Filing a personal injury claim by yourself is a tricky and complicated task. But make no mistake – it is possible, meaning that you do not necessarily have to go through the process of finding and hiring a specialised solicitor. It may be easier to choose the latter route, but there are certain advantages of taking a stand on your own two feet.
Some of the potential advantages include, of course, saving a bit of money. If you choose to represent yourself in a court of law, you obviously don’t have to pay the legal fees for a solicitor to do it for you. If you manage to win the case on your own, you will naturally get to keep a higher percentage of the win.
However, it is a difficult thing to do, standing up to a court with no one backing you up. You’ll have plenty of information to learn, so here are a few tips to get you started.
Start Straight Away
The process should be started as soon as possible – you only have a limited timeframe in which to file your claim, and the ball starts rolling as soon as you have received a diagnosis from a medical professional. As soon as you’ve been treated, you are classified as officially “injured”, so get a move on. Your medical records will count as evidence of your injury; ask for a copy of them for yourself.
Document and Collate
Now you want to gather as much information as you can. Your medical records, fresh from the hospital, are a good start, but you should try and get as much data about the accident as you can. For example, if you were in a road traffic accident (RTA), get the number plates of the other cars involved. Note the date and time of the accident, and any additional details you might deem relevant.
Then, start recording any pain and suffering you go through, caused by the injury. If you ever have difficulty doing something (say, putting the shopping away after suffering from a severe case of whiplash), make a note of it – it could come in handy later on.
Before You Go to Court
First off, make sure you follow all of your doctor’s instructions to the letter. If you deviate from your treatment plan in any way (like not taking your medication, or working hard if you’ve been told to avoid any strenuous activity) or go against your doctor’s wishes, you run the risk of worsening your injury. Your records will show this, and the courts may be suspicious of your activity – were you trying to make it worse in the hope of a higher payout?
Even if you don’t want to hire a lawyer, you can still speak to one for advice. Most reputable lawyers, such as Lawyers4Patients, will offer a free, 30 minute consultation. Use this to get some advice for the upcoming court date.
You may get lucky, and the defendant might settle before going to court. If not, you have a difficult battle ahead of you – good luck!