Accidents happen – and in fact if you have been injured in an accident that was no one’s fault then you are not able to claim compensation. Under the law of England and Wales it is only possible to pursue a claim for compensation if someone else (often referred to as the third party) can be proved to be at fault. Fault in terms of the law means that someone needs to either have been negligent (within the legal definition of that word) or have been in breach of a statutory duty – for example an employer failing to comply with health and safety at work legislation.
If a claim can be proved the injured person is entitled to compensation, called damages. Those damages come in two parts, firstly general damages which is for pain and suffering and secondly special damages which is the reimbursement of financial losses.
The “value” of a claim must exceed £1,000.00 in order for a solicitor to be able to be paid for work that they do. Claims worth under £1,000.00 are called small claims. Generally claims must be brought within 3 years of an accident. This is called the limitation period, but in certain circumstances that limitation period can be either extended by agreement or an application can be made to the Court if it would be unjust for that deadline to be imposed.
Elderly people can be at risk of abuse and neglect in care homes and if there are any suspicions that a relative is not receiving the proper standard of care it is vital to raise those concerns immediately with staff and ensure that they are recorded and responded to. Keeping a diary of events as they unfold and conversations can be invaluable in pursuing a later claim. Claims can be difficult to pursue for lack of evidence and are generally not likely to result in significant compensation. However cases can and should be brought where the evidence justifies it.
“Slips and trips” can cause significant injuries. Depending on where the accident occurs a claim may be possible under the Occupiers Liability Act (if for example an accident takes place in a supermarket) or against the local authority if the accident takes place in a public area. Each case turns on its own facts and it is vital to obtain photographs of the scene and the injuries together with statements from independent witnesses as soon as possible after the event.
Accidents and injuries can happen in all kinds of situations. You should always seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in personal injury law who will give you independent, impartial advice on the options that are available to you.
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