Personal injury cases – How to determine the chances of success?
When it comes to personal injury cases, how can you determine their chances of success? Below are our top five factors that could have a significant bearing on the outcome of your case.
From the outset, it’s important to acknowledge that the definition of 'success' may differ depending on your circumstances. In some cases, it's getting justice for an accident that was not your fault. Sometimes it's about getting back to how you before the accident. When injuries are life changing, success if often measured by securing sufficient compensation to afford the care and support for the best possible quality of life in the future.
1. Contact a solicitor quickly - As soon as practically possible, contact an experienced personal injury solicitor with expertise in the particular type of injury or type of accident that has occurred. This is the most straightforward way of receiving early guidance and a view on the merits of the claim. Most solicitors will be able to give an early indication of the prospects of succeeding on liability.
2. Establishing liability - Accidents can occur in a variety of situations such as: road traffic collisions, at work, during a holiday, due to historic exposure to asbestos, and even as a result of an animal causing injury, for example, while out walking or riding. Often the first consideration in terms of 'success' is whether liability can be established. The assessment of liability usually involves consideration of the particular facts in the context of relevant regulations, HSE guidance, common law negligence, case law and particular legislation such as the Animals Act. The importance of preserving paperwork, photos, videos and other contemporaneous evidence cannot be overstated. These documents are often of great assistance in assessing liability and may inform an expert instructed to advise on liability.
3. Injury causation - Injuries can include: brain damage, spinal injury, amputation, polytrauma and orthopaedic injuries, mesothelioma, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome; and some injuries prove to be fatal. To succeed with a case, it is necessary to establish that the injuries were caused by the accident and would not have occurred in any event at some later stage. Inevitably evidence is required from medical experts and other professionals such as care and accommodation experts to assist the parties and the Court with determining the value of the case. Success for the injured claimant involves achieving the highest possible settlement and of course that is more likely where the experts are all specialists in the field rather than generalists. Success is also practically achieved by surrounding the injured person with a team of expert therapists and treatment providers to support them with maximising their recovery and optimising their quality of life.
4. Instructing specialist support - In most personal injury cases there will be a team of specialist legal advisors who understand the medicine in relation to the injury. Usually there will be a partner or solicitor who have a specialist team around them so that tasks are undertaken proportionately and progressed efficiently. Additionally, there will usually also be a barrister who will be instructed to advise on discrete issues, to draft documents for the Court and to be the Court advocate. In some cases, it can be appropriate to have a KC and a more junior barrister too. It's vitally important to instruct lawyers that you trust and who have the specialist expertise required to deal with the particular intricacies of each individual case.
5. Ask questions and get clarification - For most people, a personal injury claim is a once-in-a-lifetime event and not something they have experience or prior knowledge to call upon. There can be lots of unfamiliar medical and legal terminology. It’s important to ask questions to understand precisely what is happening. You should be regularly updated. When a key tactical decision needs to be made it should be made from a position of strength and being fully informed.
At RWK Goodman, we understand how traumatic and life-changing an injury can be, but we also understand how to regain your dignity and respect. We place a team around every client to ensure you get the support you deserve. For more information about how our team can help support you visit rwkgoodman.com/injury
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