Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Claiming compensation without accident book evidence

Brought to you by our friends at Direct 2 Solicitors Ltd

By Ian Morris, Direct 2 Solicitors Ltd

One of the most important factors in making a successful personal injury claim is to ensure the details of the incident have been properly recorded. And depending where it happened, this would usually include an entry in an accident book.

An entry will note the type of accident, a slip or trip, for example, and also the injuries sustained, such as a broken bone. It may also confirm that an ambulance has been called or that first aid had been administered.

When combined with medical evidence and witness information, the accident book can be the final piece of the jigsaw that forces a 3rd party to admit liability, or for an employer to admit negligence.

But what if there is no accident book entry?

Can you still make a claim for personal injury compensation if the details of your accident have NOT been recorded within an accident book?  Thankfully, there is no law that states that you cannot make a claim in such circumstances, but for obvious reasons it does become much more difficult to pursue a claim if this is the case.

Without such evidence, the prospects of succeeding with the claim are reduced.  So the first obstacle you face is finding a solicitor willing to run your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. The lack of an accident book entry gives the 3rd party some room for manoeuvre should they wish to deny liability. They could say you were not injured, or even deny any knowledge of the incident, and the onus would then be on you to prove that what you have said is true.

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.

If details of your incident were not recorded in an accident book, and you still wish to claim, there are things you can do to help prove your case:

       Write to the relevant 3rd party (eg shop or employer) describing 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.
       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.

       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.

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