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What is a personal injury claim?

A personal injury claim is a legal case you can open if you've been hurt in an accident and it was someone else's fault. It's the formal process of recovering compensation from the other party who was responsible for your injury. This will usually come from their insurance company. There are no upfront costs and you pay nothing if your claim is unsuccessful. This is called a no win no fee agreement.

Typically, you can make an injury claim if you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of accident in the following circumstances

  • You were injured within the last three years
  • The injury resulted in you suffering financially as well as physically
  • The injury was clearly caused wholly or partly by somebody else

Nobody expects to be injured and it can be a real shock to the system if it happens. That's why we're proud of our 25 years' experience helping people after they've been involved in an accident. We offer free, impartial advice about personal injury compensation and can guide you through the first important steps of making your claim. There's no pressure and no rush. The decision is always yours. If you choose to go ahead, we'll introduce you to one of our expert personal injury solicitors.

If you've suffered an injury and it feels wrong, contact us today to see how we can help make it right. Either complete our simple call back form or call us direct on . Our friendly, professional advisors are available 7 days a week.

How do I pay for a personal injury claim?

no win no fee arrangement is the contract between you and your personal injury lawyer.

  • If your lawyer wins the claim, you pay them
  • Typically, this is up to 25% of the compensation secured
  • This figure can vary slightly either way depending on the claim circumstances
  • It will only be deducted when your compensation is paid
  • There are no upfront costs and no hidden charges

If you don't win your claim, you pay nothing to anyone.

  • Your lawyer may need to arrange insurance for you to ensure claiming is risk free
  • You'll never be left out of pocket - that's our guarantee
A personal injury can be a physical or psychological injury, illness or disease caused by an accident or negligence that wasn't your fault.

What is a personal injury?

A personal injury can be a physical or psychological injury, illness or disease caused by an accident or negligence that wasn't your fault.


According to the Association of British Insurers, the average claim for physical injury after a road traffic accident in 2017 was just over £10,300.

How much compensation might I receive?

There are two types of compensation (damages) in a personal injury claim.

  • General damages compensate you for the pain and suffering of your injuries and the impact they've had on your life.
  • Special damages reimburse you for any financial losses you incurred as a direct result of your accident.

The amount you could be paid depends on your injury or illness, its severity and effect on your life. When you claim through us, we'll select a solicitor with the right experience for your circumstances. They will assess every aspect of your experience so that we can make sure you are fully compensated.

General damages for the immediate pain and physical suffering is only one side of the story. Your approved solicitor will also take into consideration special damages such as:

  • Time off work and any lost earnings
  • Any loss to your future income
  • Any impacts on your ability to work
  • Psychological damage
  • Personal help or care you've had; even if it was given voluntarily (or still is) by family and friends
  • Any modifications you've had (or may need) to your car or home
  • Any medical care costs, treatment travel or accommodation expenses
  • Any rehabilitation programmes prescribed to you by a medical professional
  • The daily extra expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident

You won't have a firm idea of the possible compensation you could receive until negotiations have begun between your solicitor and the other party (typically their insurance company). Nevertheless, we have 25 years' knowhow achieving positive personal injury outcomes for our customers.

Why not try our compensation calculator? If you don't feel ready to contact us yet, it'll give you a rough indication of what to expect.

Below are some example injury categories and the range of general damages provided by law. They range from minor injuries to the extremely severe. The guidelines are set by the Judicial College, part of the Ministry of Justice. Your solicitor will discuss damages with you during your consultation.

Guide amount
Head injury
£1,760 - £322,060
Facial injury
£1,360 - £322,060
£10,040 - £87,410
£300 - £6,290 (with recovery in 1-2 years)
Moderate shoulder injury
£6,290 - £10,180
Back injury causing permanent symptoms
£9,970 - £22,130
Hip or pelvis injury
£3,150 - £104,370
Fractured forearm
£5,280 - £15,300
Wrist injury
£2,810 - £47,720
£2,710 - £19,260
Ankle injury
£10,960 - £55,560
Read more FAQs

Is there a time limit for making my personal injury claim?

