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A very important element in making sure your claim for personal injury compensation has the best possible chance of succeeding is to ensure that the details of the incident have been properly reported and recorded. Usually, this would include an entry in an accident book. If there isn’t one, don’t worry, as we can help – in this article we look at how to claim compensation if an accident book record of your injuries doesn’t exist.
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What is an accident book?
An accident book provides an employer, business or venue an official means of recording incidents and injuries. Anyone who has suffered a personal injury on their premises has the right to request that the details of their accident and injuries are reported and recorded. The details recorded in an accident book can prove to be extremely important when it comes to a solicitor winning a claim for injury compensation.
The two most common areas of personal injury claim where accident books play a big role are accidents at work and slipping claims, such as on a wet floor with a lack of hazard signs, in a supermarket, shop, restaurant or other similar venue. In most circumstances, staff members from such establishments will automatically make a record within an accident book if someone is injured. However, you should do all you can to make sure that this has happened, as if it has not, the strength of your claim for personal injury compensation could be weakened.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t claim without an accident book entry. A strong record in an accident book is just one of the many key bits of evidence that can help any personal injury compensation claim reach a successful outcome, and you can often find other means of proving what happened.
Proof of liability
Records of the details of an accident, what caused it, what injuries have been sustained and what treatment or advice has been given at the site of the accident support a claim for personal injury compensation. An accident book record provides proof that an accident happened in a certain location and in a certain way, which in turn helps a specialist injury claims solicitor to prove liability rests with the defendant of the claim.
Accident book records form an often essential part of the ‘paper trail’ that will enable your specialist personal injury solicitor to successfully pursue your claim for personal injury compensation. When combined with medical evidence and witness information, the entry can be the final piece of a jigsaw that forces a 3rd party to admit liability or for an employer to admit to employer negligence.
One of the biggest obstacles to making a claim for personal injury compensation when details of it are not recorded in an accident book is that it could lead to a solicitor being less willing to run your claim on a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win No Fee) basis, as the risk of losing increases. The lack of a report gives the 3rd party some room for manoeuvre should they wish to deny liability in relation to your claim. If there is no accident book entry the 3rd party could try to deny any knowledge of the incident, or even try to claim that you were not injured where you said you were. The onus would then be on you to prove that what you have said is true.
What an accident book should record
Accident book entries should list the type of accident that happened, such as a slip on a wet shop floor. In order to provide the best evidence to support a claim for personal injury compensation, an accident book record should also list other important information. For example, making sure that the lack of a hazard warning sign being present is noted if relevant. Details of injuries and immediate symptoms should be recorded, and if relevant confirm that an ambulance has been called or what first aid has been administered. Where possible, all injured parties should ensure that they request the accident book and that they are allowed to read and agree to the details of any entry made by a staff member or other person in relation to their accident.
What to do if there is no accident book entry
But what if the details of your accident have NOT been recorded within an accident book? Can you still make a claim for personal injury compensation? Thankfully, there is no law that states that you cannot make a claim in such circumstances, but for obvious reasons it does become more difficult to pursue a claim if this is the case.
Of course, if the injuries sustained were so serious that the injured party was incapacitated and whisked away from the scene by paramedics, there is a chance that an accident book entry has not been made, especially in a shop. In this case, ambulance records would prove that you were injured in a certain location and therefore this could not be denied. In such cases, you would still have a reasonable prospect of pursuing a claim for compensation.
Employers should always fill in accident book entries after injuries in the workplace. If you did not record details of your incident with the management or owners of the establishment or workplace where you were injured and still wish to claim, there are things you can do to help prove your claim. Here are some useful tips for those of you who have NOT recorded the details within an accident book:
- Write to the relevant 3rd party (eg supermarket, shop, employer) explaining the details of your injuries, how they were caused and explaining your accident. Request that they make a record of it within their accident book. Send the letter by recorded delivery and retain a copy for yourself (along with proof of postage). This could become a useful document when it comes to pursuing your claim.
- Contact the 3rd party where you sustained your injuries. Ask if anyone has made a report. Ask if there is any available CCTV footage of the accident and if so, request that it is retained.
- You can take photographs of hazards at work, such as faulty machinery or inadequate work practices.
- Seek independent witnesses that can support your version of events. The witnesses must be independent as they could be cross-questioned should the claim reach court. If you can provide details of witnesses and these witnesses can corroborate your version of events, your prospects of successfully claiming personal injury compensation will greatly increase. You can ask colleagues and co-workers if they would be willing to act as witnesses. Whilst this is obviously a difficult thing for them to do, we’ve found that many people who are sick of the employer neglecting their safety at work are more than willing to help.
- Make sure that you inform your GP, A&E doctors or physiotherapist as to the cause of your injuries. If they have recorded your injuries as being caused at a certain place and in a certain way, again, this helps you with your proving liability against a 3rd party.
If you have been injured in an accident which hasn’t been recorded, know someone who has or just want to find out more about making a claim, call us on 01225 430285 or if you prefer we can call you back and we’ll gladly help.