Serious Injury Claims – When Can You Seek Compensation?

This guide will provide you with information about serious injury claims. We will discuss the eligibility criteria that need to be met in order to seek personal injury compensation, what proof you may need to support your case and the settlement that could potentially be awarded following a successful claim.

Additionally, we discuss the duty of care owed to you in different places and provide examples of the serious injuries that could be sustained in an accident if this duty isn’t upheld. This guide also provides an example case study demonstrating how a payout for a serious injury could potentially be secured. 

Finally, our guide discusses how the serious injury solicitors from our panel could assist you in seeking compensation. 

If you have any questions after reading or as you move through our guide, please get in touch with an advisor. They can offer free advice pertaining to your potential claim. 

a pile of cash next to a judge's hammer, design to represent compensation

Browse Our Guide

  1. What Is A Serious Injury?
  2. Can I Claim Compensation For A Serious Injury?
  3. What Are The Causes Of Serious Injury?
  4. Examples Of Serious Injuries You Could Claim Compensation For?
  5. What Evidence Could Help You In A Personal Injury Claim?
  6. Compensation Payouts And Settlement Amounts In Serious Injury Claims
  7. Claim For A Personal Injury On A No Win No Fee Basis
  8. Learn More About The Serious Injury Claims Process

What Is A Serious Injury?

A serious injury is one that generally has a life-changing impact. They are sometimes referred to as catastrophic injuries.

For example, you or a loved one may have suffered permanent brain damage in a car accident, or an injury to the spinal cord.

The fallout of such an injury may see that person’s normal life thrown into turmoil, with little or no chance of recovery.

Work may no longer be possible. Adaptations may need to be made to the home, and in some cases, support from carers may be required.

Can I Claim Compensation For A Serious Injury?

A serious injury could have lasting consequences on your physical health and mental well-being. They could include, for example, a back injury, paralysis, a brain or head injury, or amputation.

To make a personal injury claim for a serious injury, you must prove:

  • A third party owed a duty of care to you. 
  • Their duty of care was breached.
  • This breach caused you serious injury. 

The criteria mentioned above set out the basis of negligence in personal injury claims. Provided you have proof of negligence taking place, you could be eligible to proceed with your case.

Can I Claim Compensation On Behalf Of Someone?

If a loved one or close friend has suffered an injury in an accident, it’s possible for someone to represent them if they can’t act for themselves.

For example, if your partner has suffered brain damage in an accident, they may not have the capacity to represent themselves. In these cases, you may be able to act as a litigation friend.

What Is The Time Limit In Serious Injury Claims?

The usual time limit for starting a personal injury claim is three years from the date of the accident. This is set out in the Limitation Act 1980. However, there are exceptions to this limitation period.

For more information on how long you have to begin a serious injury claim, please contact an advisor on the number above.

What Are The Causes Of Serious Injury?

Serious injuries can be sustained in a wide range of different scenarios. Sometimes even the most trivial of trips and falls can lead to life-changing brain damage if that person hits their head.

In this section, we explore some of the most common causes of serious injury that can lead to compensation claims.

Road Traffic Accidents

Every road user owes a duty of care to one another to navigate the roads in a manner that prevents harm or damage to themselves or others. The Road Traffic Act 1988 and The Highway Code contain rules that must be followed to help road users uphold their duty of care. If there is failure to do so, it could lead to a road traffic accident, such as a car accident, resulting in a serious injury. For example:

  • A driver does not carry out safety checks, such as looking in their mirrors before they overtake on a motorway leading to a side collision. This causes the driver of the other vehicle to sustain a serious brain injury or organ damage.
  • Another motorist could be looking at their mobile phone rather than giving the road their full attention. As a result, they might collide with your car at a high speed, causing you to sustain multiple spinal injuries.
  • A road user who is speeding around a sharp bend could crash into you in a head-on collision, causing you to sustain a severe neck and head injury.
  • Exiting junctions or roundabouts without proper care and attention can result in a side collision. This could lead to amputations or burn injuries.
  • Intoxicated road users can jump red lights and hit you on your bicycle or motorbike. If it knocks you into on-coming traffic, you could suffer a spinal cord injury leading to paralysis.

Accidents In A Public Place 

Under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957, an occupier of a public space owes a duty of care to members of the public. They must take steps to ensure public members are reasonably safe when using the space for its intended purpose. Failure to do so could lead to an accident in a public space. For example:

Accidents At Work

As established in The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers owe a duty of care to their employees. This requires them to take reasonable steps to prevent employees from becoming harmed in the workplace, and while they carry out their work-related tasks.

