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Personal injuries

This advice applies to Scotland

If you want to take legal action to claim compensation for a personal injury, you will need to get advice from a solicitor specialising in these types of cases. A bureau adviser won't be able to give you legal advice about personal injuries. Get legal help as soon as possible as there are strict time limits on taking legal action.

Time limits

There are different time limits for starting legal action in a personal injury claim. You should get legal advice urgently if you want to claim compensation.

The most common personal injury claim is negligence and the time limit for this is 3 years. This means that court proceedings must be started within 3 years of you first becoming aware that you have suffered an injury.

For some claims the time limit can be less than 3 years so you should get advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.

There is no longer a time limit for making a claim for compensation in the civil courts in Scotland for childhood abuse. Adults who suffered abuse as children may be able to bring a personal injury claim for damages.  You will need to get advice from a solicitor specialising in these type of cases. Read more about child abuse and what action you can take.

Legal action for compensation for a personal injury can be expensive. There are a few options you can investigate to find what payment option suits your circumstances.

You may be entitled to legal aid or legal advice and assistance. You can find out more on our page Help with legal costs.

A fee arrangement with a solicitors firm

If you are using a solicitor they may agree a speculative fee arrangement with you. This means that if you win a case you must pay your solicitor’s fees and expenses from the damages you receive but if you lose, you will not have to pay fees to your own solicitor but you may still have to pay the other party’s costs.

Using a claims management company

A claims management company typically offers a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement in a personal injury claim. They are not usually solicitors so may not be able to claim compensation through the courts for you.

In Scotland claims management companies are unregulated but from the 1 April 2019 all claims management companies will need to register with the Financial Conduct Authority. This is to ensure consumers are protected and treated fairly.

You may have legal expenses cover through an insurance policy or through work, such as:

  • an insurance policy - many house contents policies, car insurance or travel insurance policies have legal expenses cover attached
  • a trade union - may be able to help members with free legal advice if the injury happened at work
  • a motoring organisation - such as the AA or RAC, may be able to help members with free legal advice if the injury resulted from a road accident

Will personal injury compensation affect your benefits

A compensation payment, including an interim payment of compensation may have an impact on your entitlement to benefits.

If you receive certain benefits because of the injury, these must be repaid to the Department for Work and Pensions by the other party and may then be deducted from your compensation payment. This is to avoid people being paid twice for the same injury, and it applies only where compensation has been received for lost earnings, care costs or loss of mobility. It does not apply to criminal injuries compensation. 

Financial problems due to the personal injury

If you're experiencing financial problems because of a personal injury to you or a member of your family, you should consult a specialist adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Criminal Injuries Compensation 

If you have been injured as a result of a criminal act you may be able to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. You will need to get advice from a solicitor specialising in these types of cases. This must be done as soon as possible as there are strict time limits.

A close relative of a person who died because of criminal injuries can also make a claim on their behalf.

You must report an incident to the police at the earliest opportunity and an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority must normally be made within two years of the incident. 

A request for compensation must be made on an application form, which can be obtained from:

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)
Alexander Bain House
Atlantic Quay
15 York Street
Glasgow
G2 8JQ

Helpline: 0300 003 3601 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8.30am to 5.00pm; Wednesday from 10.00am to 5.00pm)
Website: www.gov.uk/cica

A Citizens Advice Bureau adviser cannot help you to fill out the form. 

Finding a solicitor

If you want to take legal action you should consult a solicitor who is experienced in personal injury work. The Law Society of Scotland should be able to provide details of solicitors who specialise in personal injuries work. If you need legal aid, the solicitor will also need to be prepared to accept this type of work.

The Law Society of Scotland
Atria One
144 Morrison Street
Edinburgh
EH3 8EX

Tel: 0131 226 7411
Fax: 0131 225 2934
Email: lawscot@lawscot.org.uk
Website: www.lawscot.org.uk

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is a not-for-profit association of solicitors and academics who specialise in personal injuries work. Many lawyers belonging to APIL are part of an accreditation scheme. The accreditation scheme guarantees that members are competent in a particular field of personal injury. All APIL members promise to follow a code of conduct and a consumer charter. They may be useful in helping you find a solicitor who can deal with your case. You can find out more about APIL at:

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL)
3 Alder Court
Rennie Hogg Road
Nottingham
NG2 1RX

Tel: 0115 958 0585
Find a lawyer helpline: 0115 958 0585
Fax: 0115 958 0885
Email: mail@apil.org.uk
Website: www.apil.org.uk

Trade union members

If your injury resulted from an accident at work, you should, if you are a member, contact your trade union. The union may instruct solicitors to pursue a claim on your behalf and you will not have to pay for this.

Motoring organisation members

If you are injured as a result of a traffic accident and you are a member of a motoring organisation, for example, the AA or RAC, you may be able to get specialist legal advice through that organisation.

Support and counselling organisations

There are a number of voluntary organisations and schemes that may be able to give support to people who have been injured, or whose partners, friends or relatives have been injured or killed.

Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)

AvMA can provide information, support and referral to solicitors if you are the victim of a medical accident. AvMA has a panel of medical experts prepared to give independent opinions. AvMA can refer you to a solicitor in Scotland who specialises in clinical negligence.

Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA)
Freedman House
Christopher Wren Yard
117 High Street
Croydon
CR0 1QG

Helpline: 0845 123 23 52 (Monday to Friday from 10.00am to 5.00pm)
Tel: 020 8688 9555 (admin only)
Fax: 020 8667 9065
Website: www.avma.org.uk

Disabled Living Foundation

The Disabled Living Foundation gives advice and information about equipment available for people with disabilities.

380-384 Harrow Road
London
W9 2HU
Tel: 020 7289 6111
Helpline: 0845 130 9177 (Mon - Fri 10am - 4pm local rate)
Textphone: 020 8432 8009
Fax: 020 7266 2922
Email: info@dlf.org.uk
Website: www.dlf.org.uk

Disaster Action

Disaster Action was set up by a group of young people affected by major disasters. The group campaigns for changes in the law, and for improved counselling and compensation, as well as giving support to people involved in disasters and their relatives and friends. It can also make referrals to specialists.

Disaster Action
No 4
71 Upper Berkeley Street
London
W1H 7DB

Tel: 01483 799066
E-mail: admin@disasteraction.org.uk
Website: www.disasteraction.org.uk

Headway – the brain injury association

Headway supports people with brain injuries and their carers. It also campaigns for improvements in health and social care services. It runs a helpline, and can provide a list of solicitors who specialise in brain injury cases.

Headway
Bradbury House
190 Bagnall Road
Old Basford
Nottingham
NG6 8SF

Helpline: 0808 800 2244
Tel: 0115 924 0800
Fax: 0115 958 4446
Email: enquiries@headway.org.uk
Website: www.headway.org.uk

Freedom from Torture

Freedom from Torture provides informed and sympathetic medical care, counselling and therapy to people who suffer injury as a result of torture and who live in the United Kingdom. It sets up self-help groups and can examine patients, for example, to provide forensic evidence of torture injuries. The organisation can be of use to clients who were injured and are applying for asylum.

Freedom from Torture (Scotland)
Room 27
Adelphi Centre
12 Commercial Road
Glasgow
G5 0PQ

Tel: 0141 420 3161
Fax: 0141 429 6578
Email: scotland@freedomfromtorture.org
Website: www.freedomfromtorture.org

Rape Crisis Centres

Rape Crisis Centres provide free and confidential counselling services for women and girls who have been raped and sexually assaulted. There may also be other, local organisations that provide help and advice to people who have been raped.

Details of groups of this kind can be found in the voluntary agencies directories that can be found in local reference libraries or a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Roadpeace

Roadpeace provides support and advocacy for bereaved and injured victims of road accidents. It promotes public awareness of road dangers, and campaigns for justice for victims.

RoadPeace
G4b Shakespeare Business Centre
245a Cold Harbour Lane
Brixton
London
SW9 8RR

Tel: 020 7733 1603
Helpline: 0845 450 0355 (Mon-Sat 9.00am-5.00pm)
E-mail: info@roadpeace.org
Helpline e-mail: Helpline@roadpeace.org
Website: www.roadpeace.org

Self-help groups

A number of self-help groups have been set up for people who have been injured by, for example, unsafe medicines.

A list of groups of this kind can be found in the voluntary agencies directories which can be found in local public reference libraries or a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)

SAMH promotes the interests of people suffering from mental illness or distress and provides advice and advocacy services.

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
Brunswick House
51 Wilson Street
Glasgow
G1 1UZ

Tel: 0141 530 1000
Email: enquire@samh.org.uk
Website: www.samh.org.uk

Scottish Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid provides advice, information and sometimes temporary refuge for women and their children who are threatened by mental, emotional or physical violence, harassment or sexual abuse.

Scottish Women's Aid
2nd Floor
132 Rose Street
Edinburgh
EH2 3JD

Tel: 0131 226 6606
Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: 0800 027 1234 (24 hours)
Email: info@womensaid.scot
Website: www.womansaid.scot

Victim Support

Victim Support offers information and support to all victims of crime, except theft of, or from, cars and child abuse in the family. There are local schemes throughout Scotland.

Victim Support Scotland
15/23 Hardwell Close
Edinburgh
EH8 9RX

Tel: 0131 668 4486
Scottish Helpline: 0345 603 9213 (Monday to Friday 8.00am-8.00pm)
UK Supportline: 0808 168 9111 (Weeknights 8.00pm-8.00am; Weekends Saturday 5.00pm to Monday 8.00am)
Fax: 0131 662 5400
Email: info@victimsupportsco.org.uk
Website: www.victimsupportsco.org.uk

Both Supportline services can be used by people in Scotland. They offer emotional and practical services and refer the caller to her/his local scheme.

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