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Personal Injury Glossary

Barrister

Legal representatives who specialise in specific areas of law. They provide expert advice on points of law and attend Court on behalf of the parties involved in a legal dispute.

Catastrophic Injury

A catastrophic injury is a life changing injury. It can leave a person with a permanent disability. Examples include: paralysis, spinal cord injury, severe head and brain injury, amputation, severe burns and multiple fractures

Causation

In addition to proving that a third party was responsible for their injury, a Claimant has to show that their injury was caused by that accident.

Claim

Your demand for financial compensation for damages relating to your personal injury and subsequent losses. These can include loss of earnings, vehicle related losses, care, services etc.

Claim Form

The legal document submitted to the Court to begin Court proceedings.

Compensation

The remedy or monetary award received at the end of a claim for pain and suffering and any other consequential/ losses arising.

Contributory Negligence

Where behaviour by the Claimant was partially responsible for the harm caused as a result of the Defendant's negligence.

Costs

Legal fees incurred during the course of pursuing a claim for compensation.

Court Fees

The Court charge court fees on a scale relating to the potential value of a claim for starting the Court action. Further fees are payable at various stages throughout the Court action.

Court of Appeal

The Court of Law that hears appeals against both civil and criminal judgements from the Crown Courts, High Court and County Courts.

Defective Premises

Poorly constructed or poorly maintained buildings. If you have been involved in an accident because of this your landlord or builder may be at fault.

Defence

A statement from the Defendant in respect to the Claimant's version of events

Disbursements

Monies that must be paid out during the claim for things like obtaining medical records, expert reports, court fees etc.

Employers Liability

Where an accident occurs at work, employers can potentially be held liable for an accident arising out of the general course of employment.

Fatal Accident Act 1976

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 is an Act of Parliament that allows relatives of people killed by the wrongdoing of others to recover damages

General Damages

Money paid to compensate for pain, suffering disability or reduction in quality of life.

Interim Payment

An amount paid by the Defendant to the Claimant whilst the claim is ongoing. The payment will make up part of any compensation received in full and final settlement of a claim and will be reduced from any compensation received at the end of a claim. It can be requested by either the Claimant or the Court.

Joint Settlement Meeting

This is a meeting where the Claimant and their Solicitors or Barrister attend a meeting with the Defendant and their representatives to see if an agreement can be reached regarding the outstanding issues in the claim and to see if settlement can be achieved.

Judgment

A decision by the Court.

Judicial Studies Board Guidelines

These are broad guidelines which are updated annually to help assess the value of an injury.

A form of insurance policy which covers policyholders against the potential costs of bringing a legal action against a party.

Liability

A legal responsibility or obligation.

Limitation Period

The time limit someone has to bring a legal action. In a personal injury case, a person generally has 3 years from the date of an accident to bring a claim. Children under the age of 18 in personal injury cases have 3 years from the date they turn 18 to bring a claim.

Litigation

The process of taking a case to Court.

Litigation Friend

Where a claimant is under the age of 18 and suffers from a mental illness, they require a trusted person to assist in their legal action. A litigation friend makes vital decisions in respect of a claim brought by such a person.

Motor Insurers Bureau

A scheme operated by the insurance industry to provide compensation to the victims of negligent uninsured or untraceable motorists.

Negligence

A breach in the common law duty of care will often be an act of negligence. If there is an injury as a result of the negligence, a claim for compensation may be pursued.

Occupational Disease

An illness contracted in the workplace.

Occupiers Liability

The legal responsibility of a person for people who enter his or her land or building.

Particulars of Claim

The document submitted to the Court outlining the basis, both legally and factually, on which the claim is made.

Product Liability

The responsibility of a manufacturer or seller of goods for injury caused by defective products that it has provided for sale.

Protective Proceedings

When a claim is nearing it's "limitation period" Court proceedings can be issued protectively. This prevents the claim from being time barred.

Public Liability

The legal responsibility of the owner or occupier for people who enter his or her land or property. Most public liability claims are in relation to people who have slipped or tripped due to the owner of the property not fulfilling their responsibility.

RTA Claims Process

A process for dealing with road traffic accident claims between £1,000 and £25,000. The process uses an online system for the Claimant and Defendant parties to negotiate settlement with set deadlines, allowing quicker transfer of documents and information and lowering of legal costs.

Schedule of Loss

This is a schedule completed by the Claimant which sets out all of the financial and other losses for which compensation is claimed.

Special Damages

Money paid to cover actual out of pocket costs such as loss of earnings, loss of pension, damage to a car, clothing, medical bills etc.

Statement of Truth

A signed statement found at the bottom of all Court documents. It is a statement by the parties that they believe the facts they have put in the document are true.

Statutory Awards for Bereavement

This is a payment made following the death of a person in an accident or illness due to the fault, in whole, or in part, by another.

Supreme Court

The highest judicial Court in the country. The final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases.

Time Bar

When the limitation period for bringing a claim has passed. After this time, it is no longer possible to bring a legal action.

Witness

A person who can give a first-hand account of something heard, seen or experienced.

Witness Statement

A statement provided by a witness.

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