A Complete Guide To Personal Injury Claims

In this guide, we look at personal injury claims and when you could make one. You must satisfy specific eligibility criteria to have good grounds to seek compensation. We look at what this is and provide examples of different accidents that could result in a personal injury claim.

Additionally, we provide information about the claims process, including a look at how long a compensation claim could take before it reaches a settlement. We also answer questions you may have, such as ‘Will I have to go to court?’.

If you are eligible to file a claim, you may wonder about how they are settled. We explain how successful claims are awarded compensation. Furthermore, we provide information about interim payments. We also show you how a No Win No Fee solicitor could help you to claim compensation.

If, after reading our guide, you want to learn more about the claims process, please contact Public Interest Lawyers. They can discuss the support a specialist personal injury solicitor can give you and if you meet the eligibility, put you in touch with one from our panel. You can contact us today on,

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What Are Personal Injury Claims?

A personal injury claim is a type of legal case during which you recover compensation from the party responsible for your accident. Whilst undertaking various daily activities, we are owed a duty of care. This is a legal obligation that is placed on individuals or organisations to maintain certain standards or take proper care to avoid causing foreseeable harm. If you are injured because these standards were not met, you might be eligible to claim.

In general, your claim will need to meet the following criteria:

  • A person or organisation owed you a duty of care.
  • This duty was breached through the liable party’s actions or inactions.
  • Due to this breach, you sustained injuries.

If you have any questions about personal injury claims, please speak to a member of our advisory team.

What Types Of Accidents Could Lead To A Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims could be made in a variety of different circumstances. According to figures from the Compensation Recovery Unit, in 2023/24 a total of 477,220 claims were registered. These broke down to:

  • 44,547 cases against employers.
  • 348,806 motor claim cases.
  • 58,933 public accident claims.

Below we take you through the eligibility criteria for these three common types of personal injury compensation claim.

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Accidents At Work

Employers have a duty of care to ensure your safety. As part of this duty, they must take reasonable steps to ensure that your working environment is safe. Your employer’s responsibility to ensure your safety is set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. In order to claim for accidents at work, you need to show that your employer’s failure to adhere to relevant health and safety laws caused your injury.

Examples of when you could claim for an accident at work could include:

  • You could claim for falling down stairs if your employer knew a stairway was broken or damaged and did not repair it.
  • If your employer did not provide you with the necessary personal protective equipment to carry out tasks and you were harmed, you could make a claim. For example, if your employer failed to supply goggles when they were needed to safely complete the task and you sustain an eye injury as a result, you might be eligible to claim.

Will Claiming For An Accident At Work Impact My Job?

You may be worried that making a personal injury claim against your employer could impact your working relationship with them or colleagues. You may also be anxious about any impact on your job security.

You are legally protected whether your claim is successful or not. You can not lawfully be dismissed from your job for claiming compensation from your employer. They also can not do anything to either discriminate against you or make your working environment inhospitable. You also can not be sacked for having an accident at work if your employer failed to comply with relevant health and safety regulations.

If your employer does discriminate against you or makes your working environment feel inhospitable, you may be able to take legal action against them for unfair dismissal or unfair treatment.

If you have any questions about making a personal injury claim against your employer, please speak to our advisory team.

Road Traffic Accidents

Anyone using the roads, including motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, must ensure that they navigate in ways that prevent injury and damage to themselves and others. This is the duty of care for road users. As part of this, it is required to adhere to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and The Highway Code. If you have been injured in a road traffic accident caused by another road user, you could claim compensation. You could make a claim if you were injured as a passenger, a driver or a pedestrian.

Examples of when you could make a personal injury claim for a road traffic accident could include:

  • A driver failing to stop when you are crossing the road and striking you, which causes multiple injuries, including broken bones and brain damage.
  • A crash caused by a driver who is not paying due care and attention, such as driving through a red light, and causing a neck injury.

Under The Whiplash Injury Regulations 2021, if your claim is valued at or under £5,000 you will need to claim compensation in a different way. Contact our team to find out how much your injuries could be worth.

Public Liability Claims

The party in control of a public space is commonly known as the occupier. This may be the owner of the space, or a party occupying it. Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 they have a duty of care to ensure the reasonable safety of members of the public using their space and facilities.

Examples of public liability claims could include:

  • A slip or trip caused by broken or damaged flooring which had not been repaired. For example, you could break your ankle tripping over uneven tiles.
  • A gym accident caused by faulty equipment. For example, you sustain a broken wrist if a treadmill is not properly maintained.

