Personal injuries claims

Q: What is a personal injury or negligence claim?
A: A personal injury or negligence claim is a claim in tort where the plaintiff is injured due to the defendant's negligence. Common types of claims include traffic accidents, medical malpractice, industrial accidents or slipping and falling in a restaurant. As the name suggests, the defendant must be at fault (i.e. negligent) in order to be held liable, for example, an accident caused by inadequate protection at a construction site, a driver's carelessness in driving that results in injury or death, or a company's failure to provide a safe working environment that results in injury to an employee. If you are not sure whether the other party has been negligent, you should consult your solicitor for an assessment.

Q: Is there a time limit for filing a negligence claim?
A: Generally speaking, a claim for negligence must be made within three years of the accident.

Q: How much compensation can I claim?
A: Depending on the circumstances of each case, you can generally claim for loss of earnings, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc. caused by the Defendant's negligence.

Q: My friend has also claimed for a fracture of his left wrist, will I get the same compensation as my friend?
A: The amount of compensation varies from case to case. Even if the injuries are the same, it is not possible to generalize as each injured person has a different income, age, living condition and the impact of the injury on his/her work and life. For example, if a clerk suffers an injury to his right hand, the impact of the injury on his work will be relatively small and the compensation will be relatively small. However, if the injury is sustained by a chef, it is very likely that he will not be able to work as a chef in the future, and since the impact of the injury on him is more significant, the compensation will be relatively larger. Therefore, you should engage a solicitor who is familiar with negligence claims to make a full assessment for you.

Q: Can I claim for psychiatric injury?
A: Yes, in fact, it is not uncommon that people may suffer from mental illness as a result of brain injuries caused by accidents, or many suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder after some tragic events. However, for a claim to be successful, the injured person has to provide proof (usually a psychiatrist's report) that he/she has actually suffered from mental injury, and not just temporary insomnia, distress or depression. The injured person must also prove that the psychiatric injury was caused by the Defendant's negligence.

Q: Is it necessary to go to trial in court?
A: No! In fact, most personal injury claims are settled out of court unless there is a substantial dispute in liability and/or damages. The Plaintiff and the Defendant can negotiate through their lawyers or engage a mediator to help them reach a settlement.

Q: What should I do if I have financial difficulties and cannot afford to hire a lawyer?
A: You can apply for legal aid or discuss with your lawyer. As most negligence claims are ultimately paid for by the defendant or his/her insurance company, you may wish to discuss with your solicitor to ask him/her to collect the solicitor's fees only at the conclusion of the case, or to reduce the solicitor's fee deposit. We can also assist you to apply for legal aid.

Q: What should I do if I am approached by many claims agents in the hospital?
A: Claims agents are not lawyers and are not required to comply with the Code of Practice. Some of these agents may even use illegal practices such as "no win, no fee" and "compensation sharing" to handle your case, which will ultimately reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to. In order to ensure that you receive reasonable compensation and protection, you should appoint a professional and credible solicitor to handle your claim through normal channels, or apply for legal aid or discuss with your solicitor if you have financial difficulties.

Q: What should I do if the injured child is under 18 years old?
A: The injured child can wait until he/she reaches the age of 18 before making a claim against the defendant, or a relative such as a parent can make a claim against the defendant on his/her behalf. To protect the interests of the child, the amount of compensation must be approved by the Court and must be kept in the Court until the child reaches the age of 18.

As everyone's situation is different and it is difficult to generalize, you should appoint a solicitor to handle your claim as soon as possible in order to protect your legal rights.