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Injured? What to do. (3)

Litigation needs an engine; that is, something must drive the process forwards. For a personal injury victim that engine is, normally, the persistent fact of the injury. From the medical point of view this will imply difficulty coming up with a prognosis. A prognosis is a doctor’s estimate of the progress (or lack of it) expected of the patient.

A failure of the injury to settle itself will prevent settlement of the claim by the victim, assuming a willingness to settle on the part of the defendant.

Of course, there are other factors preventing settlement. It is a basic fact that a personal injury victim is forced to engage in an adversarial process. This fact demands that the victim, in some sense, be an engine himself/herself. This is often too much to expect and is a full explanation of the necessity of having the help of a solicitor to take the necessary action.

Compounded with this is the fact that the victim has an opponent; the person who caused the injury.

In modern times the opponent will be, generally, the insurer of the opponent. This is good because it drains the personal element from the contest, but it does not eliminate the fact of the contest.

It is a fact that the contest is conducted in circumstances engineered to favour the defendant. These circumstances are not insurmountable, but they do exist. The first circumstance is the unchallenged claim of the insurance industry that fraud is rife, when it is not.

Then there is the obligation on the victim to present the claim within narrow parameters. This comes about as a consequence of Section 10 of The Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and the two year limitation period referred to earlier.

Under Section 10 a plaintiff must plead his/her case in great detail.

This includes the obligation to plead:

a)   the defendant’s name, and the address at which he or she ordinarily resides and his or her occupation;

b)   the injuries to the plaintiff alleged to have been occasioned by the wrong of the defendant;

c)   full particulars of all items of special damage in respect of which the plaintiff is making a claim;

d)   full particulars of the acts of the defendant constituting the said wrong and the circumstances relating to the commission of the said wrong;

e)   full particulars of each instance of negligence by the defendant;