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The Ultimate Guide To Making Work Accident Claims

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Despite comprehensive health and safety regulations, numerous reports indicate work accidents occur throughout the country more frequently than you think.

 Although legislation requires employers to create a safe and free from hazards environment, employees still suffer from personal injury and ill health, which are often caused by hazardous work conditions within a workplace. Suffering at the hands of someone else’s negligence can impact individuals and families greatly. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure you have the appropriate guidance in order to get the right compensation and protection you are entitled to.

 Individuals are often daunted by the thought of making a claim due to the inability to understand the process involved and therefore it is useful to know where to begin, what is involved in the claim process, how long it will take, how much it will cost as well as various other information.

Where to begin with your work accident claims

Contacting a solicitor who specializes in the area of accident claims and personal injury is the very first step to take when considering making a work accident claim.

Numbers of reports suggest that individuals who have suffered a personal injury or illness within their workplace are most likely placed under financial and emotional hardship. In some circumstances, depending on the extent of the injuries suffered, people are either under a pressure to make significant changes to their lifestyles and sometimes even professions or simply are unable to go back to work. A legal team with the right knowledge and experience will have a discussion with your about your accident and the circumstances surrounding it, asking a number of detailed questions in order to establish whether you have a valid personal injury claim.

This process aims to ensure that the solicitor has gathered all the necessary information to have a good understanding of your individual case. This then will allow them to present you with the possible options, inform you whether you will be able to claim compensation and how to begin the process.

What will your accident solicitor need to know?

 During your initial meeting with your solicitor, it will be necessary to establish a number of vital points to give the legal team a comprehensive understanding of your circumstances.

Due to the fact that there various types of injuries, you will need to provide your solicitor with information about what exactly happened and how the accident occurred. In addition to this, it is necessary to provide as much information in relation to the place of the accident and whether you have sustained any emotional injuries or financial loss.  

Your solicitor will ingather all necessary evidence to support your claim. This might include obtaining witness statements, photographs of the site where the accident occurred, copies of health and safety reports as well other potential sources that could strengthen your case. 

Compensations are very often determined on the type of injuries sustained, the severity of them and the impact they had on your life. The more information and evidence your solicitor has to support your claim, the better chance of obtaining the right compensation for you.

What is involved in a work accident claim process?

Individuals are often unsure about the process that is involved in making a claim. Once you have had an opportunity to explore your options and you know that you have a valid personal injury claim, the legal team will discuss your case in great depth. Gathering as much detail as possible will ensure that a solicitor is in a position to prove you have suffered from negligence in your workplace. A thorough examination of each individual case is necessary in order to establish the extent of your injuries, how they have impacted you and your family’s life as well as whether you have incurred any financial expenses due to the accident. Such process allows a solicitor to arrive at a conclusion of how much roughly your claim should be worth.

Prior to making any contact with the other party, your solicitor will discuss with your claim to ensure you are satisfied with it before proceeding further. Once the legal team has your approval, your solicitor will contact the third party to present your position.

Following this, there are then two possible scenarios. Upon reviewing your position, the third party will either accept that you have suffered injury as a result of their negligence and they will accept responsibility.  Alternatively, they might simply deny any responsibility for the accident.

If the former, this will allow your solicitor to negotiate with them on your behalf, working towards securing the best compensation for your injuries and expenses you may have incurred as a result of the accident. Your claim will then be settled and you will receive your compensation. If the latter, your solicitor will then begin court proceedings on your behalf, representing your case, establishing that you have suffered due to your employers’ negligence and thus ensuring you are compensated for your injuries.

How long will the process take?

It is difficult to determine how long it will take for your work accident claim to settle, as there are many factors that can affect the length of the process. Your solicitor will work in order to ensure you receive the best possible compensation for you in a timely manner.

Some claims can settle within months and other can even take up to a number of years. Each individual case is determined by various factors such as disputes over circumstances surrounding the accident or for instance the nature and seriousness of the injuries sustained. Disputes also occur about your claim and how much compensation each individual should receive. It is always best to take your time and be patient, allowing a solicitor to negotiate so that they can secure the best possible outcome.

Having analysed individual circumstances of injury, your solicitor will be in a position to provide you with more specific timeframes.

How much will it cost to make an accident claim?

Most law firms now offer the ‘no win no fee service’. This, therefore, means that you do not have to cover any outlays the firm incurs in relation to the working progress of your case if your solicitor is unable to secure compensation for you. If you are however awarded damages, the legal fees are mostly covered by a percentage of your compensation.

