At Lawford Kidd, our Scottish personal injury solicitors will take your accident claim very seriously.
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Thanks to decades of experience our accident claims solicitors can help you win the biggest possible settlement. We are one of the few first of personal injury litigation solicitors in Scotland that still offer you 100% compensation - the maximum compensation in the minimum time.
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No matter how careful we are, there is always a risk of having an accident. Some of the most common types include road traffic accidents, injuries at work or in public places, as well as the standard ‘trip, slip or a fall’ situation. At Lawford Kidd we are specialists when it comes to accident claims in Scotland and offer expert accident claims advice with 100% of compensation being paid to our clients.
Often, these accidents are not attributable to the fault of anyone else, and are just an unfortunate feature of life.
However, where an injury is the result of someone else’s carelessness or bad conduct, a person may be entitled to accident claims compensation for their loss. Bringing a claim for an accident, also known as a personal injury claim, however, can be complicated - it can be difficult to decipher the legal language and technical rules that must be applied to personal injury in Scotland. But there are things you that you must do if you wish to make an accident claim in Scotland. It enables claimants to avoid some of the most common pitfalls encountered when raising a personal injury case.
1.You MUST bring your accident claim in time – or prepare to explain to the court why you failed to do so
Accident claimants in Scotland who wish to bring an action for accident compensation following an accident or injury must bring do so within the time limits set out in law. Under the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, an individual who wishes to bring an action for damages following an accident must do in three years. The three-year time period runs from the date of the injury or accident, or, where the injury did not come to light until late on, the date on which the person discovered the injury. If the harm caused came from a continuous act or omission, the limitation period only begins once that act or omission has stopped.
Although you are required to bring your accident claim in Scotland within that three-year period, in theory, there is one potential back-up option where you fail to do so. Under section 19A of the 1973 Act, judges have a discretion to allow a claim to commence even where it is out of time. However, judges in Scotland have not demonstrated a particular willingness to use that provision – and it will only be used where the claimant can convince the court that there is a good reason why they should do so. An individual must therefore bring a claim within the time limits or be willing to persuade the court that the case should nonetheless be allowed. Under the second option, there is a very real possibility that the accident claim will be struck out.
So, when is a court likely to allow a case to be heard after the limitation period? Unlike English law, the Scottish statute which gives Scottish judges discretion to allow a personal injury claim to be brought out of time does not list any factors which must be taken into account. However, the case law has shed some light on what things will be taken into consideration. In the case of B v Murray (No.2), the Court of Session made it clear that it is ultimately a question of what would be ‘equitable’ in the particular circumstances of the case. The judges noted that the onus was on the person brining the claim to persuade the court that there were good reasons why it should allow it to be heard. Factors that were relevant included:
Ultimately, the courts have made it clear that, if the claimant cannot demonstrate a good excuse for the failure to bring the claim within the three-year period, the defender’s rights will take priority (Fleming v Keiler).
2. You MUST follow the timetable and procedural requirements – or face the penalties for not doing so
Specific rules and procedures apply to accident claims in Scotland resulting from an accident. Failure to comply with the rules may result in the claim being put out ‘By Order’. This means that you will have to go before the court to explain why you broke the procedural rule in question. Moreover, the court can apply a range of penalties in the event of non-compliance. In the most extreme situation, a judge may decide to dismiss the claim or the defence. More often, however, the claimant will have to pay some of the costs of the litigation (even in the event that he or she wins the case), to reflect the breach.
In terms of timetabling, both the Sheriff Court and the Court of Session differentiate personal injury claims from other civil claims. Both apply an automatic timetable, each of which sets out certain deadlines that must be met. In the Court of Session, the opposing party has 7 days to lodge a defence. After that, the claimant has 28 days in which to bring a third party into the action (such as an employer, or a company) and the same period to recover certain documents from the other side by court order. The claimant has 8 weeks to put in a valuation of the claim, and both parties can adjust their pleadings in that 8-week period. The person defending the action can also submit a counter valuation, if the amount claimed is disputed, as long as this is submitted within 16 weeks of the original defence.
After this, the person making the Scotland accident claim must submit what is known as the ‘Record’ – which essentially contains the pleadings of both parties. If either party wants to call expert witnesses or submit relevant reports, these must be listed with the court at least 8 weeks before the trial. Finally, in the last month before the trial, the parties will have a pre-trial meeting. A similar, though not identical, timetable is followed in the Sheriff Court.
3. You MUST provide the necessary documentation – or you will struggle to prove and value your accident claim in Scotland
It is necessary to provide documentation to support your claim after an accident. Perhaps the most important document in this regard is a medical report. When you approach a solicitor for legal advice relating to a personal injury claim, he or she will almost certainly advise you to get a medical report from a doctor or health professional. This document will not only evidence the fact of your injury – and provide credibility to your claim – it will also be invaluable in assessing the amount of money you are able to ask for. Without a medical report that documents the extent of your injury, as well as the impact that it has had and continues to have on your life, it will be impossible to known how much your claim is worth. In addition, if your injury stemmed from any criminal activity, it is important to report this to the police.
Unlike claims companies who take a cut, Lawford Kidd pass on 100% accident compensation to their clients in Scotland. Their expert legal team provide a great service which is tailored to the needs of their clients. Solicitors at Lawford Kidd will work to the best of their abilities to ensure their clients get the compensation they deserve. If you think you are entitled to compensation, contact us today.