IV. How to make a claim for personal injuries?
It is important to bear in mind that generally the time allowed for submitting a personal injury claim to the Court is limited to three years from the date of the accident. If you do not commence proceedings within the 3 year time limit, you will lose your right to sue.
Here are some practical tips for preparing your claim for personal injuries:-
- After being involved in an accident in which you have suffered injuries, the first step required is to call the police and ambulance services. Tell the doctor about all the injuries that you have suffered.
- Keep a record of all ailments that occur following an accident.
- You should take a number of steps at the scene of the accident that caused your injury to gather evidence that can be used to substantiate your claim, as you will need to prove that the injury occurred as the result of someone else’s action.
- Take a picture or draw a sketch of the scene if possible.
- Collect the contact details of any person who witnessed the accident and notify them that they will be contacted at a later date.
- A record of the accident, including the place where it occurred, the date and time, the personal details of any witnesses, and details of the parties involved, will all be required when filing a personal injury claim.
- If the personal injury has resulted in loss of work or has caused permanent personal damage like the loss of a limb, caused you to be confined to a bed or to require nursing services, these circumstances need to be taken into account.
- Get a prognosis of your injury from a medical professional and keep all receipts relating to medical consultations. Collect payslips from before the accident, or other evidence of income that will prove a claim for loss of earnings if you are unable to work for a period as a result of your injuries.
- Maintain all records of the accident and any costs borne for medical care, and loss of work. Note that in the case of a motoring accident, if the car was a write off, even the loss of the fuel it contained can be claimed.
If the amount of compensation that you want to claim is over HK$l,000,000 you need to start your action in the Court of First Instance of the High Court. Claims for an amount under HK$l,000,000 should be filed in District Court. Claims under HK$50,000 should be pursued in Small Claims Tribunal.
In all cases it is advisable to consult solicitors who are experienced in dealing with accident compensation claims, and they will advise whether or not your intended claims have any merit, that is, whether or not there are reasonable grounds for your claim. Your solicitor will be able to organise your evidence in order to present it to the party being held responsible and their insurers. Please note that if records of the accident have not been properly kept, or are incomplete, this can be a big drawback in substantiating your claim.