Personal injury victims are often unaware of their legal rights and uncertain as to how they can claim compensation. This lack of awareness often leads to a delay in filing a claim or doubts whether a claim is worth pursuing. Below can be found the answers to frequently asked questions which can provide a personal injury victim with a good understanding of what the procedure entails.
1. How long will the process take until I obtain compensation?
Some personal injury cases are completed within a few months while others might take several years. Most personal injury cases relating to car accidents are settled out of Court within a few months. Assuming liability is undisputed, dealing with the insurance company of the party at fault tends to take a few months.
If the case cannot be settled out of Court, which is commonly the case with large claims or complex medical negligence cases, Court action would be required. Unfortunately the Court process can take several years until completion.
2. Do I need a lawyer? Can I handle the claim by myself?
In theory the personal injury victim can manage the negotiation with the insurance company or the lawsuit by himself/herself. However, that is certainly not advisable. A qualified lawyer experienced in personal injury is much better equipped to manage such a claim. Knowledge of the relevant statute and case law is essential and so is knowledge of the Court procedures.
3. Do I have a good case or is it not worth pursuing a claim and spending money on legal fees?
A qualified and experienced lawyer should be able to advise if there is a strong case or not. It is generally not difficult to determine the issue of liability in regards to car accidents. The police are often requested to draft a report which helps settle the issue of liability. Some cases are more complex, for example medical negligence cases when sometimes it is not clear if the doctor in question was negligent or not.
Many lawyers accept to not charge their clients any legal fees if they are convinced that there is a good case and they can recover their legal fees from the party at fault or their insurance company.
4. What should I do to help with the preparation of a claim?
Depending on the nature of the personal injury, you have to provide your lawyer with all supporting documentation. This can include photos of your injuries, your medical records, any proof of expenses that you have incurred because of the personal injury accident, a list of witnesses and any other relevant information.
5. How much compensation will I obtain?
That depends on the nature of your injuries and the expenses you have incurred due to the personal injury involved. Very serious injuries can result in compensation of several hundred thousand Euros or even more. Minor injuries such as a whiplash resulting from a car accident would of course result in a much smaller compensation.
There are two types of damages: General Damages relate to the pain and suffering caused by the personal injury accident in question. Special Damages relate to the financial loss incurred as a result of the accident in question. These can include lost earnings, medical expenses, physical therapy costs, medicines etc.
6. Is there any time limitation to issue Court proceedings?
Yes, the period of limitation for personal injury cases is three years. Thus, it is extremely important to start any efforts to settle out of Court as soon as possible after the date of the accident.
7. Will my case go for trial?
In our experience many cases don’t go to Court. When they do go to Court, it is often the case that they are settled before an actual trial. However, some cases do go all the way to a trial.
8. What happens if I am partly liable for the accident?
If you did play a role in causing the accident in question, you can still obtain compensation as a proportional share of what you would have recovered if you had no liability for the accident.
9. How are General Damages calculated?
There is no way to precisely calculate the compensation you will obtain for General Damages. However, we can estimate roughly what your claim is worth and on the basis of past case law. Cases with similar nature of accident and injuries can give us an indication of what compensation you can obtain.
10. How are Special Damages determined?
Special Damages are determined largely on the basis of supporting documentation. You need to save all invoices, receipts and other documentation that demonstrate the expenses you have incurred. Further, loss of earnings would be proven by supporting documentation that demonstrates what your salary was or would have been in the future.
Danos & Associates is experienced in managing Personal Injury claims from the beginning of the process and until completion. Our lawyers have successfully managed several Personal Injury claims in Cyprus. This included a variety of claims both small and large. We have experience in both settling claims out of Court and managing Court proceedings including complex medical negligence cases.