When a loved one has suffered a serious or fatal injury, it is likely to result in one of the most difficult times that you and your family will ever have to face.
Thompsons understand this, which is why we approach every case of this nature with the deepest sense of empathy and sensitivity.
Our solicitors have all the experience to help you receive the compensation you deserve. We hope that by helping you seek justice, you will find it easier to cope with this distressing time and, eventually, be able to carry on with your life.
Serious and fatal injury claims are a complex area of personal injury law. Here we answer some of the most common questions our clients ask us before starting their claim.
Who will pay the cost of compensation?
Forwork accident claims, in all but the most exceptional of circumstances compensation will be paid from the Employers Liability Insurance of yours or the accident victim's employer. All Scottish employers are required by law to have such a policy in place.
If the fatal or severe injury was caused in a road accident, then the liable driver's motor insurer will be the one to pay. If the responsible driver is found to have no insurance, then the claim will have to be made through the Motor Insurers Bureau.
Can I claim on behalf a deceased family member?
It is possible to claim compensation on behalf of a family member killed in work, car, medical, military or asbestos related incident. However, the claim must be brought within three years of the date of death. Similarly, following a serious injury if the pursuer dies while making a claim, the estate can continue it on his or her behalf.
Can a claim be made even when the employer has ceased to trade?
Yes, this is because claims are made against insurers rather than the employers themselves. In the UK, it is a legal requirement for all employers – even if their staff comprises just one person – to have Employers Liability insurance. Even if the employer has gone out of business, Thompsons' team of dedicated lawyers should be able to trace the liability insurers.
Can claims be made on a No Win No Fee basis?
Regardless of whether you are someone who has suffered a serious injury in an accident or whether you are the relative or partner of a person who has suffered a fatal accident, Thompsons has developed a No Win No Fee agreement package that ensures you have the best possible chance of obtaining justice while achieving the maximum possible settlement.
Under the terms of our No Win No Fee agreement you will have nothing to pay unless your case proves to be successful.
How much compensation will be awarded?
The value of a claim will always depend on the extent and severity of injuries sustained.
As such, claims for serious and fatal injury are usually settled for much larger sums than for claims involving less serious injuries.
A claim for serious injury will look at the extent of the injury and how much pain and suffering it has caused the individual. These are known as general damages, also referred to as solatium in Scottish law.
Serious injuries include spinal injuries, brain injuries, and those which require the amputation of a limb. The amount awarded for solatium will vary greatly based on the extent of the suffering, so it is hard to predict an exact figure. But here are some general guidelines:
- A spinal injury which has led to paralysis: In the range of £73,700 to £130,130.
- An injury resulting in the loss of one arm: In the range of £73,100 to £99,500
- An injury resulting in the loss of both arms: In the range of £183,000 to £228,000
- An injury resulting in the loss of one leg: In the range of ££74,475 to £104,500
- An injury resulting in the loss of both legs: In the range of £183,000 to £214,350
- An injury resulting in brain damage: In the range of £32,725 to £307,000
Keep in mind the above only applies to the amount awarded for solatium. Claims for serious injury may also include damages sums for adaptations to the home, specialist equipment, medical bills and loss of earnings – these are known as special damages, or patrimonial loss.
Claims for fatal injury may include sums for loss of dependency (past and future) as well as for other needs such as counselling and pre-death medical expenses.
In the case of calculating figures for loss of support, the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 states that a fixed percentage (75 percent) of the deceased's net should be used to calculate the loss of support claimed by any dependents. However, it is possible to challenge this fixed figure in cases where it can be demonstrated that it would produce "a manifestly and materially unfair result".
For more Frequently Asked Questions, please click on the links below:
What is a bereavement award and who is entitled to it?
Under the Damages (Scotland) Act 2011 relatives of those who have suffered a fatal accident in Scotland are entitled to claim a "bereavement award" (also called a "claim of society").
Eligible relatives include members of the deceased's immediate family such as the following:
- Civil partners
Even if you are not eligible for a bereavement award, as a relative of someone who suffered a fatal accident in Scotland you may be able to make a claim for loss of support and funeral costs: unlike in England and Wales all cases are looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Will my case go to court?
Although it is possible that your case will go to the court, not all cases do. Although most personal injury claims end with some form of out-of-court resolution, claims for serious and fatal injury are generally of higher value so are more likely to result in courtroom litigation.
How much will it cost to fund my claim?
There are various funding options available to Thompsons' clients. However, it is worth bearing in mind that we offer No Win No Fee funding. This means that unless you win your case, you can rest assured that you will not have to pay to fund your claim in any way.
What are the time limits for serious and fatal accident claims?
The personal injury accident claim time limit is three years. However, in cases where it took time for your injury to develop, the time limit begins three years from the date of diagnosis.
Additionally, if the claimant has lost mental capacity, the time limit does not begin until the time he or she regains this capacity.
In cases of fatal accident, claimants have three years from the date of death or three years from the date at which the cause of death became known.
Can Thompsons assist with an FAI?
Yes, Thompsons can help assist with many matters relating to Fatal Accident Inquiries and give support, advice and guidance throughout the process.
Can I still claim state benefits?
In many cases you can still claim state benefits even while being the recipient of personal injury accident compensation. Furthermore, Thompsons' personal injury solicitors can help you establish a personal injury trust so that you can manage your finances in the way that is convenient for you.
Is it possible to seek an early stage interim settlement to help me cope with the immediate costs of my injury?
At Thompsons, we understand that interim payments are absolutely crucial in serious injury cases. A personal injury claim can take several years to reach a conclusion. Expecting you to wait this amount of time before receiving any compensation is obviously unreasonable. If you've been seriously injured because of another person, then you should not be made to wait to receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, certain treatments and therapies are not always available on the NHS.
This is why interim payments are sought to help pay for the immediate expenses, such as for the funding of special aids, treatments, and rehabilitation services. If you require urgent care, then our lawyers will seek the interim payments you deserve while the final sum is still being calculated
How will we prove liability?
Most accident claims are proven on the basis of medical records, witness statements and official workplace health and safety documentation. In the case of most serious and fatal injury accidents at work, there will be a health and safety investigation and, if the employer is found to have been negligent, there may also be a prosecution.
What if I was partially liable?
Accidents can have different contributing factors, and it's possible that you may feel something you did contributed to your own injuries. Because of this, you might be concerned that the chances of your claim being successful are harmed. However, this is rarely the case. So if, for instance, you did not follow the exact safety instructions given to you by your employer and fear this will lead to the courts dismissing your claim, try talking to Thompsons first. The law is still likely to be very much on your side. Before any partial responsibility is placed on you, it must be proven by the other party that your actions were not the result of mere inadvertence but of negligence.
If the other party is able to prove with evidence that your negligent actions contributed to your injury, then the courts will determine how liable you are and split the compensation accordingly For example, if you are found to be 50 percent responsible for your injuries you will receive 50 percent of the damages you would have otherwise received; if you are found to be 25 percent responsible you will receive 75 percent of the damages.
Can I claim if I live outside of Scotland?
Yes. Many of our claimants now live abroad in locations such as France, South Africa and Australia. If you lived or worked in Scotland before you moved overseas, or to another part of the UK you can bring a claim for compensation in the usual way.
How do I make a claim with Thompsons following a serious or fatal accident
Our experienced team is ready to take your call about a serious or fatal injury accident. We understand the sensitive nature of these circumstances and you can rest assured that we will never pressure you into going forward with a claim.
Call us on 0800 0891 331 or fill in our contact form so we can discuss your situation and to find out how we could support you and your family at this difficult time.