Can I Have A Receipt Please?
A personal injury claim is made up of two heads of damage: ‘general damages’ which is compensation for pain, suffering and loss of amenity and ‘special damages’ which is compensation for past and future out of pocket expenses.

In order to claim for past losses, it really is important to keep all available evidence, where possible, in the form of receipts or invoices in support of any losses which you have incurred. Such things might include, taxi fares, prescription charges, over the counter medication, and parking charges when going to the hospital, the list is vast. My advice to clients is to list everything and at the appropriate stage of the claim. I will then figure out what you can reasonably claim for and what you can’t.

Regardless of how small the expense is, over time you will be surprised just how much each head adds up. Without evidence (receipts/invoices) of your losses, the Defendant may only be willing to offer a nominal sum if anything at all. So please, please remember to list everything as you go, whether it is on a scrap of paper, a notes app on your phone or an excel spreadsheet on your computer and keep the evidence of the loss!

By Ruth Hinchliffe
Supermarket Claims Due To New Initiative
We at GC Solicitors have received a flurry of new enquiries recently from potential clients who have suffered injury as a result of slipping on items in supermarkets owing to a new in-store initiative.

Whilst I appreciate that the last thing on a person’s mind when they are lying on the floor injured or composing themselves after impersonating bambi on ice, is taking photographs, it really is helpful to have a look at your surroundings after the incident, as the evidence that you gather in these initial stages may prove vital as part of a personal injury claim. Please do:
  1. Seek assistance from a store member and ask to see the first aider;
  2. If you think you may have broken a bone, ask the store to call you an ambulance;
  3. Check the floor to see what has caused you to slip;
  4. Take photographs of the offending item/wet floor;
  5. If you have slipped on a wet surface, check to see if there are any warning signs displayed;
  6. If there are any witnesses, ask them for their contact details;
  7. Ask to complete the accident book; and
  8. Follow up with the store a couple of days later to ensure that your accident book entry has been sent to the store’s head office.
As a lawful visitor of its premises, a supermarket owes you a duty to take reasonable care for your safety. However, the mere fact that you have slipped and suffered injury is not enough to prove liability and the more documentary evidence you have the more chance you have in successfully securing compensation for your personal injury.

If you have suffered personal injury as a result of a slipping incident in a Supermarket, contact GC Solicitors on 01462 483800 for advice.

By Ruth Hinchliffe
He's Behind You
I promise this is a blog about Personal Injury claims, not Pantomimes…

Having worked at GC Solicitors now for 8 years, I have obviously seen some changes in the law over that time but also within society and how we communicate with loved ones and even strangers every day.

When I first started out in the Personal Injury department here at GC, there was a lot of chatter about a high value case that was heading towards Court. Medical evidence had been obtained and supported our client in that her injuries were such that she was unable to enjoy her life in the way she was able to before the accident.

One morning, surveillance footage landed on the file handler’s desk.  As this was a high value claim, the Defendant had instructed an enquiry agent to carry out covert surveillance on our client. She had clearly been followed for a number of days and was filmed carrying out activities such as attending the gym.  These enquiry agents, when instructed, may loiter outside a Claimant’s house and film them carrying out their everyday activities such as shopping, taking the children to school or perhaps cutting the front hedge. This is done in an attempt to undermine the Claimant’s credibility.

Going back to the changes I have seen over the years, I am talking about social media. It is not unheard of for Defendant insurers to hunt down Claimant’s profiles on Facebook for example and because the security settings of most profiles are low, the Defendant may find a post that looks like the Claimant's injuries aren't as serious as they are claiming. Whilst instructing an enquiry agent may charge a lot of money, it takes little time or effort to find a profile on social media and is free to carry out. So even low value claims will be subject to these kind of checks from Defendants.

As part of the personal injury process, a Claimant will be required to attend an examination with a Medico-Legal expert who will provide evidence detailing how the Claimant’s injuries impact their life.  By way of example, take a Claimant who has stated that their ability to walk long distances is impeded because of a serious injury to their legs, a case that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation. One of the first things the Defendant insurer will do is make attempts to undermine the Claimant’s credibility and will carry out searches on social media. So when the Defendant comes across photographs of the Claimant standing at the top of Mount Snowdon (even though they took the train to the top because their injury impedes their ability to walk) the Defendant will use this against them in an attempt to show that the Claimant can do all that they contest they cannot do and the potential value of the compensation claim could be drastically reduced.

That was a really long winded way of warning potential personal injury claimants to make sure what they tell their lawyer fits in with what they might post on social media and be mindful of what is posted online, whilst pursuing a personal injury claim.  Social media content could be used to undermine your credibility or to claw back compensation after settlement.

If you have been involved in an accident and are thinking about making a claim, please call GC Solicitors on 01462 483 800 – and let us know what social media platforms you use!

By Ruth Hinchliffe
Tell Me Everything
Despite all of the celebrities out there at the moment trying to change the way mental health issues are perceived, it probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that my clients are often too embarrassed to tell me about the psychological effect that an accident and subsequent injuries have had on them and those around them.

The psychological element of an injury can often be the worst part and really is nothing to be embarrassed about and in some cases, can add a significant amount of compensation to a claim.

So if you are experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, a shorter temper, being forgetful or having panic attacks, amongst other things, it really is important that you tell your lawyer so that the psychological element of your compensation claim can be explored.

By Ruth Hinchliffe

If you think you may have suffered a psychological injury as a result of someone else's negligence, call GC Solicitors on 01462 483 800 to see if you can claim compensation.