Yes, there is. You have three years from the date of the injury incident (or when you originally noticed your condition or it was first diagnosed). There's a formal administrative procedure your personal injury lawyer must follow to register the compensation claim. If you're nearing the three-year deadline, call us on without delay.

There are some exceptions to the three-year limit. These are:

  • Psychological trauma: if the claimant has suffered a brain injury that has seriously impaired their function, there is no time limit
  • Children: a parent or guardian can claim on behalf of a child at any time until they are 18. If no claim has been made by that point, that child - now legally an adult - has three years until their 21st birthday to make a claim

Do I qualify to make a personal injury claim?

Anyone can make a claim after being injured in an accident that was someone else's fault. The easiest way to find out if you're eligible to make a claim is to call us on  for a confidential chat.

We'll listen to everything you tell us and freely give you the best advice we can. We'll never rush you, nor pressure you to start the claims process. Our job is to give you the support and help you need - at your pace and in your own way.

Sometimes we hear from people who've picked up an injury in an accident but dismiss it. We also talk with people who have been injured but don't realise that it's more serious than they think. You may have had to take time off work to recover. If you're still seeing a doctor or being treated for an old accident injury, then give us a call.

We have 25 years' experience helping people make personal injury claims. We'll be able to let you know whether we think you could make a claim. It's up to you if you'd like us to take the next step and pair you with one of our personal injury solicitors.

If you don't feel ready to speak to us, then try our compensation claim calculator.

How do I start a personal injury claim?

If you think you may have grounds for a personal injury claim, first take advice.

  • Contact our friendly, legally-trained advisors in confidence when you're ready
  • We'll listen carefully to your circumstances and let you know if you could be eligible to make a personal injury claim
  • We'll then explain the options so you can make an informed decision about what to do next

If we think you have grounds for a compensation claim, it's your choice whether or not to go ahead. If you do, we'll then pair you with one of our specialist personal injury solicitors. We can usually do this on the same call if that suits you.

Your solicitor will let you know if they can take on your claim. If they do, they'll explain what happens next and the charges you pay from your compensation if you win. Once you're both happy to proceed - and only then - they'll start collecting the evidence to build your case.

Will making an accident injury claim take up much of my time?

Not usually. We strive to make your claim hassle-free. This includes making sure it doesn't take up lots of your time. The solicitor we pair you with will do all the legal heavy-lifting. This enables you to concentrate on the important things like recovering from your accident. All you need to do is provide the information they need as promptly as you can. Sign and return documentation quickly and be ready to attend any medical assessment they book for you.

How does the personal injury claims process work?

We carefully select the solicitors we work with and keep a close eye on their service standards. They'll handle everything for you and keep you in touch with your claim's progress. All you need to do is follow their advice and share the information they need from you in a timely fashion.

Step 1: assessment

You may already have taken the first steps and talked with one of our legally trained advisors. This is the point when we assess whether you've got a valid claim - if you have, we explain your options. If you decide to go ahead with your accident injury claim, we'll then match you with the right solicitor for your claim type.

Step 2: consultation

To double-check your eligibility, your solicitor will examine all the facts and assess how the accident has affected you. This may include collecting evidence that will support your claim, such as photographs and medical records.

Step 3: submission

Your solicitor submits your claim and the precise details to the other side (also called ‘the defendant'). This formally notifies the person or organisation you believe is to blame for your injury.

Step 4: negotiation

Your claim moves through the stages set by the Ministry of Justice. The other side may accept or deny liability. Your solicitor talks with the other side and negotiates on your behalf. If they can't reach an agreement or the other side denies liability, the claim may go to a hearing at court. A hearing before a judge is a pretty rare occurrence.

Step 5: finalisation

Your claim is settled - either by negotiation or, in a small minority of cases, in court. Succeed and you receive the compensation you deserve. You'll pay your solicitor from your compensation. This amount is typically slightly less or slightly more than 25% of your damages payment. Lose your accident injury claim and you pay nothing under no win no fee terms.

Who actually pays the compensation?

