When is an accident a claim?
Sep 8, 2023
‘Something bad that happens that is not expected or intended and that often damages something or injures someone.’
That’s one dictionary definition of ‘accident’. From the everyday to the catastrophic, an accident can happen anywhere and at any time. But not every accident makes a successful personal injury claim. There are some key aspects that need to be in place.
Someone else must be at fault (and must have breached their duty of care towards you). That could be a person who crashed their car into yours, or a business or other organisation that operated a hazardous environment. There are a great many possible causes of injury. If you are bringing a claim, you will need to prove that blame lies with another named person or legal entity.
Sometimes the victim of an accident will be partly responsible for what happened. Perhaps a pedestrian hit by a car would be judged to have contributed to the accident by stepping off the pavement, for example. It’s quite common for someone defending a claim to allege ‘contributory fault’, and where that’s proved, any compensation awarded may be reduced by a percentage that reflects the victim’s part in what happened.
Arguments about who is to blame, and to what extent, can get quite complicated. Evidence, such as CCTV footage, accident report forms and witness accounts, is vital, so the more you can pull together in support of your case, the better.
Injury and loss
You must have suffered some sort of injury. This may seem obvious but suffering a ‘loss’ is a key element of a personal injury claim. In a successful claim, compensation will be based on the extent of your injury and other connected losses (wages, physio costs, home adaptations, for example).
It won’t be enough to show that an accident happened and that you were injured. There must be a direct link between the action/inaction of the party you say was to blame and the injury you suffered. Their negligence must have caused your loss(es). Some claims fail on the basis that, while an accident and injury clearly happened, causation hasn’t been established.
In all but the most clear-cut personal injury cases, there are arguments around each of these elements, that shouldn’t deter you from pursuing a claim. As specialists, we’re able to give you good advice on the strength of your case and the likely outcome so that you can decide if it’s something you’d like to take further. The key is to speak to us as soon as you can; there is usually a strict three-year timeframe for bringing a personal injury claim, so it’s important not to delay.
For advice about your potential claim, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01264 353411.
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