A failure to do so could mean a workplace accident occurs causing a serious injury. For example:

  • No training is given to an employee before they are instructed to use machinery when working on a construction site. As a result, they use the machinery incorrectly and sustain a traumatic amputation to their arm.
  • Failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, you could suffer a brain injury if you work on a construction site that has falling debris without a hard hat. Your employer is legally obligated to provide you with appropriate PPE if it is required to carry out your work duties safely.
  • Lack of training. For example, if you are expected to use a particular piece of machinery but aren’t trained in how to use it, you could suffer an amputation injury. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, your employer must provide you with training and ensure that you know how to safely use equipment. If they fail to do this and you are injured as a result, you could seek compensation.
  • Not maintaining work equipment. For example, if a ladder rung is unstable or broken, you could suffer multiple injuries falling from a height. All equipment should be regularly checked for damage and taken out of use until repairs are made. If you are injured because work equipment is not appropriately checked and maintained, you might be able to make a workplace injury claim.
  • Failure to carry out risk assessments. A risk assessment could identify areas where extra training or PPE may be needed. For example, you could suffer a serious back injury if the path you are expected to take is slippery and you experience a slip and fall accident.

To discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident at work, public place accident, or road traffic accident, call our team. They can offer further guidance on the eligibility criteria for serious injury claims. You can get in touch on the number above to find out more.

Examples Of Serious Injuries You Could Claim Compensation For?

As well as understanding the causes of serious injuries and when you can claim compensation for them, it also helps to have an idea of the different types of injuries you can be compensated for.

Below, you can find more specific information, along with a case study which helps illustrate the claims process.

Deafness And Hearing Loss

A significant injury that someone can suffer is damage to their senses. Hearing loss is one such form of injury that you could suffer that has the potential to have a profound impact on your life.

We explore the issues and the claims process in this case study below:

Case Study: £1 Million Payout In Deafness Claim

We have provided this example case study so you can see why a deafness claim might be possible and how the personal injury claims process works.

Mrs Williams was riding her bike to work when she was hit by a car that was driving at 50mph on a 30mph road. Although she was wearing a safety helmet, Mrs Williams suffered serious head injuries that resulted in permanent deafness. She also suffered from broken vertebrae and needed to learn how to walk again.

After seeking legal advice, Mrs Williams pursued a personal injury claim against the driver. Once their insurers had accepted liability, Mrs Williams was awarded just over £1 million in compensation.

This settlement covered the physical pain and suffering caused by her injuries, her loss of amenity as well as loss of earnings and future loss of earnings as she was unable to return to her employment, care costs while she recovered, home adaptations and other expenses. The settlement also took into account that Mrs Williams was no longer able to enjoy her lifelong passion for playing the clarinet in an orchestra.

Organ Damage

In some accidents, it’s possible for people to suffer damage to their organs, such as kidneys, their liver or lungs.

For example, if you are caught in a factory fire, you may experience lung damage due to smoke inhalation.

Similarly, a road traffic accident if serious enough has the potential to cause significant organ damage, as we explore in this case study:

Case Study: £3 Million Payout For Internal Injuries

Driving home from work one evening, Miss Daniels was involved in a very serious car collision caused by a drunk driver. After being cut from the wreckage, she was taken to hospital with serious damage to several organs.

When she was able, she instructed a personal injury solicitor to represent her and help her make a serious injury claim for organ damage.

Miss Daniels’ solicitor helped her gather evidence, including CCTV footage, medical records, and witness statements, as well as injury pictures to support her claim. Eventually, her claim succeeded and she was awarded a £3 million settlement comprising compensation for the pain and suffering she had experienced due to her injuries, including the impact on her quality of life. The settlement also include compensation for the financial losses she experienced due to her injuries.

Find out whether you could seek compensation for damage to your organs following an accident that wasn’t your fault by calling the number above.


One of the most serious injuries you could suffer in an accident is paralysis. This could be partial in nature, for example, if you suffer paralysis of your arm or from below the waist. In some severe cases it’s possible to experience paralysis from the neck down.

Depending on the nature of the injuries, round-the-clock care may be required. Let’s look at a case study to illustrate this further.

Case Study: £2.5 Million Payout For Paralysis

The following case study is a figurative example to help explain the personal injury claims process.

When driving to work, Mr Blake was hit from the side by the driver of another vehicle who had failed to stop at a give way sign at a junction where they didn’t have priority. Mr Blake was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

In hospital, the fullness of Mr Blake’s injuries became apparent. He had suffered significant nerve damage to his neck and spine which caused him to be permanently paralysed from the waist down.

