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How does anINDIVIDUALknow when he is entitled to personal injury COMPENSATION?

Personal injury claims are an area of law which, as much as any other, helps to give lawyers a bad name; yet there are numerous circumstances when someone is injured and is entitled to bring a claim, and to receive good legal advice regarding the strength of their claim and the appropriate level of compensation.

Angela P. Philip M. Livingstone Heidi J. Heath (Associate) Richard J. Renouf (Consultant)

Is there a claim? There has been a road traffic accident campaign run for the last few years which suggests that ‘a crash is not an accident’. This is not always true. We often have accidents which are truly nobody’s fault and it is unfortunate that someone is injured. However, there are situations where it is clear that someone else is to blame for injury suffered, or where you need to seek legal advice as to the likelihood of being able to demonstrate that this was so.

In many things we do every day, we owe what is called a ‘duty of care’ to other people. The most obvious example is on the road where everybody owes a duty of care to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, to take all reasonable steps to avoid an accident happening. If you fall short of the required standard of care and injure someone, then it is likely that a claim will be made against you. It is for this reason that we are all required to carry insurance when driving a vehicle and the penalties for not doing so can be

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quite severe. Additionally, a number of personal injury claims are brought under contract. Examples of this are when you are at work or when you are paying to visit a venue, such as for example, an amusement park.

A claimant must be able to prove that on the balance of probabilities the accident was the fault of somebody else, and that it caused the injury complained of and any financial losses suffered as a result. These may include a loss of wages (both past and future) and medical bills.


This is a very important consideration. In Jersey there are essentially three ways of funding a claim. The first of these is on a private fee paying basis. This can be a very expensive process, especially if liability is not admitted and legal proceedings are necessary. Legal proceedings are never to be undertaken lightly and a careful discussion is required with your lawyer regarding the strengths and weaknesses, and likely costs involved, before proceedings are issued.

Even a successful claim may result in a costs order amounting to perhaps only 70% of your legal fees being recovered from the party who caused the accident (or more commonly their insurers). An unsuccessful case will leave the claimant responsible for their own legal fees in

full and perhaps some 70% of the other side’s costs.

Another possible source of funding is through legal costs insurers. You should check your motor or household insurance policy, since many people are unaware that they may carry cover for the legal costs involved in bringing a personal injury claim. The annual cost of such cover is generally very low and if you do not have cover it may be worth speaking to your insurance broker.

The third possibility in Jersey is legal aid. This is not a States funded system as in the United Kingdom and is means tested. It is not necessarily free and it is likely that you will have to contribute such sums as you can afford towards the fees of the lawyer appointed as the case proceeds. It is important to note that legal aid does not protect you against an adverse costs order, should you issue legal proceedings and then become unsuccessful.

It is important to note that Jersey does not have the concept of ‘no win no fee’ personal injury claims. Lawyers in Jersey are not permitted to work on that basis and so all of the irritating adverts to which you are constantly exposed on TV can safely be ignored. In certain circumstances there are possible alternatives to sources of funding, such as after the event insurance or third party financing.

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