Making a claim

Businessman Is Signing A Contract Business Contract DetailsBringing a formal complaint

If you decide to make a formal complaint, the person or organisation that you think is responsible for your injury may give you a detailed explanation of what went wrong. They may also offer an apology and admit they were at fault.

The next step

If you go through their complaints procedure and are still not happy with their response, you may decide to take legal action. You must take legal action within three years from the date of the accident, or three years from the date you first became aware that the accident had caused an injury. But if the injury is the result of a breach of contract, for example a term in your contract of employment, then you have six years to make claim. If you try to make a claim outside either of these time periods, then the court will reject it.  

If you decide to go to court or tribunal, you can act for yourself or contact a solicitor, claims company or specialist charity to represent you.

The first thing you need to do is write to the person or organisation responsible, detailing your injury. Before sending this letter, you may want to obtain an expert opinion.

Once the letter is sent:

  1. The person or organisation responsible, known as the defendant, must reply to your letter within three months.
  2. If the defendant accepts liability, you can negotiate the amount of compensation in an out-of-court settlement. But even if they do not accept liability, they may still want to make an out-of-court settlement to avoid the hassle of going to court.   
  3. If the defendant does not accept liability or you cannot agree about the amount of compensation, you can go to court. Negotiations for an out-of-court settlement can still carry on even if you have begun legal action.

You can protect your position in a dispute by marking correspondence as “without prejudice”, so that the judge will not penalise you for seeking more compensation in court than what you were willing to settle for outside of court.

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