If you have been hurt in an accident in Jersey or anywhere else in the world within the last three years 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. We are able to offer a FREE first appointment to discuss any potential claim.
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.
- the person owed you a duty of care - for example a duty to other road users;
- they breached that duty of cars - for example, failed to drive with due care and attention;
- 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" (see below).
You have 3 years in which to present your claim to for personal injury in Jersey from the date on which the accident happened. The 3 year period is 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. To assist you in preparing instructions as to how the accident happened CLICK HERE to download our standard form instruction sheet for Jersey personal injury claims. Bring this completed form to your first appointment and this will assist us greatly in pursuing your claim.
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:
- your contract of employment;
- your wage slips;
- details of any information provided by the police or other witnesses;
- copies of any appointment card or other letters which will identify your hospital patient number;
- copies of any report prepared by Health & Safety
- receipts relating to any out of pocket expenses (see below).
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:
- your injury and the pain and suffering it has caused you;
- loss of amenity that is to say any disability that your injuries caused or continue to cause;
- loss of earning capacity;
- loss of pension rights;
- 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 £50.00. 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.
Obviously if you have full funding of your case from Legal Aid, or a legal expenses insurer or some other party, then they will pay costs on your behalf subject to the terms and conditions under which Legal Aid and the insurance is granted. Usually reasonably incurred disbursements will be paid for by the defendants after the successful conclusion of your case. You should also note that most of the orthopaedic consultants who are expert witnesses have long waiting lists for appointments. We will consider arranging an appointment for you to see a consultant when liability for the accident becomes clearer. In a straightforward case, an appointment may be set immediately. In certain cases, and depending on the nature of your injuries, other types of consultant may need to be instructed, and we shall advise you regarding this as appropriate.
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.
- incidental damage to property - e.g. the damage to your clothing spectacles etc;
- medical expenses - all reasonable medical expenses may be recovered;
- associated expenditure - e.g. cost of travel to and from hospital, prescription charges;
- cost of nursing care;
- cost of other paid help;
- reasonable necessary expenditure;
- increases in ordinary expenditure - e.g. additional transport costs;
- loss of earnings;
- loss of other fringe benefits from your employment;
- other miscellaneous losses - e.g. cancellation of a holiday
- costs incurred by members of your family visiting you in hospital, looking after you etc. including their lost earnings;
- the value of unpaid care provided by a friend or relative
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Proving your claim for damages
You must establish your entitlement to compensation by producing evidence to prove not only the nature and extent of your injury but also each and every loss for which you seek damages.
Accordingly, in relation to general damages, you would be prudent to keep a clear and accurate record of your symptoms, your recovery and how this has affected your life. In relation to special damages, a clear and accurate record of your losses, expenses, voluntary help given by friends and family etc, and where possible retaining receipts in relation to these to help us prove your claim; CLICK HERE for a blank expenditure record which will assist you.
How much will I get?
No two personal injury cases are ever the same. Even where injuries are similar they will have a varying impact upon different people's lives. By way of example, a broken arm may cause a mother to be unable properly to care for her children or drive, but a similar injury to one of her children would be of considerably less inconvenience. It is therefore impossible to predict a level of damages without referring to the nature of the injury and the claimant's particular circumstances.
It is therefore difficult at an early stage in the claim to make a worthwhile assessment of likely damages. We will however be able to provide you with an assessment as soon as sufficient information is available.
How long will it take?
It is also difficult in the early stage 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.
How much will it cost?
The cost of pursuing a personal injury claim in Jersey is again dependent to a certain extent on external factors. When you provide us with your instructions we shall provide you with an engagement letter for you to consider and sign which will set out our relevant hourly rates at that time.
The normal rule is that the losing party pays the winning party's costs. There is however usually a shortfall in the cost of pursuing a claim and the actual costs recovered from an opponent. Again this is set out in detail in our letter of engagement. Whilst we endeavour to keep any shortfall to a minimum, this is a risk of which you should be aware. If the situation is likely to arise in your claim we shall advise you accordingly.
If you are unable to afford fees which may fall due during the pursuit of your claim you may be entitled to assistance under the Legal Aid Scheme. Contact us to arrange a free first appointment and we shall be able to discuss details of the Legal Aid Scheme that operates in Jersey.
The vast majority of personal injury claims we pursue in Jersey end with payment of damages and all of the defendant's costs without the matter proceeding to a trial. We make no charge for our initial interview in respect of a proposed Jersey personal injury claim. We shall therefore be able to make an assessment as to whether you have a claim which is worthwhile pursuing at no obligation. Click here to download our Jersey Personal Injury Instruction Form.
Mr Philip Syvret and Advocate Nina Benest are both members of the Jersey Personal Injury Medico-Legal Society and are bound by its Code of Conduct. Mr P W Syvret and Giles Emmanuel are active members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and regularly deal with referrals of cases from lawyers throughout the United Kingdom where their clients have been injured in an accident in Jersey. This guide is intended to provide outline details only and should not be considered as a substitute for specific legal advice.