Get in touch with our team to find out more about how to claim with personal injury lawyers.

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Who Pays Personal Injury Compensation?

If your claim is against an employer or someone you know, you may worry that your claim will leave them out of pocket. In most instances, your claim will not be paid directly by the defendant. Your personal injury compensation claim will be paid out by their insurance provider.

All road users, occupiers of public spaces and employers should have appropriate insurance in place to cover any personal injury claims which are made against them.

What Is The Personal Injury Claims Process Like?

We could connect you to an expert No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel who could handle your claim. Your solicitor could handle all parts of the personal injury claims process for you. The personal injury claims process works as follows:

  • Assessing your claim. When you contact our team, an advisor will assess your case. They will explain whether you have a valid claim and what options you have to move forward. They can then match you to a personal injury solicitor from our panel if you wish to make a claim.
  • When you speak to your personal injury solicitor they will examine your claim in detail to check your eligibility for compensation. They may assess the facts around your claim and start gathering evidence which shows how you were harmed and who was liable.
  • Once your solicitor has assessed your case, determined who is liable for your injury and started collecting evidence, they will notify the defendant. Your claim will be submitted formally to the defendant in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Personal Injury Claims. The Pre-Action Protocol is the pre-litigation stage of the claims process. Following these steps could help the claim stay out of court.
  • At this point, your solicitor will negotiate with the other party on your behalf. If they accept liability, they will negotiate your settlement. If they do not accept liability, your case may need to go to court.
  • Your claim will be settled outside of court in the majority of cases. A small minority of cases may need to go to court (we look at this in a little more detail later on).

Is There A Time Limit When Claiming For A Personal Injury?

All personal injury claims are subject to a limitation period. In most instances, the time limit is three years to start your claim from the date of your accident. Claims must be started within the time limit, or they may become time-barred.

There are exceptions to the three-year limitation period. These exceptions are:

  • When a claimant has been deemed under the Mental Capacity act 2005 not to have the capacity to claim on their own behalf, they will need a Litigation friend to manage proceedings for them. If they regain the capacity required to claim and a litigation friend did not file one for them, they will have three years from this date to start the process.
  • Where claimants are under the age of eighteen. Those under 18 are not able to claim on their own behalf and will need a Litigation friend to act for them. However, if they turn 18 and a claim was not made for them, they will have three years from their 18th birthday to start the process.
  • Time limits for fatal accident claims may differ from the standard three-year period.

Time limits are set out in The Limitation Act 1980. To learn more about how long you have to claim for an accident at work or another type of accident, contact our team.

How Long Do Personal Injury Claims Take?

Each personal injury claim is unique. How long it could take to claim for an accident will depend on your circumstances and injuries. It will also depend on whether the defendant accepts liability for your accident.

If the defendant does accept liability and your injuries are less complex, your claim may be resolved with compensation paid out quicker than for cases with more complexity.

To find out how long a car accident claim or any other claim could take, speak to a member of our team.

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How Do I Pay For A Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

At Public Interest Lawyers, we work with a panel of No Win No Fee solicitors who could help you claim compensation. If you have a valid claim, they may be able to help you through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). This is a type of contract between you and your personal injury solicitor, which means:

  • Not being asked to pay your solicitor to start work on your claim or pay for their services during the claims process.
  • Not needing to pay your solicitor for work carried out on your claim if you are not awarded compensation.
  • Only needing to pay at the end of a successful claim. If you are awarded compensation, your solicitor will deduct a pre-agreed success fee from your settlement. Typically, this fee is a set percentage of your payout. The maximum percentage which may be charged is legally capped.

Contact our team today to discuss any questions you have about personal injury claims and how a No Win No Fee solicitor could support you when making one.

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How Much Compensation For A Personal Injury Claim?

How much compensation you could claim for a personal injury will depend on several factors. These include what injury you suffered, how serious your injury was and how the injury has impacted your wider quality of life. As such, how much compensation you will be awarded will be dependent on your unique claim.

Compensation settlements may consist of up to two heads of claim. These are called special damages and general damages. They are designed to compensate you for the different impacts the injury may have had on you.

  • General damages are awarded for your suffering and pain. They may be awarded for both physical and mental harm suffered, or one or the other.  
  • Special damages are awarded for the wider impact this has had on you. It could compensate you for financial impacts.

