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Personal injury claims Scotland - a guide

When you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence you need the help of a specialist personal injury solicitor, that’s where we come in.

We opened our doors in Scotland in 1907 and have been helping people like you access justice and fight for fair compensation for many, many years. In the past five years alone we have achieved over £500 million in rightful compensation to victims of road traffic, work-related, industrial diseases and many other accident types.

All that experience means that we really understand what you are going through but more importantly, we know what to do to help you get back to a position where you have not suffered financially. After all, that is the point of personal injury law - a financial payment in compensation for your loss and suffering. 

It isn’t all about money however, it is about you getting better or as better as you can be through access to medical expertise, and immediate treatment which can be helpful with your rehabilitation and is designed to aid in quicker recovery. 

What exactly is a personal injury claim?

“Personal Injury” is a legal term used for when you have been injured in an accident by the “negligence” of someone else or some organisation. It can take many forms including “illness” which might be where someone has been exposed to dangerous materials or chemicals. Of course, at the time you might not know that they are harmful.

The key word here is “negligence”; in simple terms, it means liability or fault. In other words, someone is to blame for what happened. 

In many cases, liability is straightforward to establish, for example, if a car drove into you, it was clearly their fault. However, for many accidents, it is difficult to establish whether there was a fault and where that fault lies.

Establishing negligence is the first part of any personal injury claim. The second and often far more complex is establishing the amount of compensation which is appropriate. 

This is where the help of an expert personal injury lawyer is crucial, no two people and no two injuries are the same, in terms of calculating your loss. It totally depends on who you are, what you do and how long you will take to recover.  

What counts as negligence?

For a personal injury claim to be possible there needs to be evidence that shows the accident happened because someone, or something, failed to do what was expected and therefore caused the problem which led to the injury.

Negligence can therefore be boiled down to a few core principles:

  • Someone should have done something but didn’t
  • Someone should not have done something but did
  • Someone knew a risk or hazard existed but failed to address it
  • A device did not operate as it should have

If failures like these led to the accident that injured you then we think it is definitely worth considering your options to claim compensation, sometimes referred to as “damages”.

No win, no fee personal injury solicitors

The expression “No win, no fee” is often used in personal injury cases.  It is used as a way of funding a compensation claim where the accident victim does not have the means to pay for the costs involved as the case progresses. 

A number of solicitors are prepared to handle personal injury cases on a “No Win – No Fee” basis but very few are able to offer their clients complete protection if the case is unsuccessful. 

In that event, the client could end up being liable for many thousands of pounds in legal expenses or the case won't be fully investigated and therefore likely to under-settle.

Compensate 'no win, no fee' funding

Digby Brown has its own funding company, Compensate, which provides the funding to allow the case to be fully investigated, employ the best experts surrounding the circumstances of the accident and/or injuries sustained and where and if necessary go to court.

If for whatever reason the case is unsuccessful, Compensate pays all your legal expenses and those of your opponent – you pay nothing

On average our clients receive over 3 times the pre-litigation offer

Because of Compensate funding Digby Brown's success rate is extremely high and on average our clients receive three times the pre-litigation offer.

In the event the case is successful, a small percentage of your damages will be deducted with VAT to pay for this service. The percentage which Compensate will charge depends on the degree of risk involved. We believe that this is the fairest method of giving clients access to justice whilst ensuring their cases are fully investigated, prepared and funded.

Don’t take our word for it, just read many of the court decisions and case studies on our website.

Beware of compensation offers which may be too good

We know you will have seen many adverts offering 100% compensation or telling you that you will not lose any of your compensation, however we believe there are a number of problems with companies that do this.

  • How do they make their money if they don’t charge you anything?
  • If they aren’t taking any money from you, the client, what incentive do they have to ensure you receive the right level of compensation, appropriate to the injuries you have sustained?
  • Fully preparing a case, finding out exactly what happened and what the consequences of your injuries may mean in the long term, is expensive, how do they do this properly?
  • If they aren’t fully preparing these cases will they just accept the first offer they are given on your behalf by the Insurance company?
  • It makes simple business sense, the less work they do the higher their profit margin is - they simply have no incentive to work harder on your behalf.
  • These adverts in the main are from English firms on national television which operates in a different way and therefore wouldn’t apply to a Scottish person.

