Personal injury is any injury or illness suffered by an individual that was the fault of another person, for example a driver in a road traffic accident, or company. It has a wide definition that covers both physical and psychological injury or illness, such as broken bones, occupational diseases, stress, depression or psychiatric trauma.
A very severe injury is known as a serious or catastrophic injury. These are injuries caused to the brain, spinal cord or skull, or injury causing amputation, that have a long term impact and require the injured individual to have specialist care and support.
Injury or illness suffered because of a mistake or omission made by a healthcare professional or at a hospital is called medical negligence. This is a special kind of personal injury that can raise particularly complex legal issues. Injuries that are the result of medical negligence cover situations such as being prescribed an incorrect dose of medicine or an error being made during surgery. It may also arise when a healthcare professional fails to give adequate advice on treatment options or negligently fails to diagnose an illness.
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Who Can Make a Personal Injury Claim?
In most cases, the person who has suffered the injury must make the claim themselves. This involves contacting a specialist personal injury solicitor who can judge whether there is a chance the claim will succeed, provide guidance through the process and advise on the amount of compensation that can be claimed.
In some cases, someone will have to make the claim on the injured person’s behalf, again with the assistance of an expert personal injury lawyer. The most common reason another person will have to bring the claim is because the injured person lacks capacity. If an individual lacks capacity it means they are unable to sue or be sued and cannot, therefore, be a party to court proceedings.
Children do not have capacity under Scots law because of their age. A parent or guardian acting in an injured child’s interests would need to bring a compensation claim on their behalf. Individuals suffering severe mental health issues may also lack capacity. In this situation, a personal injury claim could only be brought by a family member or close friend acting in the injured party’s best interests.
Relatives of an individual who dies from an injury or illness can also make a claim. Fatal accident claims for damages can be made by family members when the wrongful death of a relative is caused by personal injury. Relatives can claim damages for loss of patrimonial (financial) support, as well as for non-patrimonial support. Damages for non-patrimonial support seek to compensate for the distress and anxiety endured by relatives in contemplating their loved one’s suffering prior to death, grief and sorrow caused by the death and the loss of the deceased’s society and guidance.
When Can a Compensation Claim Be Made?
There is a strict time limit on when a claim for compensation can be made. In Scotland, a personal injury claim must be brought within three years of the accident causing the injury, or three years from the date when there was knowledge of an illness. For children, the three year time limit starts from the moment they reach the age of 16. This period is called the triennium or the limitation period. Once the triennium has expired, it is no longer possible to claim compensation for personal injury (the action is time-barred). It is therefore vitally important to seek advice from a legal professional as soon as possible.
In some exceptional cases, the court may allow a claim for compensation to be made out of time (after the expiry of the triennium). The claim will only be allowed to proceed if the court thinks the particular facts justify an exercise of its equitable discretion under the Prescription and Limitation Scotland Act 1973. This means the court will balance the degree of prejudice that either party may suffer should the claim be allowed, or not allowed, to proceed. Asking the court to exercise its equitable discretion is a complex matter. If you are late bringing a compensation claim, but feel your circumstances justify the delay, it is essential to get legal advice and assistance from an expert personal injury solicitor.
How Do I Claim Compensation?
To make an accident claim in Scotland that has the greatest chance of success and avoids the stress of navigating the complexity of personal injury law, it is essential to contact an expert personal injury solicitor. A solicitor will determine whether the claim is legally justified and not time-barred, and then use their knowledge and expertise of the legal system to protect your interests.
A solicitor will write to the person or company responsible for the accident that caused the injury on their client’s behalf. The person or company that are being held responsible will then have the opportunity to either accept or deny liability. If they accept liability, then the solicitor will negotiate with them to come to a settlement whereby compensation is offered. If they do not accept liability or do not offer a fair amount of compensation, it may be necessary to start legal proceedings.
In recent years, claims management companies have been a popular choice for making personal injury claims because their services are usually offered on a ‘no win, no fee’basis. However, these companies are often staffed by claims assessors who aren’t legally qualified. This means they lack the expertise needed for making complex personal injury claims and ensuring the maximum amount of compensation is awarded. Also, there can be hidden charges in their funding arrangements that mean clients don’t keep all the compensation they are awarded.
It is vital to have quality legal representation when making a personal injury claim. Our firm has been specialising in personal injuries work for years and have experience in many different fields of personal injury law. One of our expert solicitors will take responsibility for your case, providing reliable and necessary advice, support and assistance. We have the knowledge and expertise that ensures our clients receive the best legal representation, achieve the best outcome and keep 100% of their compensation. Find out how much you can claim for personal injury in Scotland here.
Contact our Personal Injury Solicitors Scotland
We are personal injury experts who help clients claim compensation in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Fife and throughout Scotland. Call us on Contact us today on 08082789437