Personal injury claims: how to make a claim responsibly
What is personal injury law? How did it start and what does it mean? How does it protect people? And is it possible to make a personal injury claim responsibly, without contributing to the ‘compensation culture’? Philip Browell, from specialist personal injury firm Browell Smith and Co Solicitors, Newcastle, explains.
The history of personal injury law
The idea of personal injury law has been part of British law for centuries and has its roots in some of our most ancient laws of the Saxon period, when compensation would be paid to the family of someone killed in a dispute.
The principle of compensation today is not based upon resources – or who has the biggest sword! – but on the fundamental principle that nobody should be left worse off as a result of an injury they’ve suffered that was someone else’s fault. Matters today are thankfully settled through the courts instead of lopping off heads!
Nowadays that would be done by, as the injured party, you engage a lawyer to act on your behalf, on a no win no fee agreement (CFA) to take action against the person who injured you through their insurance company.
In practice, this means that if you can prove your case, then your physical and financial states should be restored as closely as possible to the way they were before the accident happened.
It’s a principle that we at Browell Smith & Co firmly believe in, and which we attempt to uphold in every personal injury case we take on.
Justice for personal injury victims
At Browell Smith & Co we strive for justice for people who deserve it.
The types of clients we deal with at Browell Smith & Co are very varied, and from all walks of life, but can include:
- elderly people who have suffered in care homes
- people whose lives have been altered as a result of medical mistakes
- people who were exposed to asbestos or other noxious substances and sustained injury where the means of protection were absent or inadequate
- those who have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t their fault, whether as driver or passenger
This is not an exhaustive list.
Regardless of the circumstances of their injury, in each and every case, Claimants deserve the best possible legal representation; deserve to be compensated for any financial loss, and deserve physical rehabilitation and therapy needed to continue living their life as fully as possible after their injury wherever appropriate.
If the injured party was a member of your family or loved one, you’d certainly want to see them represented by the very best legal service available.
Well that will not happen for much longer if you are seeking redress for injuries sustained for pain and suffering for whiplash injuries lasting up to 2 years. The Government is proposing a tariff for such injuries, at well below the value of claims where the Claimant is represented by their own solicitor. Further disadvantaging the Claimant in claims valued up to £5000 a Claimant will no longer be able to recover any legal fees if they win!
This is a victory of the Insurers over the honest Claimant if it is finalised in its current form. The Insurers promised to the Government that premiums for Motor Vehicles would fall if this was agreed. The Government agreed, yet no significant reduction in premiums is likely to occur. As you will have seen, the only thing that improves is the level of profit made by the various insurers.
The Insurers have made great play of the prevalence of fraudulent claims being one of the root causes of rising insurance premium. However this is a concept that has been ‘spun’ vigorously by the Insurers.
There is a lot of scepticism around the personal injury sector, because there is a perception that thousands of people are making fraudulent claims, either by faking and/or exaggerating their injuries, this is simply not the case. The number of fraudulent claims made is small.
Making fraudulent claims by exaggerating injuries, or by engineering a completely false situation, and claiming they had been injured is rightly a criminal offence and people who attempt this should not be grouped in with the innocent victims of negligence.
If I claim am I contributing to the compensation culture?
If you have been injured through someone else’s negligence, then you deserve to be compensated to try and put you in the same position you were before the injury took place.
You should not be put off by the talk of undeserving claimants. That is often a mechanism of the Insurers and those who support them in trying to defray the costs of compensation. After all that is why the insurance was taken out in the first place for just such an eventuality.
How to claim responsibly
There are two things you can do to get your legal claim for compensation off to the best start:
- Find a lawyer you trust – one with a good reputation and a proven track record of winning cases like yours. There are hard-working personal injury law firms in your region who can help. Of course, if you live in the North East, then we at Browell Smith & Co would be delighted to hear from you.
- When calling or meeting your lawyer have all the relevant details available to you. Don’t exaggerate your injuries but be full in terms of your understanding of how you have been affected not just physically but mentally; be honest at all times. If you feel that any third party is encouraging you to exaggerate, then ignore them to lie or exaggerate could lead to a finding of ‘fundamental dishonesty’ and you may not just lose your claim but have to pay the other side’s costs.
Contact our expert team today to arrange a no-obligation chat at any of our offices, in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively by 0191 691 3415, to discuss your particular requirements.
- Making a personal injury claim
- Road traffic accident claims
- Accidents at work
- Frequently asked questions about personal injury claims
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