There are a number of factors affecting the likelihood of the accident claims’ success.
- Timescale. It is unlikely that a solicitor will be willing to deal with the case if the incident occurred more than three years ago. The limitation period for most personal injury claims is three years and if the case is not settled or proceedings have not been issued in a court of law prior to that time then the matter becomes statute barred. There are exceptions to this rule. The most important one being that time does not begin to run until a person reaches the age of 18 years. There are other exceptions and accident claim advice should always be sought in regards to matters relating to limitation.
- Injuries. The doctor who originally treated the injury will hold medical details, which are of paramount importance when making a claim. The solicitor will use this record as evidence of the type and cause of the injury and if necessary will obtain another specialist’s medical opinion as the case proceeds. It is therefore extremely important that medical advice is obtained as soon as possible after any accident either from a General Practitioner or from the local hospital Accident and Emergency department.
- The Police. A specialist accident claims advice solicitor will liaise with any police officers who witnessed the accident or the occurrences shortly after the accident and will usually obtain a copy of the police accident report which will be made available as soon as any relevant criminal prosecutions are completed. A policeman may be called to give evidence in any civil court case for damages if necessary.
- Witnesses: Sometimes there are witnesses and it helps if their statements are collected immediately. Witness statements greatly support the claimant’s case. However, these statements should never be obtained personally by the injured person. A solicitor or a private inquiry agent employed on the client’s behalf will usually obtain signed statements which will verify the client’s version of events.
- Evidence. The more evidence and information gathered, the greater the success rate. Clients are recommended to take detailed photographs of the location and any injuries. A daily diary charting the recovery from injury is also useful in assessing any compensation payable for pain and suffering. This should include any entries on what kind of activities you can no longer enjoy, or how the pain intrudes on your ability to enjoy a ‘quality” life. All receipts for expenses incurred should be carefully kept and filed (be sure to make photocopies).