How To Get Compensation After An Accident

in Court
Every year thousands of accidents occur that may have been prevented or could have been reduced in severity if appropriate steps had been taken. In most cases there are often a person or organisation which is at fault, who should have taken action to prevent the accident occurring.

By law, everyone has a duty to take care that their actions don't injure their neighbour and the legal definition of your 'neighbour' is any person who it is reasonably foreseeable might be affected by your actions. If someone doesn't take sufficient care to guard against injury to others, they breach this duty and will be classed as negligent.

Where an accident is caused by someone else's negligence, or where someone negligently fails to take appropriate steps to reduce the risk of an accident then they will be liable for any damage which results from the accident. This includes liability for any personal injury which is caused to a third party, and this may result in injured party being entitled to compensation.

However, not all accidents entitle the injured party to compensation and unless it can be shown that there has been negligence, or a breach of some rule or statutory duty, then no personal injury claim will exist.

Making a claim
Personal injury claims can be extremely complicated and as the value of most claims is over 5000, cases will be dealt with under the fast-track or multi-track procedure of the County Court or the High Court. Which means that the case could take months or sometimes years, to come to court, and trials are conducted with full legal formality. This can result in large legal bills on both sides of the case.

In an attempt to avoid unnecessary expense the rules of the Court require people making a claim for personal injury to follow a alternative dispute resolution process before they start legal proceedings. This involves the claimant obtaining a medical report detailing the extent of their injuries and providing the defendant with a copy, together with a letter of claim which sets out the circumstances of the accident and explains why the claimant believes that the defendant is responsible. The defendant is allowed a certain length of time to respond and to raise any queries or disputes, and can request that the claimant is examined by their own medical experts in order to obtain a second opinion on the extent of the injuries.

At this stage the parties may also enter into negotiations to try and reach an agreement on the appropriate amount of compensation without taking any further legal action. If the defendant makes an offer of compensation, the claimant must consider this.

If a claimant fails to follow this dispute resolution procedure, the Court has the power to penalise them for wasting court time with a claim that might have been resolved without legal action being needed. This means that even if the claimant wins his case, the court might order him to pay all of the court fees and to pay the losing side's solicitors' costs. This is particularly likely where the defendant has made an offer of settlement and the claimant has unreasonably rejected this but has failed to get more compensation at trial.

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Chris Gyles has 1 articles online

I am a legal writer covering advice on topics of law, for further text and similar works visit claim accident compensation or contact a solicitor today.

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How To Get Compensation After An Accident

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This article was published on 2011/02/24