Compensation for serious injuries
If you've suffered a serious injury caused by someone else's negligence, you could be entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim
How Much Could You Claim?

Serious Injury Claims

A serious injury can have an immediate and long-lasting impact on your life. These may include physical harm such as traumatic brain and spine injuries, amputations, loss of sight or hearing and psychological trauma.

If you have suffered a catastrophic injury due to someone else’s negligence or actions, you may be able to claim compensation. This will cover the physical pain and suffering caused by the accident and any past and future costs associated with the injury, such as loss of earnings.

To find out if you can start a serious injury claim on a no win no fee* basis, call 0800 032 3660 or use our online claim form to arrange a free consultation with a legal adviser. They will let you know if you have a valid case and answer any questions you may have about the claims process.

What can be classed as a serious injury?

A catastrophic injury is usually the result of significant physical trauma that has long-lasting effects on your life, health, and well-being. Some common examples of serious injuries include:

  • Spinal cord injuries that lead to chronic pain, paralysis, and loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Traumatic brain injuries with permanent physical, cognitive or behavioural consequences, such as paralysis, coma, seizures or personality changes
  • Severe burn injuries can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement, functional limitations and disability
  • Loss of sight or hearing can be very distressing, impose many restrictions and considerably lower your quality of life
  • Amputations can be devastating and lead to major life changes
  • Significant injuries to the bones or joints, which may lead to chronic pain, osteoarthritis and joint instability
  • Severe psychological or emotional trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe anxiety or depression

It is essential to consult with an experienced solicitor to assess the specific circumstances of your case and determine whether it meets the criteria for a serious injury claim.

Can I make a serious injury claim?

If you have suffered a significant injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible to make a compensation claim. As a general rule, you should have grounds to start a claim if you can prove that:

  • A third party was responsible for your injuries
  • They owed you a duty of care, which they breached
  • Your accident took place in the past three years

Based on the circumstances of your accident and the available evidence, your solicitor will help determine who will be the defendant in your case. Your serious injury claim could be against:

  • A driver, cyclist or another road user, if you were involved in a road traffic accident
  • Your employer, if you were injured while carrying out your work duties
  • The local council if your accident happened in a public place such as on a poorly maintained road or pavement
  • The owner of a private business such as a supermarket, shopping mall or restaurant
  • Your landlord, if they failed to ensure your accommodation was a safe place to live
  • The manufacturer of a faulty product or machinery that caused your injuries
  • The Ministry of Defence, if you were injured while serving in the military

It is essential to remember that you can pursue serious injury compensation even if you were partially to blame for the harm you suffered. However, due to contributory negligence, your compensation would usually be reduced to reflect your degree of responsibility.

To find out if you have a valid serious injuries claim, call 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation with an experienced legal adviser. Alternatively, you can enter your details to receive a call back with no obligation to start legal proceedings.

What is the process for claiming serious injury compensation?

If you have suffered a severe injury due to someone else’s actions and you want to claim compensation, you typically need to follow these steps:

Get legal advice from a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible. They will offer you a free initial consultation to determine if you have a valid serious injury claim and who might be liable for compensation. They may ask you some of the following questions:

  • Where and when did the accident take place?
  • What injuries did you suffer as a result?
  • Who do you believe was at fault for your injuries?
  • What medical treatments did you receive, and what are your recovery prospects?
  • Do you have any evidence related to the accident or circumstances that caused your injury or illness?
  • Have you had to take time off work because of your injury?
  • Have you had to make any changes in your life due to your injuries?

If your case has merit, they will offer you a no win no fee agreement, so you can start your claim without worrying about upfront fees or paying any legal bill if your claim is unsuccessful.

If they agree to offer you legal representation, an expert serious injury lawyer will help you gather the evidence you need to secure compensation. This could include:

  • Photographs of the accident scene and what caused your injuries before anything is moved, repaired or replaced;
  • Pictures of any visible injuries and a photographic record of the healing process;
  • Accident reports filed with your employer or the owner of a private property like a shop or restaurant
  • CCTV or dash cam footage, if available
  • The name, licence plate and insurance details of other drivers if you were involved in a road traffic accident
  • Police or emergency service reports, especially if you were the victim of a criminal act or hit-and-run accident
  • Names and contact details of witnesses to the accident, as your solicitor might contact them later to confirm your version of the events
  • Evidence for all the financial losses and expenses related to the accident and your injuries

Your solicitor may arrange a free medical assessment with a qualified specialist to confirm the cause and extent of your injuries and consider their impact on your daily life and effects on your mental health. They will provide a detailed report that your solicitor can use to calculate the compensation settlement you might be entitled to receive.

