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Home | Personal Injury Compensation | Personal Injury | Never made a compens ...

Never made a compensation claim before? Here's an introduction into personal injury.

Submitted by Becky Cross on 2006-08-21 and viewed 10438 times.
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In 1932, the House of Lords made a decision that was to dramatically change personal injury.  The case was Donoghue –v- Stevenson – the facts need not concern you – but this case decided (once and for all) that the Claimant (the person doing the suing) did not have to rely on a contract between the injured person and the defendant (the person who caused the injury). 


Lord Atkin made a famous speech when he said, “...The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, you must not injure your neighbour; and the lawyer’s question, who is my neighbour? receives a restricted reply.  You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour.


Who, then, in law is my neighbour?  The answer seems to be – persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question...”  In fact, his speech goes on and on and until you find it hard to keep awake zzzzz.  


The neighbour principle defined that in effect, anyone who is owed a duty of care and is injured by another, can sue.   As well as opening the floodgates for would be Claimants – solicitors rubbed their hands with glee – can’t you just picture it?  (Go’n try).


So, to determine whether you have a viable claim, ask yourself the following:  1. Did someone owe you a duty of care? (The neighbour principle).  2. Did they breach the duty of care? (And cause you an accident).  3. Did you suffer an injury? (That needed medical treatment).


Did you score three yeses?  If so, you’ve got a claim.  Of course, there is a bit more to it than that, (actually, there’s an awful lot more to it than that), but for this general overview, it’ll do. 


For a solicitor to take on your personal injury case, s/he’ll need the compensation to be worth more than £1,000 (yup, a grand).  I guess you’re wondering why a grand?  Well, the defendant has to pay the solicitor’s costs when a case is settled for £1,000 or more.


So, if you slipped in a puddle of water in a supermarket and suffered a personal injury, and say ..... merely bruised your bum, is your personal injury claim a runner?  The answer is probably no.  Why?  Well, can bruised buttocks in any reality be worth a £1,000?  If you arrived at the same conclusion, go to top of the class.


Ok, so what if you slip in a puddle of water in a supermarket and break a leg?  Is your personal injury claim a runner?  Ok swatty – what’s the answer this time?  Well, the answer is ............ (long pause, like on the X Factor) ........... (I know, annoying isn’t it ............. and here comes the answer .......... and it’s ............ ‘perhaps’ ............. But hang on, I’ve broken my leg by slipping in water at the supermarket – what about all that neighbour, duty of care, medical treatment .......... blah blah stuff? 


Well, the case would most definitely hinge on how long the puddle had been there.  If it had formed from a leaking fridge, or from vases at the cut flower display counter, then your chance of getting a personal injury solicitor to deal with your claim suddenly improves ........


If you’ve ever wondered why the supermarket places matting on the floor around the cut flower display counter – now you know.


If you’ve enjoyed this article on personal injury, why not read my others?  I write regularly on personal injury and compensation claims.  Look out for my other articles.  ‘Whiplash, the story that needs to be told’; ‘No Win – No Fee – is it true? (er, only sometimes)’; And, ‘We’re all going compensation crazy’, to name but a few (actually, there are only a few – but I now do write around one a month).


If you’ve suffered an accident and want to claim personal injury compensation, click

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