Although it is possible to make a personal injury claim without a lawyer, it is important to make sure you understand what is involved in the claims process before doing so.
What is involved with making a personal injury claim?
The claim process will vary depending on the nature of your injury claim. Generally, the first step towards making your claim is collating your evidence and producing a Notice of Claim to the insurer or other relevant parties. This document must state:
- the details of the accident
- what injuries have been sustained
- the financial impact of those injuries
- the emotional impact of the injuries.
Notice of Claim letters are often between four and twenty pages in length, depending on the type of injury.
When gathering your evidence, more is usually better. Your evidence could include x-rays, medical records, police records, eyewitness statements, and photos of the accident.
What happens after I send the Notice of Claim?
Once the Notice of Claim has been received by the insurance company or other relevant parties, it will either be rejected or require further investigation. The next step after this will depend on the response and can lead to months of investigation or negotiation. Every injury and circumstance is different, so the settlement offer you receive will vary depending on the situation.
It is also important to be aware that if you are suing a council or other large entity, they will more than likely have lawyers acting on their behalf, so you need to be sure that you can confidently liaise and negotiate with their legal team throughout the entire process.
Serious injuries, such as those which require surgery or have a significant impact on your day-to-day life, require a lot more evidence and investigation which can result in a longer claims process. These cases are typically more complex and may require a deeper understanding of laws and rights.
What if I start the claims process myself and then decide to use a lawyer?
If you have already initiated negotiation without a lawyer, it is highly improbable that the insurance company will reconsider your claim after hiring a lawyer. All evidence, concessions and statements that you have provided prior to hiring a lawyer can be used against you. Therefore, it may be difficult to find a lawyer who is willing to assist, or believes they can make a genuine impact to your situation.
Making a personal injury claim is a lengthy process that will require many hours, and often months, of effort and research on your behalf, but it is important not to rush the necessary steps.
Cairns Injury Lawyers is a division of Preston Law. We work on a no win, no fee basis.