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Personal injury claims are a way for people who have sustained injuries due to accidents that were not their fault to claim compensation. However, not every claim results in success. If you have tried to make a claim and it has not delivered the result you hoped for, you may be struggling to know what to do next. In some cases, there are options that will enable you to follow up on your claim, and understanding why your claim was unsuccessful can help.

Here, the personal injury experts at Ramsdens explain what to expect in the event that your claim is unsuccessful, and what you may be able to do about it.

Why are personal injury claims unsuccessful?

When pursuing a personal injury claim, understanding the potential pitfalls is just as important as knowing the steps to success. Despite the best efforts of solicitors and clients alike, not all claims result in compensation. Here are some key reasons why personal injury claims may be unsuccessful:

  • Insufficient evidence: to succeed in a personal injury claim, the claimant must prove that they were injured due to the actions or negligence of another party. This means that you must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the other party was at fault. A lack of robust evidence relating to the cause of the accident or the extent of the injuries can result in the claim being unsuccessful. Your solicitor will be able to help you with this.
  • Failure to comply with time limits: personal injury claims in the UK are subject to strict time limits, known as 'limitation periods'. Typically, you have three years from the date of the accident to make a claim. Missing this deadline can invalidate your claim entirely.
  • Contributory negligence: if it's determined that you were partly to blame for the incident or your injuries, the concept of contributory negligence may apply. This doesn’t necessarily mean you are unable to claim compensation, but it can reduce the amount of compensation you receive. In some cases, it can lead to the dismissal of your claim and prevent you from receiving any compensation.
  • Disputed liability: even with evidence, the other party may dispute their liability. They might argue that they were not responsible for the accident, or they may assert that another party was at fault. If the court finds their arguments more persuasive, the claim may be unsuccessful and be dismissed by the Court.
  • Pre-existing conditions: in cases where the claimant has pre-existing medical conditions, the defendant may argue that the injury was not caused by the accident but rather was a pre-existing condition. Distinguishing new injuries from pre-existing conditions can be challenging and may affect the success of a claim.
  • Procedural issues: failing to follow proper legal procedures can also derail a personal injury claim. This could include errors in paperwork, failure to follow court orders, or inadequate representation.
  • Failure to mitigate your losses: claimants have a duty to mitigate their losses. This means taking reasonable steps to assist in recovering from their injuries and not doing anything that could make them worse. If it's found that you have failed to mitigate your damages, the compensation can be significantly reduced or the claim may fail.
  • Credibility issues: the claimant's credibility is crucial. If there are inconsistencies in your account of the events, or if you fail to disclose previous accidents or injuries, this can adversely affect the claim.

Your personal injury solicitor will meticulously prepare and review each case to minimise these risks. Our team will provide expert guidance to ensure that you have the strongest possible claim, backed by comprehensive evidence and legal expertise.

'No win, no fee' agreements

A common way to fund a personal injury claim is through a conditional fee agreement (CFA), colloquially known as 'no win, no fee'. This means your solicitors' fees are contingent upon the success of your claim. While this arrangement mitigates upfront costs, it's important to understand that this doesn't cover all the costs associated with most personal injury claims, and you may have to pay for things like the other party's legal costs (if they pursue this) or disbursements.

The costs and consequences of losing a personal injury claim

While a no win, no fee arrangement may alleviate many of the costs of a claim, understanding the consequences of an unsuccessful claim is essential. Here's what you should consider:

  • Court costs and legal fees: these can include court fees, expenses for expert witnesses, and costs for obtaining medical records and reports. It's important to discuss with your solicitor at the outset the costs you may face if the claim is unsuccessful.
  • Liability for the opponent's costs: one of the most significant financial risks is being held responsible for the defendant's legal costs. These can be substantial, depending on the complexity and duration of the case.

In order to compensate you for unrecovered disbursements, such as court or expert fees, or adverse costs payable to your opponent should the claim not succeed, it may be advisable to take out a policy of ‘After the Event’ legal expense insurance. This will protect you against being personally liable for the costs associated with an unsuccessful claim.

The emotional and psychological impact

Losing a personal injury claim can also take a toll on your mental wellbeing. The sense of injustice and financial stress can be difficult to bear. We may be able to advise you on how to seek support with this, depending on your needs.

What can you do if your personal injury compensation claim is unsuccessful?

The road does not end at an unsuccessful claim. There are two optionss you may consider if your personal injury compensation claim does not yield the result you hoped for.

  • Reviewing the case: firstly, it's essential to understand why your claim was not successful. Request a detailed explanation from your solicitor, which should include an assessment of whether any legal errors were made that could form the basis of an appeal to the Court.
  • Consideration for an appeal: if there are grounds to believe that a mistake in law or procedure has influenced the outcome, you can discuss the possibility of an appeal with your solicitor. Appeals must be made within a strict time frame and can only proceed if you have legitimate reasons to challenge the original decision.

If you feel unsure about the advice you've received at any point, it's within your rights to seek a second opinion. Another legal professional may offer different insights into your claim and its potential for success if pursued further. Speak to Ramsdens if you feel that your previous solicitor did not manage your claim effectively.

How Ramsdens can help

At Ramsdens Solicitors, we understand the disappointment and frustration that can come with an unsuccessful claim. Our solicitors are dedicated to providing continued support, advising on the best course of action following a claim, and ensuring that you are fully aware of all the options available to you. We want to explore every approach that is available to you and do everything we can to give you the best chance of claiming compensation that you deserve.

To learn more about your options following an unsuccessful personal injury claim, call us today on 01484 821 500, or fill out an online contact form and we'll be in touch at a time suitable for you.