Personal Injury Claims in Jersey
If you have been hurt in an accident in Jersey or suffered injury (for example as a result of an unsafe system of work or poor treatment by a medical professional) we can assist you with a claim for compensation.
Our Jersey Personal Injury lawyers deal with personal injury claims from simple tripping cases through to catastrophic injury. The following guide and downloads will assist you in gathering the information that you will need to pursue your claim. You should have no hesitation however, in contacting us to discuss your individual circumstances.
When can I claim for injuries?
When the accident in Jersey is the fault of another person(s); when another person acted negligently causing your injury.
i. the person owed you a duty of care - for example a duty to other road users; AND
ii. they breached that duty of care - for example, failed to drive with due care and attention; AND
iii. caused you injury.
If you are injured because of your own negligence or mistake you will be unable to recover compensation. It may be possible, however, to present a claim where injuries arose as a result of an accident for which you were partly to blame. In law this is known as "contributory negligence" .
You usually have 3 years in which to present your claim to for personal injury in Jersey from the date on which the accident happened. However if your claim is against an employer or someone you were paying for treatment, you may have a claim in contract which must be brought within 10 years. The stated periods are however the maximum delay that can occur and it is recommended that the claim is submitted as soon as it is practicably possible to do so.
If you refer your potential claim to us we will be able to gather evidence as to the circumstances in which the accident happened by obtaining a report, photographs and statements from the relevant witnesses. Important evidence may be lost if there is any delay.
You should also gather together any documents that may be relevant to the accident, your injury or employment (if your employment is affected). For example:
i. your contract of employment;
ii. your wage slips;
iii. details of any information provided by the police or other witnesses;
iv. copies of any appointment card or other letters which will identify your hospital patient
v. copies of any report prepared by Health & Safety
What can I claim following my accident?
Compensation is divided into two parts known as general and special damages:
General damages are monetary compensation designed to recompense you for the following:
i. your injury and the pain and suffering it has caused you;
ii. loss of amenity that is to say any disability that your injuries caused or continue to cause;
iii. loss of earning capacity;
iv. loss of pension rights;
v. future expenses.
General damages are assessed by comparing previous court awards in cases with facts similar to your own, as well as upon consideration of guidelines produced by judges as to recommended levels of awards.
To illustrate the extent of your injuries, we would have to support your claim with evidence from a medical expert. For less serious injuries, in particular where there are no ongoing symptoms, a report from your GP may be sufficient, and this will probably cost in the region of £100.00. For anything more than the most minor injuries, we recommend obtaining evidence from an independent medical expert. Quite often, this will be evidence from an orthopaedic consultant, and a report will cost in the region of £250.00-£500.00, although you should note that the consultant may also wish X-rays to be taken and may also wish to see your medical records, and these may result in further charges. More specialised expert reports can be very expensive.
Special damages are monetary compensation for the actual losses and expenses that you have incurred up to the date of the hearing.
The following is a list illustrating those items most commonly recovered.
i. incidental damage to property - e.g. the damage to your clothing spectacles etc;
ii. medical expenses - all reasonable medical expenses may be recovered;
iii. associated expenditure - e.g. cost of travel to and from hospital, prescription charges;
iv. cost of nursing care;
v. cost of other paid help;
vi. reasonable necessary expenditure;
vii. increases in ordinary expenditure - e.g. additional transport costs;
viii. loss of earnings;
ix. loss of other fringe benefits from your employment;
x. other miscellaneous losses - e.g. cancellation of a holiday
xi. costs incurred by members of your family visiting you in hospital, looking after you etc.
including their lost earnings;
xii. the value of unpaid care provided by a friend or relative
vi. receipts relating to any out of pocket expenses.
Personal injury damages in Jersey are designed to compensate an injured party; to put them in the position they would have been in but for the injury. They do not allow for a party to profit from the accident.
There are a number of principles which the court applies to limit the extent of a party's liability:
i. You have to mitigate your loss. This means that you must take reasonable steps to minimise your losses. For example: if your injury has prevented you from working, you must take reasonable steps to resume your pre-accident employment or to obtain suitable alternative employment as soon as reasonably possible.
ii. Damages will generally only be awarded where there is a clear chain of causation, linking the negligent act or breach of a statutory duty to the loss or harm suffered.
iii. If you are deemed to be partly to blame for the accident, your entitlement to compensation (general or special damages) will be reduced to take into account the extent of your contributory negligence (i.e. to reflect your own responsibility for the accident). The Court will consider the extent to which each party was to blame for an accident and will reduce the level of damages by a suitable proportion. For example, if you are found to be 20% to blame for your accident, you will receive 80% of the damages.
We shall advise you what kinds of damages you are entitled to, and their likely amount.
How long will it take?
It is difficult in the early stages to give an accurate assessment of the likely cost and time scale involved in pursuing a claim to a successful outcome. Matters are to some extent dependent upon external factors; the speed with which third parties respond to our correspondence and whether your opponent's representatives choose to be co-operative. It is usually necessary to wait until symptoms from your injury have either resolved or stabilised before attempting to settle your claim. It is usually possible however to give an initial estimate as to how long it will take to reach a conclusion once the first response has been received from the opposing side or the insurers.
Philip Livingstone is a member of the Jersey Personal Injury Medicolegal Society and also of the nationwide Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.