How can I help in proving my losses?
I met up with a client recently who had instructed me very late in the day having represented himself for over three years. The client had drafted his own schedule of losses which he needed to serve on the other party’s solicitors. Things had got out of hand with the litigation and he felt compelled to take legal advice to help move matters forward.
This is an occasional scenario for personal injury solicitors and contains a number of problems which hopefully can be straightened out – otherwise parts of the claim are unlikely to be successful. It is far easier to be instructed by a client immediately after the accident when he/she can be advised exactly what to do rather than attempting to try to retrieve a bad situation where evidence may have been destroyed, lost or forgotten about.
The law is designed to put the claimant back in the position he/she would have been had the accident not taken place. We have an evidence-based system which means that unless the claimant can prove his/her losses then it is unlikely that the other side will accept and the court will award them. It is for the claimant to prove his/her case – not for the defendant to disprove it.
The schedule needs to be specific down to the last penny and cannot be a general “fag packet” list.
I spent seven years acting solely for motorcyclists who would often have expensive clothing and helmet. The golden rule is that the damaged items should never be thrown away until agreement has been reached with the defendant. I would always ask if the client had receipts, bank/VISA statements or even a letter from the retailer confirming the date the items were purchased and the price. It is not unusual for defendant insurers to request that the damaged items be sent to them or for an engineer to inspect them.
Ideally receipts should be provided in support but if these are not available then written estimates can be used. These losses must be reasonable. Merely supplying an estimate or a web link for an item which has not been retained is not proof that the claimant actually owned the item. However, it is proof of the value of that item.
Expenses incurred after the accident are slightly easier such as travel and medical receipts. However, clients often dispose of these and are surprised when I give them the bad news that these items cannot be claimed without evidence in support.
The moral of the story – never dispose of damaged items, keep receipts for expensive items purchased before the accident and receipts for all items incurred after the accident. This will assist me greatly in preparing an accurate schedule of your losses.
Still got questions about providing evidence for compensation claims?
Call me for a no-obligation consultation – and I will be happy to discuss all aspects of your personal injury claim to decide the best way to proceed.
I am a London-based solicitor at Goodge Law and an expert in securing compensation for people who have been injured in accidents that were not their fault. I work on a no win-no fee basis so you will never have to fund any part of your personal injury claim.