It's the other side's insurance company that pays the compensation. People sometimes worry that if they're claiming against their employer or even someone they may know, then a claim will leave that other person out of pocket. This isn't the case. All employers, just like anyone else you may be claiming against (other drivers for example - or perhaps your local council), are legally obliged to have insurance to cover any claims made against them.

What types of accident and personal injury can I claim for?

Personal injury is a broad term that applies to many different kinds of accident.

We're the UK's most trusted and recommended personal injury advice service. We're also committed to giving you free, impartial and jargon-free advice that's unique to your accident experience.

Listed below are the most common types of personal injury claims with which we work. We've also included some handy links if you'd like to explore more.

Road traffic accidents (RTA)

In a car accident that was someone else's fault, you claim for vehicle damage on the responsible party's motor insurance policy. The cost of fixing your car (or replacing it if it was written-off) is covered by the other party's insurance.

But what about the cost to your health if you were hurt?

An insurance claim doesn't cover any lost earnings, injury treatment costs or the pain and stress caused by your accident. It doesn't matter if you were the driver, a passenger, pedestrian or cyclist.

If you were injured in a road accident that wasn't your fault, then it's likely we can help you make a claim.

Read more about road traffic accidents.

Accidents at work

Your employer is responsible for your safety at work. They're legally required to make your workplace and the tasks you carry out as safe as possible. They must also train you properly and provide you with any necessary personal protection equipment (PPE) you need for the job.

Suffering an accident at work can be stressful. It may have left you feeling anxious about your job and worried about your finances. Such worries can make your recovery even more difficult. It's worth remembering that both health and safety at work legislation and UK employment law is firmly on your side in an accident case. They protect your rights, especially if you are feeling wary about pursuing a claim against your employer.

With 25 years' experience handling workplace personal injury claims with our specialist solicitors, we can help you make it right. Find out more about work accident claims in detail.

Slips, trips and falls

It's a common misconception that slips, trips and falls generally mean minor injuries like cuts or scrapes. In fact, slips, trips or falls form a significant portion of the personal injury cases we work with. They can cause serious harm like broken bones, spinal injuries or head and brain trauma.

There's no need to feel embarrassed if you've fallen in public - accidents happen. The owner of the premises you fell in has a duty to maintain the area and keep you safe. If they've failed to do this, then your accident was the result of negligence and could have been prevented.

Find out more about injury compensation after a slip, trip or fall.

Fatal or life-changing injuries

Sometimes we're contacted by the loved ones of somebody who has suffered a fatal accident or a catastrophic injury. We understand how overwhelming it can be to lose someone close to you - or see them badly injured.

At such a difficult time, we're here to offer pressure-free advice. We can't take away what you've been through. However, the compensation you could receive may help to provide your nearest and dearest with the support they need. For example, it could help to pay for home adaptations and ongoing medical treatment.

For more information, we recommend reading our serious injuries page or reading through our serious injuries FAQs.

Alternatively, you can call us for free and impartial accident claims advice on . We're good listeners and we'll never push you to take any steps with which you are uncomfortable.

Medical negligence

If you've suffered through any form of medical negligence, we can help you. It can stem from incorrect medical, dental or ophthalmological (eye) treatment.

You can be eligible to make a medical negligence claim in several ways:

  • A failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis that harms you or worsens an existing condition
  • An error during surgery that injures you or exacerbates a pre-existing condition
  • The misprescription of medication or any other form of incorrect treatment that causes you harm

Your life may even have been put at risk; we can help you to make it right.

You may also be able to make a personal injury claim for any negligent medical treatment that left you in pain for longer than you should have been.

Visit our medical negligence page for more information.

What makes a successful personal injury claim?

In short, it's clear and compelling evidence that establishes beyond doubt that the other side's negligence caused your accident injury - either wholly or in part. If you and the other side both bear responsibility, this is called shared negligence. Your personal injury solicitor's job is to build an accurate claim that secures the full amount of compensation you deserve. 

The stronger that evidence is, the more likely the other side's insurers will admit liability at the beginning. This will speed up the time it takes to settle your claim considerably. Even if the other side denies liability, a sound claim with good evidence stands a good chance of being settled in negotiation.

