I’ve been asked recently by a friend of Sals what makes a good claim for personal injury compensation and I thought that’d be obvious to most people but realized that it’s probably not as clear cut as I thought.
The key thing, when trying to claim compensation for a personal injury is evidence. It’s very easy to appoint a lawyer or solicitor, explain your situation and then put in a claim and then to get turned away because you’ve got no evidence of anything ever happening. That’s not to say it didn’t happen but any lawyer or company dealing with your claim will want evidence before paying anything out.
It’s always difficult to try and discipline yourself at the time of an accident as you’re likely to be in pain and worried about damage to you and your property but any evidence you can gather at the time of the incident helps. So what evidence is good evidence?
Photographs of the location of the accident
If you’re able to then get a photo of the scene of the accident with everything as it is after the accident. This will show the position of items after the accident for investigators to show where things ended up. If you’re not able to take a photo at the time then go back as soon as you can and photograph the scene so that you can explain what happened. In the case of a workplace accident make a note of anything you believe has changed since the accident.
Photographs need to be clear and in context. There’s no point showing a pothole in the road if that’s all you can see, take a second photo from distance and highlight the pothole. The same is true in road traffic accidents. If you take a photo of the damage to the back of your car then take a second one further back from the scene that shows your car and the other offending vehicle (try to include number plates in the photo too).
Photograph your injuries
This can be a key document to use as evidence. Try to get photographs at the time and then more photographs over time to show how the injury has changed as the days and weeks go on.
If the police attended the scene then ask for a copy of their report. It’ll contain independent and unbiased information on what happened. If you attended the doctors or the hospital then your medical records can be used as evidence including any x-rays showing your injuries at the time you visited.
If anyone saw what happened at the time of your accident then ask them for their details (name and telephone number is probably enough at the time). If you’re thinking of making a claim for compensation then ask them to write down what they saw, don’t try to influence them but ask them to state what they saw and if possible plot their position on a diagram of the scene.
If it’s a road traffic accident then show where their car was in relation to yours or for a work place accident draw a plan and show where they were placed in relation to you.
Those are the pieces of evidence I would be looking at before taking on a case, but what else? If you’re going to keep a diary I’d recommend you record:
- What happened leading up to the accident (time of day, road conditions and weather conditions in the case of road accidents or what task you were doing in the event of a workplace accident)
- What happened after the accident. Who did you speak to and when, who helped you and when? If you’ve needed help in the time after an accident then how long for? Who helped? When did they help you?
Other things I’d want to see to make a full claim would include any letters you receive from the other party (these should always be kept), any dash-cam recordings, any admissions of guilt and any expenses. Out of pocket expenses should be recorded and receipts provided as these are a key part of any claim. Medical costs, traveling costs and other peoples costs as well.
G Macs final thought
I know it’s not the first thing you’ll think of when you have an accident but I’ll say it again, “evidence is king” and if you can gather as much as possible at the time the accident happens then you’ll make your claim easier for your lawyer and they will be able to obtain the best possible amount of compensation.
At the end of the day if someone has done something wrong to you then it’s right that you should be compensated.