Legal fees are very often determined by the time each solicitor spends pursuing a claim and what their hourly rates are. In most circumstances, firms provide their claimants with Terms of Business, which specify what their hourly rates are or what percentage of your compensation they will keep.

Under the new Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) Scotland Act 2018, there are recommendations for solicitor fees. This consequently does provide potential claimants with clarity and transparency when making a personal injury claim.

The caps for solicitor fees indicate that fees should depend on the damages awarded and are as follows:

-up to 20% for the first £100,000

-up to 10% for the next £400,000

-up to 2.5% of damages over £500,000

The aim of the guidance above is to provide individuals with certainty and security that solicitor fees will not be excessive. Thus increasing access to justice for all.

How much will your accident claim be worth?

Each claim is different and therefore determining how much it will be worth all depends on individual circumstances. Generally, factors that affect the amount of compensation are the extent of injuries you have suffered, the cost you have incurred as a result of the accident as well the value of the losses occurring from your injuries.

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on the negotiations between your solicitor and the insurance companies. In circumstances where there are court proceedings, the court will exercise its discretion when establishing damages for the Pursuer.

Compensation for your injuries is normally awarded under four different categories.

  1. Individuals receive what is called a solatium. This is the compensation for the nature and the extent of pain you have suffered as a result of your injury
  2. Loss of income and in particular your wages
  3. The extent of assistance and help you required as a result of your injuries from your friends and family
  4. Any financial losses you may have encountered as a result of your injury. These vary depending on the type of injury suffered and therefore can include costs relating to any modification which had to be made to the household or even purchase of necessary equipment

Your solicitor will be in a position to provide an estimate of how much compensation you will receive once they have completed all of the necessary investigations.

 How will you receive your compensation?

In most cases, compensation is normally made in one and final settlement. It is not, however, uncommon to have interim payments.

An interim payment is generally available where an insurance company for the Defendant has agreed to commit to such arrangement or when court proceedings have begun and where it is very clear that there is a strong chance you will win the case. They aim to provide individuals with an opportunity to pursue a claim at court, without having the pressure to accept a lower compensation simply because you are not in a financial position to do so. Many reports indicate that insurance companies tend to prolong the settlement process in order to place pressure on Pursuers to accept lower offers. Therefore if it can be proved that the case has very good prospects of success, interim payments provide a sense of protection and security to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for each individual.

Such method of compensation assist individuals who are in financial difficulty due to the injury they have incurred. They are however only available in circumstances where the chances of success are very high. Solicitors are generally in a position to establish whether such payment method will be available for you.

Will I be liable for the defender’s costs?

 

Claimants are often forced to settle their claim without entering into court proceedings, as they cannot afford both litigation costs and as well as the risk of bearing the defender’s costs should their claim not be successful. Consequently, they agree to smaller compensation.

The new Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) Scotland Act 2018 provides a general rule protecting pursuers from having to take such high risks. The introduction of Qualified One-way Cost Shift allows individuals to enter into court proceedings for their injuries without any concerns about liability for the defender’s expenses should their case be unsuccessful. This approach will afford claimants an opportunity to secure higher and perhaps more prompt compensations. Insurance companies may present reasonable tender offers, focusing on presenting individuals with realistic damages in order to avoid court procedures. But most importantly, the options to either settle a claim at the stage of negotiations or pursue it at court will provide all claimants with comfort and an opportunity to secure better compensation for their work accident injuries.

Can you make an accident claim for someone else?

Generally speaking, the person who makes a claim has usually the ‘title to sue’. This is the person who has suffered from the injury and therefore they will benefit from the damages awarded.

There are however circumstances when an injured individual is not in a position to make a claim due to a number of reasons. For instance, they can either be too young to make the claim themselves, not have the mental capacity to do so or because they have tragically died in an accident.

In such situation, it is possible to have either an Executor or a ‘litigation friend’ act on their behalf. An Executor acts on behalf of the individual when a fatal injury has occurred whereas a litigation friend represents a young person or an individual with no mental capacity.

It is, therefore, possible to claim on someone else’s behalf and the damages awarded will belong to the individual who has suffered from the injury.

If you have suffered a personal injury due to an accident at work, you will need a team of personal injury solicitors you can trust to represent your case. Jones Whyte will guide you through the legal process, minimise the stress you are experiencing by ensuring the process is as smooth as possible. With solicitors undertaking in the highest quality of work and expertise in work accident claims, it is guaranteed the best possible result will be secured for you.

To speak to our legal team today about your claim, contact us on 0141 375 1222.

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