What is a Personal Injury?

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Personal injury is a legal term used to cover any claim relating to an injury to the body, mind or emotions, rather than damage or loss of personal property. Personal Injury as a term is usually used in connection with a type of tort lawsuit in which a claimant will allege that their injury has been caused by the negligence of another party.

Some incidents in which a personal injury can be caused and personal injury claims can be made are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping/slipping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases, vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases.

If an injured party can prove that they were injured as a result of the negligence of another party, the injured claimant may well be entitled to compensation from that party.  The system in the United Kingdom differs greatly from that within the United States.  The US system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of reform.  In the US, Attorneys often obtain settlement values that are far higher than those that can be obtained within the UK. This is because the US system has a 3rd element to the claim as the liable party not only has to pay compensation for the injuries suffered by the claimant, the special damages losses that they have incurred, but also a 3rd element which is a punitive charge (which is not the case in the UK) and this often make a significant impact on the value of any claim.

In the United Kingdom, the no win no fee system changed in April 2013 as a result of the LASPO act 2012.  This now means that personal injury solicitors must work on a revised Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee Basis).  Although the system has changed, claimants can rest assured that should they fail with their claim, the Solicitor still acts on the basis that the claimant will not pay a penny if the claim fails.

However, the new compliant system now means that should the claimant win, they are obliged to make a contribution from their settlement awarded towards their Solicitor’s legal fees.  This is set at a maximum of 25% of any award they receive and will be deducted from their settlement before they receive their personal injury compensation settlement.

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