Glossary

A list of terms used or referred to in this personal injury guide.

A

Accident claim

The name given to the process of seeking damages for an injury sustained in an accident which was caused by another person’s actions.

After the event insurance

A type of insurance cover which a person takes out to protect themselves against accidents and illnesses after a problem has arisen.

A client usually takes out this insurance cover as part of the no win no fee agreement to pay for damages if they lose their case.

Also see before the event insurance.

Asbestos

A naturally occurring mineral which is used for its strength and heat resistance. Often used in insulation and building materials.

It is a dangerous substance which if inhaled, can cause a range of lung diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Asbestosis

A chronic lung disease which is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres that leads to serious breathing difficulties, chest pain and tiredness.

Asthma

This refers to occupational asthma –a chronic disease caused by inhaling dust, gases, vapours or fumes within a work environment.

B

Barrister (and solicitor)

A highly trained lawyer with expertise in a particular field of law who presents and argues a case in court.

Before the event insurance

A type of insurance policy which a person takes out to protect themselves against an accident or illness in case this situation arises.

Also see after the event insurance.

Breach of Statutory Duty

A failure to adhere to a legal obligation or series of regulations as decreed by an Act of Parliament.

C

Carcinogen

A substance which has the ability to cause cancer, e.g. tobacco, asbestos etc.

Claim

A process whereby someone applies for compensation for an injury sustained in an accident which was not their fault.

Contributory negligence

This is a situation in which the injured party is partly responsible for their injury as well as the guilty party. This is assessed as a percentage and is deducted from the total sum of damages.

Conditional fee agreement

Also known as ‘no win no fee’: if a client loses their case then their lawyer will not recover any costs from him/her. The client is advised to take out an insurance policy – after the event insurance – to pay damages if they lose their case.

Costs

This includes lawyer/solicitor fees, costs of medical reports and court costs. VAT is also included.

D

Damages

A term used to describe a compensation award for injury and loss incurred as a result of an accident.

Disbursements

A legal term used to describe additional fees as part of a personal injury claim. An example of this is medical reports used as evidence to support a claim.

E

None at present.

F

Fees

This refers to payments incurred as a result of pursuing a claim for compensation. They include solicitor or lawyer fees, court costs and disbursements, e.g. medical reports.

G

General Damages

A compensation award made to cover the costs of the injury, pain and suffering caused and impact upon the person’s quality of life.

Additional expenses are classed as special damages.

H

None at present.

I

Industrial injuries disablement benefit

A type of social security benefit which is paid to someone who suffers a work related injury or illness. Their condition is assessed by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) doctors who will decide if they are entitled to this benefit.

Interim payment

A payment which is made in lieu of the final compensation award to prevent financial hardship caused by a personal injury. This is used to pay for expenses incurred as a result of an injury, for example medical treatment or to cover a loss of earnings.

This payment is offset against the final compensation award.

J

None at present.

K

None at present.

L

Lawyer

A legal representative who specialises in the field of accident claims and handles cases for physical or psychological injury caused by negligence or a lack of care.

Loss of earnings

This is used to describe a situation where the injured person has had to take time off work, change jobs or give up work due to their injury which impacts upon their financial situation.

A claim for loss of earnings can be made when applying for compensation.

M

Mesothelioma

A form of cancer which develops in the soft tissues of the lungs. It is caused by the inhalation of asbestos particles or dust and is incurable.

Motor Insurer’s Bureau

Known as MIB for short: an organisation which deals with compensation claims for road accidents, e.g. accidents involving uninsured drivers.

N

Negligence

The main issue of a personal injury claim. It means a lack of duty to ensure that one’s actions do not cause harm to another person.

No win no fee

Also known as a conditional fee agreement: a system whereby if a case is lost the losing client does not have to pay damages for the winning side plus their solicitor’s fees.

There may be some additional expenses but these and the damages incurred are usually covered by an insurance policy. The client is encouraged to take out insurance cover in case of this eventuality.

O

None at present.

P

Pleural thickening

An industrial disease which causes thickening and scarring of soft tissues within the lungs. It reduces lung function and causes breathing difficulties.

Often occurs due to inhalation of asbestos fibres.

Q

None at present.

R

Risk assessment

A procedure which must be carried out by an employer to determine health and safety risk to their employees. An example of this is a risk assessment of a workstation to determine the risk of repetitive strain injury.

Once the employer is aware of the risks he/she must take steps to reduce these.

Road traffic accident

Often known as RTA for short: in legal terms this includes accidents to cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists as well as motorists.

S

Special Damages

Payment made to cover expenses which may have resulted in financial hardship, for example loss of earnings, travel expenses, damage to clothing etc.

Payment for pain and distress caused by an injury is classed as general damages.

Stress

A condition which negatively affects someone’s physical and mental health which is often caused by too much pressure, for example an excessive workload.

T

Tinnitus

A medical condition which is characterised by ringing, buzzing or whistling noises in the ears. It occurs when someone is exposed to loud noise over a long period of time, for example a noisy workplace.

U

None at present.

V

None at present.

X

None at present.

Y

None at present.

Z

None at present.

Personal Injury Guide

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