We know from the many client cases we mandate from other firms of solicitors (in the main at the request of the client who is extremely unsatisfied with the service received for the other firm) that many shortcuts are taken in preparation and that the first offer received is being recommended for acceptance, regardless of the value. 

Getting something for nothing is usually the first sign of poor service.

Correct level of compensation with Digby Brown

Our experience and statistics show time and time again we will achieve the correct level of compensation which will be substantially more than the insurer is initially prepared to offer.

Even after we have deducted our percentage as a success fee you will gain considerably more than you would have achieved using a 100% compensation model.

Contact Digby Brown's personal injury solicitors

We have offices across Scotland in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Kirkcaldy, Inverness, Aberdeen and Ayr.

For further information about no win, no fee, or anything else, call us on 0333 200 5925 or fill in our enquiry form below and someone will get back in touch with you.

How to make a personal injury claim?

A key aspect of building a strong case to ensure you get rightful compensation is gathering all the right evidence.

Below are a few of the important steps that could prove to be vital in the future should you make a personal injury claim:

  1. Make sure you are safe
    Having an accident can leave you feeling confused. It is important to remember that the first priority is always everyone’s safety, so if anything happens, please make sure everyone involved is safe, and seek medical attention and treatment. These medical treatment records can be used as evidence in your claim.

     
  2. Report the accident
    You should report the accident to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
    This would be the police if you've had a road traffic accident or your employer if it's a workplace accident as this also counts as evidence to support your claim. 

    Don't leave it too long as there's a chance that some details may be lost, which in turn means that the party you believe to be in the wrong may get away without any consequences for their actions or negligence.
     
  3. Get evidence
    When making a claim, it is important to present as much evidence as possible. Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of those involved or who witnessed the accident. You should never admit fault or apologise, as rude as this sounds, it could be taken as accepting blame for the accident and used against you. Always be polite, it is a stressful situation.

     
  4. Contact Digby Brown
    Once you’ve contacted Digby Brown, a solicitor will be assigned your case to help and guide you every step of the way.
  • Road traffic accidents affect all road users including drivers, passengers (including public transport), pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and commercial drivers.
  • Workplace accidents happen in all sectors but we most commonly see cases in construction, farming, warehouses, factories, offshore workers and office staff.
  • Accidents abroad do not just apply to holidaymakers – they apply to anyone travelling outside Scotland (even for work purposes) and also foreign nationals visiting Scotland.
  • Asbestos related diseases including pleural plaques, mesothelioma and asbestosis
  • Industrial diseases, chemical spills, respiratory problems, and anything which is due to exposure to harmful risks in the workplace and beyond.
  • Accidents in public places where people are hurt in areas like shops, restaurants, pavements or car parks.
  • Defective products where people are hurt because of faulty or broken items.
  • Historical abuse where people were subjected to all forms of physical and mental abuse while they have been under someone’s care.
  • Clinical/Medical Negligence where failings in medical care have led to patients suffering injuries.

Serious injuries claims and fatal circumstances

Personal injury law in Scotland covers every aspect of injury and in the worst case, where a death has occurred as a result of an unexpected event. 

Digby Brown has a dedicated department that deals with serious injuries relating to brain injuries and spinal injuries including amputation

When someone dies as a result of potential negligence then Partners across the firm’s seven offices will deal directly with the family with regard to finding answers and seeking help in a time of tragedy.

Find out more about
Fatal Accident Legal Help.

How long do you have to make a claim?

Many people rightly focus on their physical and emotional recovery after an accident however it’s important to be aware that in Scotland, a person generally has three years from the date of an accident to make a claim.

It is important to note that three years is a general rule, and many cases have shorter time limits. The most important thing you can do is get in touch as quickly as possible and we can advise you on the length of time you have to make an accident claim.

If a claim is not raised within the time limit the case will become ‘time barred’ and you may lose your right to recover damages. 

How to prove a personal injury claim?

Establishing negligence and liability is typically the first part of any personal injury claim investigation. The second, and often more difficult part, is working out how much compensation would be fair.

For a personal injury claim to be possible there needs to be evidence that shows the accident happened because someone, or something, failed to do what was expected and caused the problem which led to the injury.

