Suffering an injury can be an emotional and stressful time and over three million of us are involved in accidents at home, in cars and at work every year. Depending on the severity of your injury, it can impact many areas of your life. However, if you believe that you received your injury as a result of negligence by a third party, accident victims have a right to compensation and could be in a position to make a personal injury claim against those they believe are responsible.
While personal injury law isn’t straightforward, seeking the assistance of a personal injury solicitor can make the process of making a claim much more manageable. They can also help you judge how much you might be able to claim in compensation.
Even so, before submitting a claim, there are several important factors that need to be established first. These elements will help determine how strong your case is and what the likelihood of winning a personal injury claim might be. They include:
Duty – In English tort law an individual may owe a duty of care to another to ensure they do not suffer unreasonable harm or loss. Most personal injury claims follow a breach of this duty. A relationship or proximity must be established between the defendant and the claimant, and that there is an obligation upon the defendant to take proper care to avoid causing injury to the claimant. Familiar, recognised situations when a duty of care is recognised include between one road user and another, employer and employee, doctor to patient or manufacturer to consumer.
Breach – The next step is to establish how the defendant breached their duty of care. This often takes the form of negligence, where a person has failed to do something that a ‘reasonable person’ should do (defined as an “ordinary, prudent person who normally exercises due care while avoiding extremes of both audacity and caution”), or if the defendant has done something that a reasonable person would not have done.
An injury could also be the result of a breach of statutory duty. For example, a road user who has not complied with the Highway Code, or a company which has neglected health and safety regulations.
Causation – In order to demonstrate causation, a claimant must establish a direct link between the injury that they have suffered and the defendant’s breach of care. It must also be established that is was reasonably foreseeable at the relevant time that the defendant’s behaviour would cause damage of that type.
Damages – The final important element requires a factual link between what the defendant did or failed to do and the claimant’s injuries. Most commonly, this will take the form of a physical injury however, depending on the circumstances, emotional injury can fall under this type of claim too.
Once you have established that these elements are in place and how likely your case is to succeed, you will be able to take the process forward. Your solicitor will explain the legal processes involved, and how you can fund your case.