After you have all the necessary evidence, your solicitor will prepare and submit a formal claim on your behalf to the responsible party or their insurer. They will outline the details of the incident, the injuries sustained, and the compensation sought. If the other side admits liability, your solicitor will engage in negotiations to reach a fair settlement. They will keep your best interests in mind and strive to secure the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and related damages.

If you cannot reach a fair settlement through negotiations or there are liability disputes, your solicitor may advise you to take your claim to court. In this case, they will guide you through the litigation process, representing your interests in court and presenting your case before a judge.

If you settle with the defendant or the court rules in your favour, you will receive the compensation awarded to you within several weeks. This may cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred as a result of the injury.

It is important to note that the process can vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case. Working with experienced serious injury claim solicitors will help you navigate the process effectively and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Common accidents leading to a serious injury claim

Common accidents that can lead to a personal injury claim for a severe injury include:

Road accidents

The high impact of an accident involving a car, bicycle, motorbike or pedestrian can result in many severe injuries like brain and spinal cord trauma. All road users must act in a way that does not put them or others in danger. Nonetheless, every 22 minutes, someone is killed or severely injured in a road accident in the UK. If you or a loved one suffered a serious, life-changing injury due to someone else’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Workplace accidents

Accidents at work can also result in severe injuries that can significantly impact your life. Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other UK legislation, employers can be liable for serious injury compensation if they fail to take all proper measures to protect workers from avoidable harm in the workplace.

Slip, trip and fall accidents

Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common accidents that can happen at work or in public places. Common causes include wet or slippery surfaces, uneven or damaged flooring, improper lighting and cluttered walkways. The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 places a duty on owners and occupiers to keep all premises safe for the public. Failing to do so would make them liable in a personal injury claim.

Medical negligence 

All medical staff must offer a reasonable standard of care and treatment. They are expected to be skilled and knowledgeable and take all suitable actions to keep patients safe from harm. Errors during surgery, medication errors or misdiagnosis can cause severe brain and spinal cord injuries, organ damage and many other avoidable injuries.

Accidents involving heavy machinery or equipment

Heavy machinery and equipment can exert a lot of force, leading to crushing injuries when a body part gets caught or compressed between moving parts. If a limb comes into contact with rotating or moving parts, this can lead to traumatic amputations. Contact with faulty electrical components can also cause severe or fatal electric shocks.

Accidents involving defective products 

Faulty products can pose significant risks to users. Errors during manufacturing, such as mechanical defects or incorrectly attached parts, can compromise safety and performance. Failure to provide clear warnings or instructions for the safe use of an item can also contribute to accidents and severe injuries. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 gives anyone who suffers damage due to a defective product the right to claim compensation.

Military accidents

Like all employees, military personnel should work in a safe environment and be safe from injuries. In active combat zones, soldiers may suffer severe injuries from explosions, gunfire, shrapnel, or other combat-related incidents. Accidents during training or transportation can also lead to a serious injury claim. Military personnel may be entitled to make a claim for compensation under civil law or through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS).

Sports-related accidents

There is some risk involved in many sports, but certain accidents can be prevented by taking appropriate precautions. These can be due to several factors, such as dangerous playing surfaces, defective equipment, lack of safety measures or inadequate training. Examples of sporting activities that can lead to a serious injury claim include skiing, snowboarding, boxing, and horse riding.

Criminal assaults

Violent crimes such as physical assaults or terrorist attacks can have a significant impact on your life. These may cause injuries such as head trauma, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, chemical burns or psychological harm. The physical and emotional toll can be long-lasting, affecting your well-being, daily functioning, and quality of life. Claims for a criminal assault can be made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) within two years of an incident.

Many other circumstances may lead to a valid compensation claim. The serious injury claim solicitors we partner with can offer you a free case assessment to assess the strength of your case and advise you on your legal options.

