How Your Local Lawyer Can Help With A Personal Injury Claim

Suffering from a personal injury due to the negligence of an individual, business or local body can be life-changing in some cases.  However, even seemingly minor injuries can result in months of rehabilitation and lost income.  That is why claiming for compensation is crucial – taking such an action can ensure you and your family stay financially afloat while you recover.

There are many different qualities to look for when choosing a personal injury lawyer.  At Bennet Griffin, we have a dedicated personal injury law team that have an in-depth understanding of the law needed to ensure a successful compensation claim.

The requirements for bringing a compensation claim for personal injury

To bring a compensation claim for a personal injury, your solicitor will need to prove the following on the balance of probabilities:

  1. The defendant owed you a duty of care,
  2. they breached this duty, and
  3. their breach caused you to suffer a personal injury.

This may sound simple, but the law of negligence can be highly complex.

The decision of JT v Hard Rock Café (Edinburgh ) 2015 illustrates this.

On 17 June 1998, the claimant was using the creche facility at the premises of the defendant and was therefore under their care. The claimant was placed in a highchair to eat his lunch. After he had finished his lunch, a member of the nursery staff came to take him out of the highchair. She unclipped the safety belt and the tray which was attached to the highchair. As she did so, she heard a cry from another child. As she turned to see who was crying, the claimant pushed the tray forwards, which caused both him and the tray to fall to the floor. The claimant landed face down on the tray and caught the left side of his chin on a ridge on the tray.

As a result of the fall, the claimant was taken to hospital following the accident where the laceration was treated with ‘steri-strips’ and a dressing.  He was left with a permanent scar measuring 4.5cm x 4mm which was pink in colour.

Although the claimant was unaware of the scar when he was younger, when he reached teenage years, he began to feel self-conscious, and he started to feel uncomfortable in social situations.  He gradually began to suffer from feelings of anxiety, depression, and loss of confidence.  He felt negatively judged when meeting new people.

The claimant brought an action against the defendant, alleging that it was negligent in (i) failing to keep him safe and free from harm whilst in its care; (ii) failing to take any or any adequate care for his safety; (iii) exposing him to a foreseeable danger and risk of injury; and further, was in breach of its statutory duty under the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957 in failing to keep him safe and free from harm.

The solicitor, in this case, had to put forward a robust argument in the claimant’s favour as the defendant denied liability for the accident.  Ultimately, the claimant was successful and was awarded £10,529.

How a personal injury solicitor can prove negligence

Personal injury solicitors use a variety of methods to prove negligence.  These can include:

  • talking with the victim to find out the exact details of how their personal injury occurred
  • acquiring expert evidence
  • examining police and Health and Safety Executive reports (in the case of workplace and motor vehicle injuries)
  • visiting the scene of the incident to collect evidence (for example, photographing a pothole on the pavement where the victim tripped)

What happens once negligence has been established?

Once negligence has been established, and liability admitted, it is then necessary to value the injury sustained in the accident and the losses an individual has suffered because of the accident (such as loss of earnings) or may suffer in the future (such as future care needs).

Personal injury solicitors will look to obtain independent medical evidence which will detail the injuries suffered and provide a prognosis. In some more complex claims involving multiple injuries several reports will be required from experts of different specialisms.

Can I choose my solicitor?

Following a road traffic accident people will often be approached by either their insurance company or a claims management company offering to bring a personal injury claim for them. Many people feel pressured into using their insurance company’s solicitor for their claim and many more people don’t realise that you do not have to use their solicitors – you are entitled to choose your own.

By choosing your own solicitor you can ensure you are dealing with someone qualified and experienced, someone you can contact easily and can see if you need to and ultimately someone you feel comfortable with as they take you through the stages of making a claim.

In summary

Proving negligence in a personal injury claim requires the expertise of an experienced, highly-qualified solicitor who has a deep understanding of negligence and personal injury law.  It is therefore worth taking the time to carefully evaluate several personal injury solicitors to find the right team for you who havethe skills and experience to successfully obtain the right  compensation award for you.

Bennett Griffin are award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex with offices in central Worthing and Ferring and our Personal Injury team are proud to have been listed in the Legal 500 in 2016 and 2017.  Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered and practical manner.  If you require  advice in relation to a personal injury claim, please contact us on 01903 229 926 or by email at aek@bennett-griffin.co.uk for more information.

The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.