What documents and evidence do I need?
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The documents required in order to successfully pursue a claim for personal injury compensation will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Different classes of documents will be required in order to prove first of all that another party should be held liable for causing your accident or injury, and secondly, in order prove the losses for which you seek compensation.
Evidence Requirements for an Accident Claim
At the outset of your claim, your solicitor will carefully explain to you the documents which you are required to produce in support of your claim. As the Claimant (the party bringing the claim) you have the burden of proving your claim so evidence showing who should be held liable and showing your out of pocket expenses is vital.
Below outlines which documents will usually be needed at the outset of a compensation claim as well as those documents that may be needed in addition in some of the more complex cases.
Documents and evidence at the outset
Initially, the documents you will need to produce to your solicitor will relate to identification and funding issues. In accordance with money laundering regulations you are likely to be required to provide your solicitor with identification documents at the outset of your claim so that your solicitor is able to comply with certain regulations and open up your file correctly. In addition, one of the first matters to be addressed by you and your solicitor will be how you intend to fund your claim. In this regard, your solicitor may ask you to provide copies of any insurance policies you have, such as household or motor insurance, to check whether you have any pre-existing legal expense insurance which may be able to assist with the funding of your claim.
Documents and evidence to prove liability
Before deciding whether to move forward with your claim your solicitor will need to assess your chances of success. In order to do that your solicitor may request copies of:
- Photographs of the accident location
- Photographs of your injuries
- Any written reports from where the accident took place or if the police attended
- Documentation you have from any witnesses
These types of documents will also be required later in your claim if liability is an issue (i.e. if the other party is denying responsibility for the accident). Under such circumstances it will be necessary to provide the other party's insurance company with further documentation and evidence. Depending on the type of accident this can include:
|Accident Type||Documents Required|
|Road Traffic Accident||Sketch plan of position of vehicles and photographs of road markings|
|Trip or Slip||Photographs of a raised paving slab or other tripping hazard that caused you to fall|
|Accident in the Workplace||Specifications of damaged machinery which caused your accident in the workplace|
|Industrial Disease||Medical evidence to show the cause of the industrial disease links with the company responsible|
Photograph your injuries
Photographs of your injuries will also be useful if the value of your claim is disputed along with to shown the original severity. This is especially important where you have been left with scarring as a result of the injuries you sustained.
Keep a diary of events
We would always recommend that you keep a diary or log of events, recalling not only the circumstances leading up to the accident (i.e. in the case of road traffic accidents, the weather conditions on the day of the accident, visibility levels and the speed of the flow of traffic) but also events immediately following the accident (i.e. conversations with witnesses, conversations with other party/employer and phone calls made to and received from your GP, insurance companies).
If you have required assistance from family or friends, or if they have visited you in hospital, you should record their assistance, noting the things you need help with and who is providing that help each day or each week (e.g. if you need assistance with collecting shopping, or household chores, or getting to and from hospital to treatment appointments). You should ensure that you keep copies of any letters received in relation to your accident, such as letters from insurance companies, and send these promptly to your solicitor.
Out of pocket expenses
Another type of important documentation which you will need to produce, relates to your claim for any out of pocket expenses you have incurred as a result of your accident. These out of pocket expenses may include items such as the cost of painkillers and prescription charges, loss of earnings due to having to take time off work to recuperate and the cost of any recommended treatment, such as physiotherapy. To support your claim for these items you will need to produce the relevant receipts, payslips and invoices to send to the other party insurance company.
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