Compensations claims after a fall are usually known as a personal injury claims. There are a number of ways to claim compensation and in most cases legal advice should be taken.
Definitions of Personal Injury
There are many types of personal injury for which a person can claim compensation. One of the more common types of fall will usually be caused by slipping or tripping on cracked or worn paving stones. But falls can also occur on wet floors in shopping stores or injuries in traffic accidents. Older people are specifically vulnerable if a fall occurs, and broken bones can mean operations and many months of recuperation. A successful compensation claim is never a foregone conclusion no matter what the compensation companies claim.
Taking Action After a Fall or Trip
The first task to be undertaken after a fall should be reporting the matter to a doctor, and the police in the case of road accidents. Anyone who has suffered a fall should visit a doctor even if the injury seems minor. If the case does go to court a doctor’s report can be used as evidence. If possible other evidence should be collected as soon as possible after the fall has occurred. This evidence should include witness’s names and addresses, photographic evidence of where the fall happened and what caused the fall.
Making a Compensation Claim Through a Claims Assessor
There are numerous claims assessors advertised over the internet, sometimes known as claims managers. Many will offer a ‘no win, no fee’ service. Claims assessors are not usually solicitors and will not be able to fight compensation claims in the court. Claims assessors will usually receive a percentage of awarded compensation; this could be as much as 50%. If a claims assessor is the chosen course of action always check that they are authorised by the government.
Using a Solicitor to Take Legal Action
If the victim of a fall is considering legal action then representation by a solicitor will be required. Advice from a solicitor should be made quickly after the fall has occurred as there are time limits on submitting claims. Personal injury claims for negligence can however be issued up to three years after the injury was sustained. A solicitor will be able to advise on the time limits for specific personal injury claims.
Paying the Costs of a Solicitor
Solicitors are expensive but legal aid may be available under certain circumstances. Some solicitors will also offer a ‘no win, no fee’ service; this is known as a conditional fee agreement. If the compensation claim does go to court and the outcome is unsuccessful it could mean that the claimant will be required to pay the opposition’s legal fees. In certain cases personal insurance policies may be used for legal expenses. Solicitors will be able to give advice on the likelihood of a successful compensation claim.
Claiming Compensation Over a Fall from a Council
Local authorities such as councils are notoriously reluctant to pay compensation. The person claiming compensation will need to prove that the council has been negligent or has failed in its statutory duty. Excuses given by council insurers have included that no one has reported a previous fall in a place reported by the fall victim. Councils should have online compensation claim forms available for download. Legal advice is strongly recommended if compensation is sought from a council.
Types of Compensation Available
There are two different types of compensation available that can be claimed for. General damages may be paid if an injury has occurred and the compensation is for loss of future earnings, pain and suffering. The court will be the one who decides how much compensation is to be given. Special damages compensation can be awarded for financial loss up to when the court hearing takes place. Special damages can include medical expenses and private treatment, costs of care and travel costs to a hospital. Special damages can also be awarded for belongings, clothes and the cost of repairing a vehicle in traffic accidents.
A compensation claim over a fall can be a long drawn out process. It can also be a costly process if the claim is unsuccessful and the claimant has to pay legal costs. Legal advice should always be taken before making any type of compensation claim.