How many times have you heard someone say the words, “accidents happen”? You’ve probably uttered these very words yourself, many times. While it’s true that accidents can and will happen from time to time, it’s also true that if you’ve suffered a serious injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you may be entitled to compensation to aid your recovery.
In UK legal jargon, a personal injury means physical or psychological harm to a person, rather than to property. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, whether at work or in a public place, then you may be entitled to bring a compensation claim, provided the following three points can be proven:
- Another party owed you a duty of care;
- That party neglected to fulfil its obligations; and
- Your injury took place within the last three years.
In the case of children, the three-year condition does not apply. Instead, another person may start a claim on behalf of a minor – usually a parent, guardian, or litigation friend – up until the minor’s 18th birthday. Alternatively, a minor can start a claim for themselves at any time before they turn 21 years old.
According to data recorded by the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) for England, Scotland, and Wales, 99% of personal injury claims made between 2021-22, fell into one of four categories:
- Motor Accidents – 76.8%
- Public Liability Accidents – 10.4%
- Employer Accidents – 8.7%
- Clinical Negligence – 3.1%
While the impacts of an accident can be life-changing, legal procedures are in place to help you obtain fair and reasonable compensation to help you or a loved one to recover your losses. Personal injury solicitors can guide you through the process, often on a no-win, no-fee basis.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of personal injury claims in more detail.
Compensation claims can be made if you were involved in a car or road traffic accident, whether you were the driver or a passenger, or another road-user such as a cyclist, e-scooter rider, motorcyclist, horse rider, or pedestrian. The crux of the case will be in proving that the defendant was negligent.
Road traffic accidents can often arise from:
- Breaking the speed limit;
- Failing to indicate;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Failing to properly check mirrors when reversing or changing lanes; or
Even if you think you were partially at fault (for example, if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt), you may still be eligible to make a compensation claim. Seek specialist legal advice to discuss the circumstances of your accident to find out if you may be able to start a case.
Medical professionals are trusted individuals, who we expect to deliver a high standard of care. Even so, mistakes can happen, which can leave us worse off than before we sought treatment.
Medical negligence, or clinical negligence, is a broad term that covers accidents and mistakes within the healthcare system, both private and NHS. It also describes incidents of poor care given by medical staff. It doesn’t matter whether treatment was administered in a hospital, health centre, or at home, if negligence has taken place and left you physically or psychologically injured, then a medical negligence claim may be made.
The most common types of medical negligence include:
- Misdiagnosis – where a patient’s condition is either wrongly diagnosed or it takes a considerable period of time for medical staff to reach the correct diagnosis. This may lead to the wrong treatment or an unacceptable delay before appropriate treatment begins.
- Prescribing or Treatment Errors – if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, an incorrect dose, or fails to take into account the patient’s allergies, the outcome can be catastrophic. Errors could also be made by the dispensing pharmacist, such as mixing up patient prescriptions or mistakes made when labelling medications. Not only can these types of errors lead to the patient falling more ill, but in the worst-case scenario, it may even lead to death.
- Surgery Errors – where a mistake is made while the patient is on the operating table, such as an operation that’s performed on the wrong body part, accidental nerve damage or injury to another organ, or leaving a foreign object inside the patient’s body. Needless to say, the consequences of a surgical error can be dire.
- Childbirth Errors – having a baby is usually a joyous occasion, but a medical mistake before, during, or after childbirth, can impact both mother and infant. Birthing negligence claims are commonly made to seek compensation for the failure to appropriately identify or manage birth defects, stillbirth, or intervention mistakes, such as erroneous use of forceps.
Medical negligence claims can be complex and overwhelming, often deterring people from starting a claim. At an already difficult and stressful time, engaging expert medical negligence solicitors to handle the legal proceedings can give you peace of mind that the right steps are being followed and relevant evidence gathered.
Accidents at Work
Across all UK industries and sectors, employers are required to protect the health and safety of their staff. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets regulations to govern workplace health, safety, and welfare and has the power to enforce these regulations. At the heart of the regulations is the premise that employers must regularly risk assess workplace health and safety and implement measures to limit or avoid risks to employees, customers, and visitors.
Accidents cannot be 100% avoided, but if an injury was caused by your employer’s negligence then you may be entitled to make an accident at work claim. Some common examples where an employer may be found to have been negligent include failing to:
- Properly secure electrical cables or flooring;
- Implement adequate health and safety procedures or training, including manual handling procedures;
- Properly label hazardous materials;
- Repair equipment or machinery; or
- Provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Slips & Trips
In addition to taking place in the workplace, slips, trips, or falls may also occur in public places, and as a result, they may be the fault of a third party, such as a restaurant, shopping centre, or car park. In this circumstance, a public liability claim may be initiated.
Under the HSE’s regulations, businesses are required to put in place reasonable health and safety measures to protect visitors to their premises, in addition to their own employees. Slips or trips over uneven or slippery flooring are the most common type of public liability claim, but additionally, you may consider raising a compensation claim for:
- Injuries caused by animals;
- Food poisoning;
- Injuries caused by unsafe machinery; or
- Back or neck injuries caused by falling objects.
Contact Waldrons Solicitors
Making a compensation claim may be daunting, but seeking damages for a serious personal injury can provide you or your loved one with the financial security to cope. If something has gone wrong, through no fault of your own – be it a car accident, medical mistake, or workplace accident – we can help. Get in touch with our team of personal injury solicitors, who have a wealth of experience in helping clients to recover a fair settlement.
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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Joseph Norton who is an Associate Director and Head of Compensation