Essential Steps to Take for a Strong Personal Injury Claim

In the immediate aftermath of a personal injury, it is important to remain as calm as possible with your safety coming first. However, where you have been the victim of negligence, which could result in a personal injury claim, there are certain actions which could strengthen your case. There will be occasions where some of the steps below are not possible at the time but they should all be taken into consideration.

Safety comes first

First and foremost, if you’re involved in an accident it is important that you and all other parties are not put in further danger. For example, if it is a road traffic accident, immediately turn on your hazard lights and alert the emergency services. If you have been involved in an accident in the workplace, you should inform your colleagues so they can assist and take the necessary action to secure the area.

Failure to move to a safe area could lead to further injuries and potential claims of shared liability/negligence, thereby reducing any potential compensation claim.

Seek medical attention

While seeking medical attention when you are involved in an accident seems obvious, unfortunately, many people fail to do so. There are many documented incidents where the victim fails to seek medical attention only to find further down the line that they have been injured, sometimes fatally. Consequently, even if your injuries appear relatively minor it is important to get them checked out as soon as possible.

Even though this article is focused on personal injury claims, your health must come first although seeking medical attention will support any claim. It is also important to document medical visits, diagnosis, treatment and prescriptions. In isolation, these may seem relatively minor but together they give a picture of your medical situation and assistance required after the incident. It may also turn out that a relatively “minor injury” is in fact of greater long-term concern.

Preserve evidence

As we touched on above, there will be occasions where your injuries do not allow you to either preserve or collect evidence at the scene. However, it is crucial that you collate any evidence as soon as possible.

For example, if you were involved in a road traffic accident it would help if you were able to:-

  • Take photographs of the scene
  • Take photographs of vehicle damage
  • Take photos of number plates of any other vehicles involved
  • Taking the details of any other motorists involved and those of any witnesses
  • Show evidence of road conditions
  • Document injuries received

In this day and age, mobile phones can be a godsend in this situation because of their ability to take photos. Some people may even take video evidence at the scene to show not only the details of the accident but maybe even feedback from witnesses. On occasion, you may require the assistance of witnesses or others in the area to gather as much proof as possible.

Where there are witnesses, and it is possible, you should gather statements at the scene as well as take their contact details. If other supporting evidence is enough to pursue a compensation claim, witnesses may not be required further down the line. However, where the case is borderline, witness feedback/corroboration could prove crucial. It is important to get their details before they disappear!

Document the incident

At the first opportunity, it will be very helpful to document a step-by-step summary of the scenario and how the incident occurred. This ensures that the details are clear in your mind and nothing is forgotten. Some of the issues to consider when documenting the incident include:-

  • Date, time and location of the incident
  • The run-up to the incident
  • Details of the incident itself
  • Events post the incident

Whether you are involved in a road traffic accident, incident at work or other type of accident, it is important to note as much detail as possible. For example, where you were involved in an incident at work, there may have been issues with machinery prior to the accident that were ignored by management. This might also involve email communications which provide context to the accident, how it occurred and also highlight potential liability.

Notify the relevant parties

One of the crucial, but often overlooked issues is that of notifying the relevant parties of the incident and your intention to pursue a claim. In a typical scenario, you will have three years in which to begin legal action from the date of the accident/incident. However, as we have seen with cases involving for example asbestos, very often the medical impact does not emerge until years if not decades down the line. In this scenario, generally, you have three years to begin legal action from the date that you were diagnosed.

In some circumstances, you may also need to report the incident to the Health and Safety Executive, insurance company and your employer where applicable. As a side note, it is important that the information you communicate to the third parties is concise, detailed and relevant. This is common sense, but often an area which is overlooked unless you take professional advice and guidance.

Keep a detailed record

Those who have suffered injuries as a consequence of an accident/incident due to negligence by a third party will appreciate the large amount of paperwork involved. This may include:-

  • Previous correspondence highlighting potential dangers
  • Medical records
  • Accident reports
  • Correspondence with insurance companies
  • Injury-related expenses

While the majority of personal injury claims involve a fairly obvious relatively short-term injury, others may not be so fortunate. In this situation, it may be worthwhile keeping a diary-type record of the impact on your everyday life, issues which emerge and your general mental and physical health. This can provide a very useful timeline when pursuing compensation and, if the case goes to court, it would further support your claim.

When approaching a personal injury claims company, they will advise you of the relevant proof required. They may also be able to offer advice regarding additional third-party expert input which may further strengthen your case.

Take advice

As we have alluded to above, in the majority of cases it makes sense to approach a personal injury solicitor to seek advice and guidance. They will have been there, done it and worn many T-shirts while seeking compensation across a broad range of scenarios.

The vast majority of perfectly legitimate personal injury claims would likely not be pursued in the absence of no-win no-fee arrangements. This allows victims to pursue compensation, for strong claims, in the knowledge that costs incurred with their case will be covered by the solicitor/company. In exchange, they may charge up to 25% of any compensation awarded as a fee.

It is important to seek guidance as soon as possible to see whether you have a valid/strong case to pursue.


While many elements of this post-accident checklist might seem obvious, in the immediate aftermath of what can be a harrowing event it is easy to get distracted. In summary, it is important to gather as much information as possible from the scene, the background to the incident and also the evidence of witnesses. Medical records and a timeline of your life pre- and post-accident can also add context to your case.

Many people pursue their own claims without taking specialist advice but, on the whole, when approaching an experienced personal injury claims solicitor there is every chance they will pay for themselves. They have been there, done it and can protect you from issues such as lowball compensation offers. Even a claim which looks relatively strong in theory could be weakened with substandard paperwork, seemingly unreliable/contradictory evidence and a lack of understanding about how the system works.


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