Long-term and permanent effects of a serious personal injury

A serious injury can have crushing long-term effects on your work, daily activities and relationships. Some ways in which a severe injury can impact your life in the long term include:

  • It may lead to a permanent physical disability or limitations. These may include loss of limb function, chronic pain, reduced mobility, or the need for assistive devices;
  • It may impact your emotional and psychological well-being. It may cause anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or changes in mood and behaviour;
  • You may have to make significant lifestyle changes. Examples include changing your daily activities and routines or getting used to medical devices;
  • You may need to hire professional help with personal care and daily tasks;
  • Your injury may limit your ability to work or pursue your chosen career. This may result in reduced work hours, changes in your job roles, or you may not be able to work at all anymore;
  • A severe injury can have a substantial financial impact. Medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation or therapy costs, adaptive equipment, and potential loss of income can put significant strain on you and your family;
  • Severe injuries can affect your relationships with family members, friends or colleagues and can change your social interactions;
  • Engaging in recreational activities, hobbies, or sports that were once enjoyed may become challenging or impossible. That can lead to a sense of loss and decreased quality of life.

The long-term effects can vary depending on the individual, the nature of the injury, and the available support and resources. Rehabilitation, therapy, emotional support, and professional guidance can play a crucial role in helping you adapt to any ongoing challenges. Your solicitor will ensure you receive serious injury compensation that considers all of the effects on your life.

Can I claim serious injury compensation for a loved one?

Yes, it is possible to seek damages on behalf of a loved one. In cases where a person cannot pursue compensation themselves due to the severity of their injuries or other incapacitating factors, a family member or a close relative can act as their litigation friend and make a serious injuries claim on their behalf. This approach is common in cases involving:

  • Children under 18 because they are not considered mature enough to take decisions about a legal case
  • An adult who lacks mental capacity due to the severity of their injuries or a pre-existing condition such as an intellectual disability or mental health disorder. People in this situation are called a protected party
  • Someone who passed away due to a severe injury caused by someone else’s negligence

Before appointing you as a litigation friend, the court will verify that you have no conflict of interest with the claimant and can conduct legal proceedings fairly. Before deciding to take on the role, you should consider the responsibilities that come with it, including:

  • Attending court hearings
  • Deal with correspondence
  • Meet with solicitors and take legal advice
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Act in the claimant’s best interests
  • Make decisions about the claim
  • Consider any settlement offers made by the defendant

If you have secured compensation for a child or protected party, you will have to go through an approval hearing before a judge. They will consider the available evidence to confirm the amount of compensation awarded is fair and covers the claimant’s needs. The duty of a litigation friend ends once a claim is completed, when a child has reached the age of 18 or an incapacitated person regains the ability to conduct legal proceedings.

How much compensation could a serious injuries claim be worth?

The amount of compensation you could receive in a serious injury claim depends on your circumstances. Some decisive factors include the time and severity of your injuries, their long-term or permanent effects and the financial losses you incurred as a result.

Your solicitor will consider two types of damages when calculating your compensation award: special damages and general damages.

Special damages aim to compensate the individual for specific financial losses or expenses incurred due to the injury. Examples include:

  • The cost of medical treatment, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, rehabilitation, therapy, and any other related expenses;
  • Compensation for the loss of income or earning capacity due to the injury, including past and future lost wages, bonuses, or other employment benefits;
  • Compensation for the cost of ongoing care, assistance, or support services required due to the injury;
  • The cost of adaptations to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability;
  • Travel expenses associated with the injuries, such as going to medical appointments;
  • Cost of medical aids such as prostheses or a wheelchair
  • Any other losses and expenses related to the accident

General damages are non-economic damages intended to compensate the individual for the intangible losses resulting from the injury. These losses are more subjective and can vary based on the severity and impact of the trauma. Examples include:

  • Physical pain and discomfort
  • Psychological or emotional effects, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of companionship, support, or intimacy
  • Reduced quality of life or life expectancy
  • Loss of prospects and enjoyment of life
  • Loss of a unique career
  • Physical and mental impairment and disability
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Due to their subjective nature, general damages are harder to calculate. Their value will be based on similar cases and the guidelines published each year by the Judicial College. Examples of potential compensation awards recommended by the Judicial College for general damages include:

  • £26,010 to £38,850 for a severe face injury resulting in disfigurement and chronic pain
  • £77,430 to £120,040 for complete deafness in both ears
  • £56,080 to £229,260 for visual impairment up to complete loss of sight in both eyes
  • £56,100 to £139,210 for a severe neck injury leading to long-term pain and disability
  • Up to £151,070 for a back injury leading to some degree of paralysis and loss of bladder and bowel function
  • Up to £255,930 for amputation of one or both arms
  • Up to £240,590 for loss of one or both legs
  • £240,590 to £344,640 for a severe brain injury that may lead to severe disability, little or no language function or a vegetative state needing full-time care

Use our online compensation calculator for more information about how compensation is calculated in personal injury claims. Alternatively, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser.