That's why it's always important to be totally honest with the evidence. Sometimes people do try and ‘game' the system by embellishing the truth. It's a fool's errand. It can lead to a claimant being found to be ‘fundamentally dishonest'. If that happens, a solicitor can withdraw from the claim and charge for the time they've spent. It may also lead to contempt of court proceedings.

What do I do about rehabilitation?

The solicitor handling your personal injury claim will sort out all the rehabilitation you need if you need it. The medical assessment they arrange for you will state any further treatment you may need. The cost of it will form part of the ‘special damages' element of the compensation you receive if the claim succeeds. It'll make sure the costs of any and all ongoing treatment you need is paid for by the other side.

Can I switch lawyers if I'm unhappy with the personal injury claim service I'm getting?

You can, but only if you have reasonable grounds for switching. If you've got any concerns with how your personal injury claim is being handled, raise them with your solicitor first. A good solicitor will make every effort to address them.

If they can't sort things out and you're still unhappy, get a second opinion from another law firm. You're within your rights to do so. You won't be charged for that second opinion.

We regularly and carefully track the service standards of all the solicitors we work with. This goes a long way to helping ensure you don't experience such unwanted problems.

Helpful tips when making a personal injury claim

Collect as much information and evidence as you can

Good detail and accurate records will help your solicitor build the case for your personal injury claim. The specialist solicitor we pair you with will need to know all the really important basic information. This includes:

  • Names and contact details of everybody involved - including witnesses if there were any
  • Registration numbers of vehicles involved if it was a road traffic accident
  • The location of the accident, where you suffered your injury and what type of injury it was. For instance: road accident, trip, slip or fall, medical negligence and so on
  • The date, time and details of your accident (especially if it was an accident in the workplace)
  • The names and wards of the doctors or medical staff who treated you in hospital or at your local GP practice
  • Dates and times of any subsequent visits to see medical professionals
  • Any extra expenses you (or family members) incurred as a result of the accident. Keep a log and keep the receipts. These could be items like travel and/or accommodation expenses while attending medical appointments. Your solicitor will use these in your claim

Record your injury details

We all recover from injuries in different ways and at different speeds. Taking photos and recording your symptoms in a diary as you recover will paint a clear picture of your injuries. Good quality close-up images are very helpful - especially if you've suffered a facial injury. If the injuries are hard to reach - say on the back - ask a trusted friend or family member to help.

It's also very useful to get statements from witnesses or friends and family after the accident. This is particularly relevant to your claim if they've helped you recover or get about while you've been injured.

Be organised

As your compensation claim progresses, it's likely you'll be asked for specific dates relating to your accident. If you haven't jotted down the key dates and times already, it's a good idea to record them as soon as you can. That way they'll be ready to hand over when your personal injury solicitor needs them.

Letters and documents that relate to your accident and injury will almost certainly help add the extra detail needed. Please make sure you keep any relevant correspondence somewhere safe.

Dr Hilary Jones

Dr Hilary Jones is a medical broadcaster and GP

I've been a GP for over 40 years and have treated thousands of patients. Recovering after a personal injury isn't just about the physical recuperation - it's about bouncing back mentally too.

Whether a person is hurt on the road, at work or in a slip or fall, how they then react to the aftermath has a direct bearing upon the speed and extent of their recovery.

Dr Hilary Jones

Medical broadcaster and GP
Leah Usher - Customer Quality Manager, National Accident Law

Leah Usher is the Customer Quality Manager at National Accident Law, one of our specialist personal injury law firms.

Law firms are rightly held to the highest standards of professional conduct in everything they do. That includes customer service.

People starting a personal injury claim after an accident can often feel vulnerable and stressed by their experience - as well as being in pain.

A key part of our job is to make the claims process as compassionate, efficient and unobtrusive as possible while our customers concentrate on recovery.

Leah Usher

Customer Quality Manager, National Accident Law
Ben drinking coffee

We helped Ben get back in the water after he was injured at work. Here's his story …

I was in agony … if you have something you love doing and you can't do it anymore, it does hit you.

More than anything, National Accident Helpline were really friendly and understood everything I was going through. It was really easy.

It's nice to have someone that you can contact and help you through it.


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