Due to the severity of his injuries, and the long-term impact they would have on his life, Mr Blake decided to take legal action. First, he sought advice and then instructed an experienced solicitor to help him.

The case was settled quickly in Mr Blake’s favour and he was awarded £2.5 million. His settlement consisted of compensation for the way his injuries had affected his quality of life, as well as the financial losses incurred as a result. For example, Mr Blake was no longer able to drive, could not return to the same employment type, and required help at home leading to financial costs.

Find out if you could make a paralysis injury claim by calling the number above.

Head Injuries And Brain Damage

Head injuries and brain damage can also prove tremendously serious and life-changing in nature.

Brain damage has the potential to reduce someone’s ability to care for themselves, meaning they may need constant care. Symptoms like intense headaches may also be experienced. Let’s look at a case study to see how this type of injury could happen.

Case Study: £1 Million Payout In Head Injury Compensation

Mrs Parker, 32, was an experienced engineer who regularly commuted to her office via car. One day when taking her normal route to work, what appeared to be a regular drive would turn into a life-changing incident for her.

A driver on the opposite side of the road was speeding around a corner when they lost control of their vehicle, swerved into Mrs Parker’s lane and crashed into her. This led to her car rolling over several times and landing on its roof in a ditch.

Immediately after the accident, an ambulance and the fire service were called to free Mrs Parker from the wreckage and attend to her condition. She was in a critical state and was diagnosed with a severe head injury shortly after she arrived at the hospital.

Following Mrs. Parker’s rehabilitation, she fully depends on professional care and will do so for the rest of her life.

Mrs Parker’s family contacted solicitors to begin a serious head injury claim. The solicitors helped build her case, by collecting evidence to support her claim. This included; dash-cam footage, witness statements, medical evidence and images of the accident scene. This led to its success and meant she was awarded £1 million in compensation. This was made up of general damages to compensate for the injury as well as special damages to cover the financial implications of the brain damage.

Contact our team of advisors to see if a solicitor from our panel can help you today.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Just like with paralysis injuries, damage to the spinal cord also has the potential to cause major mobility problems. Such injuries often come with our types of injuries too.

For example, if you fall from a ladder and land on your back, you may not only damage your spine, but you may break bones and maybe even experience organ damage.

Let’s look at a case study.

Case Study: £1.8 Million Payout For A Serious Spine Injury Claim

The following case study is figurative and has been included for guidance purposes only.

Mr Roberts was a 30-year-old operative in a large furniture warehouse. Part of his job was to stack and store objects on the higher level shelving which were accessed by fixed ladders. Despite raising concerns about a ladder that was faulty, his employer failed to address the issue and instructed Mr Roberts to continue using the faulty ladder.

One day the ladder gave way as Mr Roberts was using it and he fell from a height to the concrete floor below. As a result of this, Mr Roberts suffered a fracture in three different parts of his spine and a serious head injury. This left him paralysed from the neck down and he was confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

After seeking legal advice from a solicitor, he decided to make a serious spine injury claim. His solicitor helped him gather evidence and submit his claim in full within the relevant time limit.

After a successful outcome, he was awarded £1.8 million. His personal injury solicitor successfully negotiated this settlement by looking at the loss of his employment prospects for the remainder of his life, the extensive surgical and rehabilitation costs, as well as the devastating impact on the quality of his life.

Speak to our team now to learn more about how a personal injury solicitor could help you with seeking a settlement for your serious spine injury.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

One of the consequences of experiencing a traumatic injury in an accident is the development of mental health problems.

One of the most troubling conditions is PTSD. Symptoms can be debilitating and life-changing, with the most severely affected people unable to function with their usual day-to-day lives.

Here’s a case study exploring this in more depth.

Case Study: £800,000 Payout For Severe PTSD

This case study is figurative and intended only to illustrate the steps you may need to take when making a serious injury claim for severe PTSD.

Mr Black was driving home with his friend on the motorway when another car crashed into the passenger side of his vehicle after failing to indicate before changing lanes. This caused his friend to suffer fatal brain injuries. Mr Black also sustained multiple serious injuries, including a broken neck and traumatic arm amputation. In addition, after witnessing his friend suffer fatal harm, he developed PTSD.

Mr Black was unable to return to work for an extended period of time and his quality of life deteriorated due to the PTSD symptoms. After a while, he decided to seek legal advice from an experienced serious injury solicitor who took on his case and helped him seek compensation.

Together, they were able to build a strong case against the motorist at fault for the accident. Using witness statements and CCTV footage, as well as psychiatric and other injury reports, his solicitor successfully negotiated an £800,000 settlement for Mr Black.

