost arm
finger. Some injuries are not at all apparent to might be worth £Y.
the casual observer such as occupational stress,
post traumatic stress and anxiety. These The determination of general damages is often
psychological injuries are becoming more made by reference to a medical report obtained
common place as our understanding of the from an independent expert who generally
causes of such conditions increases. gives an opinion on the injury sustained, the
consequences of the injury and the long term prognosis.
If you are entitled to bring a personal injury claim, you must
file your claim with the Court within the requisite period of Personal injury claims are not lotto tickets. Any damages you
time. In general, most personal injury claims must be receive compensate you for your loss and will not, as many
commenced within three years from the date of the accident people think, give rise to a massive financial windfall. These
or the event giving rise to the personal injury. If you do not types of claims can take a long time to resolve. In addition to
issue proceedings within that period of time, you will lose the the unfortunate symptoms you endure, you will be involved for
right to bring a claim. some time with the stress of litigation.
For those of you who are under 18 at the time of the accident, If you are unfortunate enough to be affected by a personal
then you have until your 21st birthday in which to commence injury, your first port of call should be your medical practitioner
proceedings. If the personal injury is suffered against the not your lawyer or investment adviser. First and foremost you
background of a contractual arrangement, that is, an injury at must be looking to get well before seeking compensation.
work or as a result of the negligent treatment you received,
say, from your professional practitioner, then it is possible that There are many questions people have with regard to personal
you can bring a claim within 10 years from the date of the injury claims. In conjunction with the Citizens Advice Bureau
cause of the injury. (CAB), Voisin is operating a personal injury clinic which offers free
advice concerning claims and to assist in pursuing matters further.
The most common question asked is, “How much
compensation will I receive?” If you have suffered personal If you believe that you may have a claim and would like to
injury through no fault of your own then you are entitled to be discuss it at the CAB/Voisin clinic then please contact CAB
compensated for all losses that you have suffered as a result of on:Telephone 724942 or Katherine Thorne on Telephone
the accident. You should be put back in the position you were 500362 or email katherinethorne@voisinlaw.com
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