How do I know if I should bring a personal injury claim?

In order to bring a personal injury claim there needs to be a person or entity that is in some way responsible for your injuries. This is because without that person or entity there is no one to seek compensation from.

How do I know if someone is responsible?

In order for a person or entity to be responsible for your injuries, your injuries have to have been caused by their negligence. Either by them actively doing something (e.g. installing something that was hazardous) or by them failing to do something (e.g. not appropriately maintaining an area). For example, a landlord or an occupier of a premises has a duty of care to ensure that the premises is reasonably safe and free from any hazard that is likely to cause injury, so if they either create a hazard or fail to remove one they might be, at least in part, responsible for your injuries.

With that being said, there is a certain level of care that you are expected to take whilst engaging in day to day activities. For example, it is expected that you will be careful, will look where you are going and will take notice of your surroundings. If you have failed to do these things, it can be difficult to successfully bring a personal injury claim.

 

Are my injuries sufficient to bring a personal injury claim?

When we formulate personal injury claims, we usually break down the compensation we are seeking on behalf of our client into the following categories:-

  1. Pain and suffering:
  2. Convalescing & Physical Pain and Suffering;
  3. Psychological Pain and Suffering;
  4. Permanent Disability or Residual Disability;
  5. Loss of Enjoyment;
  6. Past Voluntary Services;
  7. Travel Expenses;
  8. Future Economic Loss;
  9. Future Care;
  10. Medicare and Centrelink;
  11. Legal Fees; and
  12. Disbursements.

 

If you have incurred losses with respect to any of those categories as a result of your injuries, either financial or non-financial, then it is worth considering bringing a personal injury claim, because you are entitled to be compensated for those losses.

To that end, it will be helpful for your personal injury claim if you have kept proof of the losses you have incurred. This could include receipts for your travel expenses, medical bills or damaged property, or maybe a journal of the ways in which your day to day life has been affected by your injuries.

 

Do I need to have evidence?

Whilst we understand that you might not have been thinking about bringing a personal injury claim at the time you sustained your injury, you will still need evidence to successfully bring a personal injury claim. This is because, without some sort of evidence, it will be very difficult to prove that the person or entity is responsible for your injuries.

You will therefore need to be able to accurately recall the details surrounding your injury, which will sometimes include:

–       The date and time you sustained your injuries;

–       How you sustained your injuries;

–       What caused your injuries;

–       Details about the area in which you sustained your injuries;

–       The injuries that you sustained;

–       The medical treatment you received;

–       Who else was involved;

–       Whether there were any witnesses;

–       What the weather was like;

–       What you were wearing;

–       Whether your visibility was in any way impacted; and

–       Whether the area was well lit.

It will also be very helpful for your personal injury claim if you have photos or videos of where it happened, what caused your injuries and of your injuries themselves. These photos and videos will be even more helpful if they show measurements. For example, the width and depth of the hole you fell into, or the height and length of something you tripped over. Depending on the circumstances, it can also be helpful to have maps or sketches of the area and what happened.

 

What about medical evidence?

It is important that medical notes and reports accurately reflect what you say happened, how you say it happened, the full extent of your injuries and your pain and suffering. It is therefore critical that you accurately relay to health care professionals exactly what happened and all of your symptoms. If you do not, there will be no record of it, so they will not be able to detail this in reports which we will need to obtain.

For that reason, you should remember to talk to your health care professionals about your mental health after the injury. It is not unusual for a person to suffer psychologically as a result of a physical injury so whether you are drinking more, having nightmares or your outlook on life has changed, make sure you discuss your mental health with them.

 

Should I have reported my injuries?

It can be helpful if you report your injuries to the responsible party, because it will mean that there is a record of them being notified about what happened. However, if the opportunity presents itself, it would be prudent to first take photographs of what caused your injury before giving them the opportunity to remove or repair it.

 

When should I bring my personal injury claim?

It is usually best to wait until a health care professional is of the opinion that your injuries have stabilised. This is because until then, you cannot be sure of the full extent of your injuries and therefore what you are entitled to claim by way of compensation.

 

I’ve already been offered compensation, what should I do?

Sometimes an insurer, or another interested party, might contact you soon after you are injured to offer you compensation. If this happens, be mindful that they will be acting in their best interests, not yours. They will be looking to resolve the matter at as little cost to themselves as possible, which usually means offering you an amount that is less than you deserve. For this reason, we recommend that you do not accept any offers until your injuries have stabilised, so that you know the full extent of your injuries and you obtain legal advice so that you may assess whether their offer is fair in the circumstances.

 

We have a wealth of experience handling personal injury matters, so if you are thinking about making a personal injury claim, or are unsure whether you have a claim, please call us on (08) 8410 9494 so our experience personal injury lawyers can help you.