This amount included compensation for the physical and psychological impact his injuries had on his life as well as the financial losses incurred as a result.

You can discuss your specific case and the possibility of seeking legal representation by calling an advisor on the number above. They can provide further guidance on PTSD claims and the steps involved in seeking compensation.

Neck Injuries

Like with spinal injuries, damage to the neck has the potential to cause paralysis, tremendous pain and mobility issues.

In some cases, a neck injury may leave you unable to support your head, meaning you have to wear a brace and get help with eating and drinking. You may also experience significant mobility problems.

Here’s a case study exploring this further.

Case Study: £2 Million Payout For A Serious Neck Injury Claim

A car dangerously speeding on the motorway led to Mr Fisher being rear-ended by the speeding vehicle. Mr Fisher was taken into hospital immediately for his serious neck injury. 

At the hospital, it was announced that Mr Fisher had suffered spastic quadriparesis and intractable headaches, meaning his life would be affected forever. 

His wife contacted personal injury solicitors who agreed to take the case on. They were able to gather dash-cam footage from other cars, a diary of his recorded symptoms, and medical reports to support his claim. 

Mr Fisher was awarded £2 million in compensation for his:

  • Complete change in the quality of life. 
  • Loss of earnings since he could not return to his job. 
  • Psychological harm, depression. 
  • The extent of his pain and the permanence of his injuries. 
  • Lifestyle adaptations
  • Travel expenses
  • Home adaptations
  • In-home nursing and home help

What Evidence Could Help You In A Personal Injury Claim?

Evidence can help support serious injury claims by demonstrating that a third party didn’t uphold their duty of care, and as a result, you sustained harm. The types of evidence you could gather include the following:

  • Dash-cam or CCTV footage of the accident.
  • A diary containing information about your treatment and symptoms.
  • Photographs of your injuries and the accident site. 
  • Witness contact details. 
  • Copies of your medical records, such as a copy of a CT scan.

Call our team to find out whether a solicitor from our panel could assist you in collecting evidence and building your case. 

Compensation Payouts And Settlement Amounts In Serious Injury Claims

A serious injury settlement awarded following a successful claim can be split into two heads of claim. These are general and special damages. 

General damages compensate you for your pain and suffering due to your injuries. This includes both the physical and mental anguish you have experienced. It can also take into account factors, such as:

  • The severity of your injury.  
  • Your recovery. 
  • Your treatment.
  • The future prognosis.

The Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) and your medical records are documents your solicitor may use to help them determine the value of your general damages. 

The JCG (17th edition, last updated in 2024) provides a list of award brackets which are guidelines. You can find some of these in the table below. Please treat these figures as a guide, because each settlement can vary depending on the specific circumstances surrounding each case.

InjurySeverityCompensation Bracket
Multiple Injuries And Financial LossesSeriousUp to £1,000,000+
Brain DamageVery severe (a)£344,150 to £493,000
Moderately severe (b)£267,340 to £344,150
Moderate (c) (i)£183,190 to £267,340
Total BlindnessIn the region of £327,940
Arm AmputationLoss of both arms (a)£293,850 to £366,100
LegLoss Of Both Legs£293,850 to £344,150
BackSevere (a) (i)£111,150 to £196,450
NeckSevere (a) (i)In the region of £181,020
Special DamagesLost IncomeUp to £250,000+

Can Get Compensation For Financial Losses In A Serious Injury Claim?

Special damages can compensate for the monetary expenses incurred due to your injuries. This includes the expenses you have already incurred and what you are expected to lose in the future. It can award compensation to reimburse, for example:

  • Medical costs. 
  • Care cover. 
  • Travel costs. 
  • Loss of earnings
  • The cost of renovations to your home, e.g. needing to add a stair lift. 

Collecting receipts, invoices, bank statements, and payslips can all help prove any losses. 

To discuss personal injury settlements in more detail, please contact an advisor on the number above.

Claim For A Personal Injury On A No Win No Fee Basis

If you choose to work with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel, they could offer services, such as help collecting evidence, and valuing your claim, under the terms of a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). 

A CFA is a contract between you and your solicitor, the terms of which often stipulate:

  • No fees to pay for the solicitor’s work as your claim begins, while it is in progress, or if it fails.
  • A percentage with a legal cap is taken from your compensation and paid to your solicitor if your claim succeeds.

For more information on serious injury claims, and whether a solicitor from our panel could represent your case under a CFA, please get in touch with an advisor. To do so, you can:

Learn More About The Serious Injury Claims Process

Below, you can see our other guides:

For more external resources:

Thank you for reading this guide on serious injury claims. If you have any other questions, please speak with an advisor via the contact details provided above.