Accident ClaimsAn accident claim will only be viable under certain circumstances. Aside from the obvious fact that the claimant actually needs to have had an accident, it needs to be reasonably significant because a trivial injury, such a bruise, sprain or minor cut just won't be worth pursuing. Whether physical or psychological, the injury caused by the accident needs to have resulted in sufficient pain or suffering, or to have prevented the person from working and so resulted in loss of income in order that compensation can be claimed. There may also be compensation for additional expenditure, such as medical bills or the need for special equipment to manage the injury.
The other important factor is that the accident must have been caused by someone who has been negligent in their actions. This means you have someone against whom you can claim. Certain people have specific responsibilities and standards that they are expected to uphold. This includes taxi drivers and restaurant operators who have a duty of care towards you while you are a customer. If an accident results from their failure to maintain that duty of care at a proper level, you will have a claim should you sustain a serious injury or illness.
The case will be won or lost on you being able to prove the accident was caused by the defendant and also being able to demonstrate the extent and consequences of the injuries you have sustained. To prove the former, it's as well to have as many witnesses as possible who will attest to what happened. Getting witness statements at the time of the accident is a good idea because the details are more likely to be fresh in the minds of the witnesses. Over time, memories fade and details become less clear, leading to conflicting statements from witnesses that will hinder rather than help your claim. The prevalence of mobile phones may be an advantage because someone may just have a picture of the event.
Providing evidence of the extent of your injuries may be down to a doctor or other medical practitioner. Photographs are good, preferably while the injuries are still "fresh" (if you'll pardon the bluntness) i.e. have not already started to heal. Loss of income can usually be proved by information provided by your employer or accountant.
The aim is to build up as much evidence as possible to support your accident claim. The more there is, the better the chance that your claim will succeed. It also gives more likelihood of the claim being progressed on a 'no win, no fee' basis, which means you have no risk of incurring a high level of unexpected costs.
Here are some organisations relating to claiming in the UK:
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