This is why an expert personal injury lawyer is so crucial. They have the knowledge to recover all sorts of evidence that can be used to help build your injury claim like:

  • Medical records
  • Police reports
  • CCTV footage
  • Workplace accident books
  • Witness statements

The compensation you receive has to be properly calculated, justified and proven with precise and thorough calculations that are then backed up by supporting evidence. Your final compensation payment is actually the total value of smaller sums known as ‘heads of claim’ which may include:

  • Your personal injury (solatium) this aspect of your claim reflects the nature of the injury and compensates you for any physical pain and suffering as a result of your accident
     
  • Lost earnings – if your injury prevented you from working then we will seek to recover any lost wages and even any impact on your pension. This is often the most high-value aspect of any claim.
     
  • Medical treatment/rehabilitation – if there is evidence to show your recovery would benefit from enhanced treatment then we can add the cost of this to your case (even if it means having to go private)
     
  • Damaged belongings – if you suffered a loss of goods then this can also be recovered as part of your personal injury claim (especially important for cyclists who often wish to recover the cost of their damaged bicycles etc)
     
  • Future care needs – people who suffer serious or life-changing injuries may require ongoing support or even home adaptations as a result of an accident that wasn’t their fault. In these circumstances, your Digby Brown solicitor can include these future costs in the value of your claim.

Can I make a claim if I was at fault?

Sometimes it may not be clear who is at fault but even if you played a part in causing the accident you may still be able to make a claim.

If the evidence suggests you were partly to blame, then you may still be able to obtain compensation however your damages would be reduced to take into account the extent of your responsibility.

This percentage is known as ‘contributory negligence’ and it reflects how much you were partly to blame. For example, if evidence suggests you were 30% to blame for a car crash then your compensation would be deducted by 30%.

How much compensation will I get?

This is the most commonly asked question – not just for us, but everyone online.

We know that it’s an important question but it is also a question that is impossible to answer accurately.

To make sure you receive the right amount of compensation, we have to know about the nature of your injury, how you were injured and how your injury affected your life (and may continue to affect your life).

Every incident… every injury… every person… every aftermath… they are all unique.

Each claim needs to be investigated thoroughly and we then need to gather all the evidence.

The evidence we gather is not just about showing how the accident happened and why the other side is responsible – it’s about proving how much money you have lost as a result of your injury (whether through lost earnings, damaged belongings or ongoing treatment needs).

This is also why we do not use “personal injury” calculators because we believe there is no way such calculations could be accurate... and if they’re not accurate, then how can you ever trust the number they give to be fair?

We don’t say any of this to cause concern – only to be transparent. If you’d like to know more about how we value your case then we have a full and in-depth guide to our process.

Can I change solicitors during a personal injury claim?

If you’re unhappy with the level of support you’re getting from your personal injury solicitor, you may choose to change solicitors or law firms during your legal case. While this is sometimes difficult, it is certainly not impossible. If in doubt speak to us and we can advise you of what to do next.

Digby Brown may be able to help if:

  • You are unhappy with the level of communication
  • You are unsure if you are getting the correct advice
  • You are experiencing frequent delays or prolonged periods of inactivity
  • Your settlement will not cover your long-term care, rehabilitation costs or loss of earning or damages
  • Your current solicitors cannot or do not want to represent you anymore

Are personal injury claim taxable?

No, payments received from personal injury compensation aren’t taxable because they don’t count as income.

If you've been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault and are worried about having to pay tax on any compensation payments you receive, don't delay making a claim.

What do I do next?

To start a claim, simply call us or fill in our enquiry form. We are open seven days a week. Our legal enquiry team will be able to explain the claims process and answer any questions. They are very knowledgeable and will be able to talk to you to understand what happened, who is the best person in Digby Brown to help.

Why choose Digby Brown?

There are many reasons why you should choose Digby Brown to help you after being involved in an accident in which you were injured.

The hundreds and hundreds of five-star reviews from past clients, the many awards for our legal expertise, the many years where we are ranked solely band 1 in personal injury in Scotland or the millions in personal injury compensation we recover for people each and every year.

In simple terms, we are a law firm that listens to you and fights for you. We believe in our motto… because it matters.

What our clients say about us

We put our clients at the centre of everything we do and are committed to providing the very best service. The hundreds of five star reviews we have received on Trustpilot is a reflection of this approach.

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