The compensation guidelines published by the Judicial College (JCG) might be used to help value general damages. The JCG provides guideline compensation amounts for different types of injuries in varying severities. We’ve provided a few figures from the JGG in our table below. Additionally, we provide a figure in the top row that shows how compensation could be awarded for multiple severe injuries and the financial hardships they have caused. That figure is not from the JCG.

Your compensation may differ from what is shown in the table due to the differences between personal injury claims. It is only to be used as guidance.

InjurySeverityPayout Bracket
Multiple serious or severe injuries plus financial lossesSerious to severeUp to £1,000,000+
Brain injuryVery severe - A £344,150 to £493,000
Brain injuryModerate - C - i£183,190 to £267,340
Neck injurySevere - A - ii£80,240 to £159,770
Back injurySevere - A - iii£47,320 to £85,100
Leg injurySevere - B - Serious - iii£47,840 to £66,920
Arm injuryLess severe - C£23,430 to £47,810
Hand injuryLess serious - G£17,640 to £35,390
Foot injuryModerate - F£16,770 to £30,500
Chest injuryRelatively simple - D£15,370 to £21,920

Special Damages

Special damages can compensate you for a variety of different costs and financial losses connected to your injuries.

Examples of special damages may include,

  • Lost earnings or workplace benefits caused by taking time off work. This could include past and future losses.
  • Personal care given by a relative or friend.
  • Modifications to your home or vehicle.
  • The cost of medical care as well as medication or treatment.

To recover special damages, you should save proof of your costs. This can include receipts, invoices and payslips.

Our team can help to assess your personal injury compensation claim. Contact us today to learn more about how much you could be owed.

Will I Have To Pay Tax On My Compensation Claim?

HMRC does not levy tax on compensation awarded for personal injury claims. It does not matter whether you are claiming compensation for an accident at work, a road traffic accident or any other type of claim. Any compensation awarded is exempt from capital gains and other taxes.

You will also not be charged any tax on interest earned on your compensation whilst the claim is being processed.

We should note that once you have your compensation settlement, any savings or investments made with it could be subject to normal tax considerations.

Do You Have To Go To Court To Make A Personal Injury Case?

In most instances, personal injury claims do not need to go to court. Generally, a settlement will be reached in the pre-litigation stages discussed earlier in this guide.

Claims which do go to court may be those which are more complex, where the parties’ are not able to agree upon a negotiated settlement or where the defendant does not accept their liability for an accident and resulting injuries.

If your case does need to go to court, it may seem daunting but you do not need to worry. Our panel of personal injury solicitors and lawyers are experienced in handling cases which do go to court. They can provide you with all the advice you need and help you to navigate court.

Contact an advisor to learn more about how to claim compensation with a specialist solicitor.

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Can I Get An Interim Payment?

If you have suffered a serious injury, or your case is taking longer to conclude, you may be eligible to receive an interim payment from the defendant. An interim payment may be paid out if the defendant has accepted liability for your injuries or if the case looks like it will conclude in your favour. The payment will be deducted from your final compensation settlement.

Your personal injury solicitor may be able to secure an interim payment for you if you are experiencing financial difficulty. An interim payment may be for,

  • Lost income if you are not able to work.
  • To pay for private medical treatment.
  • To pay for care at home or rehabilitation.
  • Adapting your home or vehicle.

Call an advisor to find out more about interim payments for personal injury claims.

Can I Switch Personal Injury Solicitors If I’m Not Happy With Their Service?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to switch personal injury solicitors during the claims process. It is possible to switch law firms or solicitors; however, you may incur solicitor fees.

If you have concerns about how your solicitor is handling your case and the advice you have had from them, you can discuss your claim with our team. If you decide that you would like to change from your current solicitor to a member of our panel, we could take care of transferring your case.

Contact our team to learn more about when you could be able to change solicitors during a personal injury case. They could also answer any other questions you may have about personal injury claims.

When you contact an advisor, they will take the time to review your case and provide you with free advice without an obligation to proceed with our services. If you are ready to claim and satisfy the eligibility, an advisor can connect you to an experienced, expert solicitor from our panel.

When you are ready to start your claim or to simply find out more about how the claims process works, get in contact with our team.

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More Resources About Personal Injury Claims

Below we have included further external references and guides from our site.

Our guides:

External references

Thank you for reading our guide to personal injury claims. Contact our team to learn more about how we could help you.