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17 Personal Injury
3. What action can I take?
There are several things you can do, depending on what you want.
If you just want to make a complaint
Depending on who was responsible for your injuries, you may be able to use an organisation's official complaints procedure. For example, if you suffered a minor injury when you tripped on an uneven pavement, you could use the complaints procedure of the council that maintains the pavement. Reporting accidents like this could stop another person being more seriously injured.
If you are unhappy with how your complaint was handled, you could still take legal action for compensation in the same way as if your injury had been more serious. However, organisations can take a long time to deal with official complaints, and there are time limits for starting legal action. So if you think you may want to take legal action do not delay (see 'How long do I have to make a claim?').
If you were injured because of medical treatment you were having under the NHS, you can use the NHS Complaints Procedure. See the CLS Direct leaflet 'Medical accidents' for more on what to do.
If you were injured by a police officer and you want to make a complaint (or take other action), see the CLS Direct leaflet 'Dealing with the police'.
If you want to claim compensation
Consulting a solicitor does not necessarily mean you will be taking action in court. Most personal injury claims are settled through negotiation without a court hearing.
However, if you were injured because of a crime (for example, you were attacked), there are other options. See ' What if I am a victim of a crime? '.
Unlike other types of legal action, you cannot normally get public funding (legal aid) to help pay the legal costs of a personal injury case. However, there are other ways of helping to pay for your case. See ' What if I can't afford a solicitor?'.
This leaflet was written in association with Roger Bolt of Bolt Burdon Kemp
Leaflet Version: October 2016
Last updated on 24 June 2016
CLS Legal Info Leaflets