Time limits to make a serious injury compensation claim

Under the Limitation Act 1980, the general time limit for personal injury claims, including for severe injuries, is three years from the date of an accident. Failing to start legal proceedings within this period could mean your case becomes statute-barred, and the court will no longer accept it.

There are several exceptions to the three-year claim limitation date, including:

  • When the injured person is a child, the time limit does not start to run until their 18th birthday. A parent or legal guardian could seek compensation for a minor at any time before they turn 18. If no claim is made on their behalf, they will have until their 21st birthday to make the claim themselves.
  • The time limit is suspended indefinitely if the claimant cannot conduct legal proceedings due to mental incapacity. A litigation friend could represent them in a serious injury claim, and the three-year time limit only begins if the injured person regains their mental capacity.
  • If your injuries were due to a criminal act, you have two years to claim damages through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
    There is a seven-year limitation period to claim through the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) if you were injured while serving in the military.
  • If one of your loved ones passed away due to a severe injury, you could pursue compensation from the responsible party within three years after the date of death.
  • Serious injury claims related to accidents abroad can have different time limits depending on each country’s laws.

Regardless of your situation, you should speak to one of the serious injury claim solicitors we work with as soon as possible after your accident. That will help them gather evidence on time and ensure you can start your claim within the applicable limitation date.

How long will my claim take?

There is no set time period to conclude a serious injury compensation claim. How long the process will take depends on various factors, such as:

  • The circumstances of the accident which caused your injuries
  • The type and extent of the injuries you suffered
  • The willingness of the other side to cooperate
  • Whether there are liability disputes
  • The estimated value of your compensation
  • The time you need to gather evidence to support your claim

Typically, serious injury claims can take several months to years to settle. They tend to take longer than other claims due to the severity and long-term implications of the injuries involved. The personal injury solicitors we work with can provide a more accurate assessment of the timeline based on the specific details of your case. They will guide you through the legal proceedings, keep you informed about the progress, and work towards obtaining the maximum compensation as quickly as possible.

There are a few things you could do to speed up the claims process, including:

  • Seek legal advice as soon as possible
  • Collect as much evidence as you can to show how the accident occurred and how t has affected your life
  • Complete and file the required forms and legal documents promptly
  • Consider any early-stage settlement offers, even if this may result in less compensation

If the other side admits liability early on, your solicitor may be able to secure interim payments. These are partial payments made before the final settlement to cover immediate needs, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, or loss of earnings, while the case is ongoing.

No Win No Fee serious injury solicitors

If you have a valid serious injuries claim, the solicitors we partner with will offer you a 100% No Win No Fee arrangement. Also known as a conditional fee agreement (CFA), this type of legal service allows you to claim compensation for a personal injury regardless of your financial situation and with no risks.

The CFA gives you access to legal representation without the upfront costs of legal fees. Instead, your solicitor will assume the risk of the claim and will only get paid if your case is successful. In this case, they will receive a success fee agreed upon from the beginning, which cannot exceed 25% of your award for general damages and past financial losses.

A severe injury can be life-changing, so no win no fee solicitors can provide peace of mind and support throughout the legal process. They offer numerous benefits, including:

  • A thorough review of your case
  • Help in collecting evidence to support your claim
  • Handle all communication on your behalf
  • Assist you in preparing all the necessary legal documents
  • Keep you updated on the progress of your case
  • Review any settlement offers with you
  • Try to achieve the highest serious injury compensation for you

Your solicitor will also ensure you are protected against paying any legal charges if your claim fails. They will take out an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy on your behalf, which covers all the costs incurred during the claims process in the event of a loss, including:

  • The defendant’s solicitor
  • Police and medical reports
  • Printing and copying
  • Expert witness fees
  • Travel expenses related to the claim
  • Barrister fees, if your case goes to court

The no win no fee service ensures you do not have to pay anything if your serious injury claim is unsuccessful.

To find out if you can start a serious injury compensation claim on a no win no fee basis, call 0800 032 3660 today or fill in our online claim form to receive a call back.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.