To successfully pursue a claim for personal injury you must prove that there has been a breach of duty which has caused actionable personal damage. Broken down, you must prove the following;
- Negligence (breach of duty)
The Claimant must prove that the Defendant’s act or omission resulted in a breach of duty i.e. did the driver fail to drive with due care and attention, or was the employer in breach of statutory duty such as failing to adhere to health and safety regulations or did the doctor negligently misdiagnose the patient’s condition? etc
A Defendant may admit negligence however, that does not guarantee a successful claim. Negligence is only one part of the jigsaw. You must also prove that the negligence caused an injury.
Before any action for personal injury can succeed and even if negligence has been proven, the Claimant must show that the damage he alleges he has suffered was caused by the Defendant’s breach of duty. Failure to do so will result in the claim failing.
If a Claimant, having no pre-existing injuries is involved in a road traffic accident and sustains a whiplash injury to the neck, it is more likely than not that the accident caused the injury. Causation in this instance is therefore likely to be relatively easy to prove.
If, however, the Claimant had a pre-existing neck injury or after the accident was involved in another accident, then proving that the first accident caused the neck injury will become more difficult.
In order to prove medical causation (and quantum), an independent medical report will be required.
Once negligence and causation are proven, the Claimant must then prove that the injuries attract an award of compensation and what the value of that compensation should be.
The medical report serves two purposes, firstly it details the mechanics of the accident circumstances and the injuries sustained as a result (in support of negligence and causation) and secondly it allows the claim to be quantified (valued). When liability and causation have been established, the claim will then be valued.
When valuing a personal injury claim, a solicitor will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury cases. Relevant Case Law will also be considered. Such relevant case law will depend on facts such as, similar injuries sustained and similar age of the Claimant injured in a similar accident
If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties to settle the Claimant’s claim, it will proceed to a final court hearing. The guidelines and case law would then be considered by a Judge.
If you have been involved in an accident or have suffered a work related illness or disease in the last three years and you would like advice about bringing a claim against the person/company responsible, then please contact a member of our Litigation Team on 01388 604691.